Title: Moonlight Masquerade
Author: Ruth Axtell
The year is 1813 and England and France are supposedly in a time of peace, but a lot is going on behind the scenes. Covert operations and spy missions abound. Lady Celine Wexham is a young, widowed countess living a life of luxury. Her life consists of going to various social events, hosting dinner parties and balls, and making the rounds each day calling on her friends. She is not expected to have an opinion or belief about politics, philosophy, or any subject requiring thought. She appears to be the quintessential socialite, but is she really what she appears to be?
Rees Phillips is working for the British Foreign Office. He served in the British Navy before that, and his loyalty to the crown is unwavering. Someone has been passing information about the British to the French. Rees is given the assignment of finding out whom. He enters Lady Wexham’s home, posing as a butler to discover if she is the guilty party. Where do her loyalties lie? She was born in France, so is she still supporting their cause through spying for Napoleon?
As the story progresses, Rees and Celine notice each other via their mutual attraction. Of course, they don’t act on this attraction initially as he is a “butler” and she is the lady of the house. If Rees finds evidence of her treason, will he be able to turn her in? As his heart becomes more involved, he must rely on God to guide him. Would she ever consent to be his wife given the gap in their social standing? Can Celine learn to trust in God’s goodness?
This historical romance tries to also involve intrigue and espionage. I had trouble getting into the story and thought the plot was slow-moving. This is one of my favorite time periods to read about, and I felt this novel fell flat. There was not enough tension or suspense to make the danger seem real. There was no “bad guy” per se to make any danger convincing. I did, however, find the characters’ struggles within themselves to be believable. Anyone can relate to questioning their own loyalties and beliefs at one point or another. A sequel is already in the works due to be released in the spring of 2014. A few pages from that sequel are included at the end of this book.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457