Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review of "Moonlight Masquerade" by Ruth Axtell

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: Mystery, intrigue, and Regency Era romance all come to life in Ruth Axtell's latest release, "Moonlight Masquerade." The plot calls to mind both Jane Austen and "Downton Abbey." Axtell has crafted a story resplendent in period detail to satisfy the appetites of fans of Regency England.  There is the drama of unfulfilled romance and the danger of espionage to pull readers into the plot. Axtell's descriptions of Regency England, France, and French emigres are strong and developed, painting a realistic backdrop for the story.

The suspense of a budding, but forbidden romance between Lady Celine Wexham and Rees Phillips propels the plot as much as the political intrigue.  Axtell creates tangible tension between the two characters, but also communicates their mutual affection through their actions and awareness of one another.

I thought the political aspect of the novel might be a bit dry, but Axtell conveys the background of the political climate in 1813 England and France clearly, without overwhelming the plot with detail. I enjoyed seeing both sides of the conflict through the eyes of Celine and Rees.  They are a shining example of compromise, despite their opposing views and loyalties. Their covert activities contribute moments of tension, but the danger remains relatively mild.  In retrospect, I would have liked a little more suspense during the potentially dangerous situations.

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

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Revell.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Summary from Revell: In this new Regency Romance, Ruth Axtell deftly creates a world where black and white burst into a confusion of colors and no one is who they seem.  Axtell’s expert storytelling and attention to historical detail bring the Regency era alive with  intrigue and romance.

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. 

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