Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Moonlight Masquerade - a review

Sometimes it is hard to tell if you are the cat or the mouse.
Lady Céline Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need-or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte.
When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell.
Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, what then will he do?

The perfect historical romance... spying, secret attraction, intrigue, secret kisses...  All the same, I wasn't quite sure what to think of Moonlight Masquerade.  On the one hand, it is exquisitely done, brimming with attraction and intrigue, a book that I would have been proud to have written; on the other hand, Mrs. Axtell goes a little farther romance-wise than I would have done (clandestine kisses make everything soooo awkward afterwards... Just have a little self-control, will you?), the middle is melodramatic and the ending is unnecessarily drawn out.
All that to say that you shouldn't expect a perfect book.  But if you want a very well-written Regency Romance, what are you waiting for?  Other than the fact that the cover is gorgeous; (always choose a book by its cover!) the setting is lush and vivid and the interaction between upright, gentlemanly Rees and beautiful, clever Celine makes for a hard-to-put-down story.  This is the first of Mrs. Axtell's books I've read and I'll be definitely looking for more.
My rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

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