Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Masquerade

I was sent a copy of Masquerade by Nancy Moser by Bethany House in order to review it.  This story is set in the late 1800's during the gilded age (learned that term from the book, I don't remember learning about it).  Charlotte Gleason resides in England with her mother and father.  She has always been pampered/spoiled; she has been sheltered from the world.  What she doesn't know IS going to hurt her and change her life.  Events out of her control make it imperative that she agree to an arranged marriage  to an American who is an heir in a very influential family.  She resents, objects, resists, but finally heads for America with her maid and friend Dora Connors.  Because of her reluctance to be forced to marry  to save her family and herself she devises a plan to switch places with her maid.  This leaves naive Charlotte to fend for herself in poverty ridden streets of NYC, while Dora struggles to fit in with the elite under constant threat of being found out.

When I first saw the description of this book my mind went straight to The Prince and The Pauper, and I thought it sounded like a neat twist on that story.  Rich trading places with the poor.  As I was reading I also realized I was recognizing some of the story line from Titanic as Lottie was traveling by ship to America and faced with the dilemma of an arranged marriage to protect against financial ruin.  She felt trapped as Rose did and was looking for a way to escape.  There is also a scene that the author admits was inspired by a scene in Titanic.  I'll let you read it to see if you can figure it out.
I loved the character development in this book.  We truly see growth in the two main characters.  It did take me a while to get used to having the story told from two points of view (Lottie's and Dora's).  Lottie begins this tale as a spoiled rich girl who expects everything to go her way and is quickly brought to reality when she has disaster after disaster happen to her.  Dora is shown as the religious one from the beginning and questions the morality of agreeing to Lottie's scheme.  She really struggles to come to terms with what they are doing.  At first I thought some of the disasters were just too convenient, but then I realized it could very well have happened the way it was written.
I feel the plot moved along very well and I enjoyed the twists.  
The descriptions of the clothing and the surroundings were so vivid, I could really see this story come to life in my mind.  The historical detail was spectacular.  And the author includes some more detail in an appendix.
We see that God doesn't always answer prayer in the way we want or expect.  His plan is what is best for us, not what is easiest.
There were times I was frustrated by Lottie's jealousy and self-centeredness, but I guess that fits her character.
I give this book 5 stars. It was a real page turner and the characters have stayed with me, I got to know them and love them/feel for them.  That is a true requirement for me to really falling in love with a book.

As I stated I received this book from Bethany House as part of their blog review program.  The opinions I expressed were my own.

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