Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade

Oh, what a fun story by a new-to-me author! And, as I put this blog post together I found her novella free for Kindle on Amazon. Find A Lady of Esteem: a Hawthorne House novella here. Can't wait to read it! Now, back to this story.

Here’s the summary:

Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.

Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family's estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

And now, my review:

This poor heroine has strong emotions, but being a lady means holding those emotions in check, especially in the Regency days. So she pours out her heart to “Marsh” in letters as a form of diary. They’ve never met, so having him see any of them is a terrifying thought. She’d make a fool of herself and all of her mother’s “ladyship training” would be for naught in the downfall of her reputation as a foolish and silly girl. What a hook, then, for all of that to be at stake.

I laughed aloud over a few scenes and remained hooked through the entire story. The author did a great job with pacing and including engaging elements. I did find some POV missteps, but I’ve seen those before in this publisher’s books of the same genre. (The editor in me snags on those instances every time. I'm guessing their style guide leaves room for non-purist POV.) Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this story! (Let me say, I enjoy this publisher's fiction, whether historical or contemporary. They've found another winner in this author.)

I loved the undertones, the understated but strong romance—which is indicative of regencies, I think. The male banter between Ryland and the heroine’s brothers was fun, and it was easy to picture the characters carrying on.

I’m excited to watch this new author’s career. Loved this book. Looking forward to her next one. And I'm thrilled to read her novella for free on Kindle (see link above for info).

Highly recommended!

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