Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nancy Moser's Masquerade ~ Reviewed

By Nancy Moser
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7642-0751-8
400 Pages

Back Cover:

1886, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares. As for Dora, she lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt and the presence of another love that will not die. Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.


I’m very thankful for a review copy of this novel. Masquerade depicts pitfalls and a promise of people in the 1800’s who are starting afresh in the land of milk and honey--America. Nancy Moser states that she had a blast writing this book and I had just as much fun reading it. She said this book could be a mixture of movies such as The Prince and The Pauper, Titanic, The Age of Innocence and Far and Away; I agree it was a combination of them all and a little more.

Similar to these movies, Nancy lets the reader experience every part of life in the late 1800's with just the right mix of the sights, sounds, smells, social structures and the hopes and dreams of so many on their way to the promised land. I felt as if I were experiencing America through their eyes for the very first time - up close and personal. So many people were heading to America to live the dream others talked about.

This novel is set in England in 1886. Charlotte Gleason is a wealthy spoiled young girl who wants to marry for love; period the end. She’s about to refuse to marry a man arranged for her by her parents, when she discovers this union is their one shot at saving them from being financially ruined. Suddenly her situation begins to look bleak, and taking a boat to America doesn’t sound so bad after all. While on the boat to America, Charlotte comes up with a plan that would involve her maid, Dora Connors. Dora Connors listens to Charlotte’s plan - they’ve been friends for years and Dora doesn’t think it’s the best idea. How could she think this would work? She would go along with the masquerade, against her better judgment. Charlotte was quite stubborn so Dora agrees. The adventure begins when they get off the boat and switch places in America.

Never in her wildest dreams did Charlotte Gleason think life could change so quickly. One day she is living in luxury and the next in ruins, expected to pay her own way for everything. Dora Connors never expected the fiancĂ©’s house to be so elegant and the man she was to wed so likable. Could she live like this the rest of her life? It wouldn’t take much convincing! Can Charlotte Gleason make her way in this foreign land? You’ll have to read this tale to find out. It was fun to read about America in it’s infancy and watch these two girls try to pull off the impossible! I also enjoyed the historical facts and gowns the author shares in the 'author notes' at the end. I now understand why wealthy women needed help with their clothes. By the looks of them, the young lady could hardly move around in them. I really enjoyed learning more about the late 1800's while reading this book.

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

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