A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade

Book #1 Hawthorne House Series

I’m finding it difficult not to gush when I say how much I adored Miranda’s story!  This book had it all: intrigue, romance, an interesting cast of characters and a well paced storyline.  I can’t think of a single thing I’d change to make it better.  (Because I enjoyed it so much, I’ve included links to giveaways and a free e-book novella of A Lady of Esteem, a great introduction to this series, at the end of this post.)

Plot:  Lady Miranda Hawthorne has a scandalous secret.  She’s been writing letters for years , pouring out her innermost thoughts and feelings to the Duke of Marshington, a man who’s not a relative and she’s never met.  The only thing that keeps her out of trouble is the fact that she never sends them.  Until her brother’s new valet,  Marlow, accidentally mails one.  Miranda is horrified!  What will her proper mother think?  Then the Duke responds and Miranda continues the highly improper communications.  In the meantime, she’s becoming friends with the valet, Marlow, who doesn’t act like the usual servant.  All is not as it seems in the Hawthorne House, as Miranda finds herself thrown into the middle of some dangerous situations.

There were a few storylines that were fairly predictable, but the author reveals things early, so even though the reader learns some of their secrets, you still wonder when the other characters will figure out things.  There were also some interesting twists and the story was filled with humor, which I really enjoyed.  Even when the heroine is in dangerous situations, she’s cracking me up with her inner monologue.

“A lady never sits on the floor.”

A lady probably wasn’t supposed to crawl on her belly through the dirt either.

Characters:  Miranda was such a great heroine.  She tries to act like the proper lady, but is not always successful.  She’s definitely not the damsel in distress, which she proves on more than one occasion.  The Duke of Marshington was intriguing, as he’s only mentioned towards the beginning of the book and we don’t actually meet him until later.  The fact that he’s disappeared from society hints at some secrets in his life.  I adored the valet, Marlow, who tends to follow his own set of rules.  Miranda’s brothers, Griffith and Trent are fun and I look forward to seeing more of them in future stories.  The sister, Georgina, comes across as a little spoiled and vain, but she’s young, so I hope she’ll mature.

Recommendation:  I’d highly recommend this book, even to those who don’t usually read historical.  This was not a typical Regency romance.  It was packed with spies, intrigue, danger and suspense.   There was enough of a faith element to let you know where the characters stand, but it didn’t get preachy at all.

Rating:  5/5 stars

I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Enter to win a copy at The Engrafted Word blog until Sept. 22: here

Do you belong to a book club? Check out this Book Club Prize Pack

Another giveaway from Trish Perry’s blog until Sept 21: here

Free E-Book: A Lady of Esteem (Hawthorne House Prequel Novella)  Amazon E-Book

For more fun background information, follow the author on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/KristiAnnHunter?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

https://twitter.com/KristiAnnHunter

And last of all, enter: A Noble Masquerade Package Giveaway

Good luck!  I hope you enjoy the story as much as I did.

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Taken by Dee Henderson

Taken

Plot:  Matthew Dane is just returning to his hotel room after speaking at a conference and finds a woman waiting for him.  She claims to be Shannon Bliss, who was kidnapped 11 years ago at the age of 16.  She wants to go home, and because of complications (secrets she’s hiding and the fact her brother is a well known politician running for governor), she needs Matthew’s help to do so safely.  As a former cop and the father of child who was kidnapped and returned to him, Matthew has the skills and knowledge to help her make the transition.

First thoughts: I started reading this book without paying attention to the back cover blurb. When I got about a third of the way into the story and not much had happened, I read the blurb and was surprised to learn things that hadn’t been revealed yet.  Talk about a major spoiler!  Several of Henderson’s books have been about kidnapped women, and they’re all starting to feel like the same story over and over.

This whole story was rather disappointing to me.  I’ve been a Dee Henderson fan since I read Danger in the Shadows, but I felt this one fell short on the suspense.  So many details were taken care of by Matthew making a phone call that I felt too far removed from any danger or action.  A large portion of the story was dialog.  I kept thinking that soon they’d reach the point where they had to go do something, but it never really happened.  Matthew and Shannon did spend some time traveling to retrieve different items, but they never ran into any danger.

It was interesting watching Shannon’s story be revealed to Matthew and the book did hold my attention.  Henderson does have a great attention to detail in the story and it’s well written, just not my cup of tea.  This book is a stand alone, but there are a lot of characters from previous stories that show up.  However, you get enough background on those characters, that you don’t need to read the other books to enjoy this one.

Recommendation: I can highly recommend Henderson’s earlier books.  I’ve loved the O’Malley and Uncommon Heroes series, but her more recent books have been slower moving with lots of details.  This is probably my least favorite of Henderson’s stories.  If you’re looking for action, this probably isn’t the book for you.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars