Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: Moonlight Masquerade

Moonlight MasqueradeAuthor: Ruth Axtell
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Revell

Lady Celine 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, will he do the right thing?

“He’d have to be more careful. He couldn’t afford to be suspected by anyone of the household, least of all by its mistress. Everything depended on her believing him to be nothing but a butler.” – Finished Copy pg. 17

“She pulled apart a croissant and inhaled its buttery fragrance. ‘Nothing like the French to produce a pastry that melts in the mouth.’ Spooning a small dollop of marmalade onto the piece of croissant, she anticipated the first bite. ‘At least the British know how to make jam.’ She smiled at the young maid.” – Finished Copy pg. 23

“If Lady Wexham was guilty of any treason the British government, Rees would find out, cost him whatever dignity it might.” – Finished Copy pg. 39

“After a fortnight of observing her, he was more intrigued than ever. Who was she? A simple society lady or a French spy? She’d been widowed three years. Why hadn’t she remarried? As much as the notion was abhorrent to him and as far as he could ascertain, she had no lover. It was well known a lady of her rank and fortune would not be restrained by moral conventions. But she was never absent an entire night, nor was there any particular gentlemen caller on closer terms to her than any other.” – Finished Copy pg. 73

Moonlight Masquerade is sure to be a favorite for fans of Historical Regency Romance. Axtell’s writing style is highly polished and goes at just the right pace for me. The setting in many of the historical regency novels is usually what captures my attention first. The rich descriptions, the grand dinner parties, and the sweeping estates and mansions are always the first to draw me in. We are instantly introduced to Lady Celine, who is a very prominent and relatable character. At first it was hard to picture her in charge, but once you learn of her late husband and their relationship, you begin to sympathize with her. The lady we meet in the opening acts does not seem to the type to fall for a simple butler. But will she? And is he who he says he is?

I was very impressed with the start of this book, but towards the middle I felt that it started to drag a little bit more than it should have. There were a few times that I wanted to just skip a few pages and get to the “good stuff.” I also felt that there was a disconnect in the historical facts in this novel. Not that they were not correct, but that I could have used more of them. I didn’t know enough about the conflicts between the English and the French to fill in the blanks and I wish the author would have provided a few more facts and would have built up the background information a little more. Not that I didn’t enjoy the historical aspect of this novel because I loved it, but just wanted a little more factual information.

What I enjoyed most about this story was the romance and love shared between Lady Celine and Rees, the butler. As the novel started I was a little leery of both characters, but they both began to grow on me as the novel progressed. Rees was an exceptional male role. I especially loved the confidence he has in himself and how he slowly gets Lady Celine to open up to him. He brings a new light to her life, and he helps her open up again and allows her to see the beauty of life and the beauty all around her.

This book is full of adventure, spies, lies, and finding the truth in life again!

“Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”



  1. great review.

    and just look at that delicious book cover...oh this is one book i would love to read.

    Le' Grande Codex

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