Saturday, 21 April 2012

Book Review: Masquerade

Image Credit: Barnes & Noble
Title: Masquerade

Author: Nancy Moser

My Rating: 2/5

What is it about?
It's 1886 and Charlotte Gleason, the only child of one of England's finest families embarks on a voyage to America to marry a wealthy heir to secure her future amid a family crisis. Never having met the man intended for her, and desiring a life of adventure and love Charlotte persuades her only friend- her maid, Dora to switch places with her.
While Dora enjoys the fairytale lifestyle she has only ever dreamed of- with ballgowns, suitors and mansions. Charlotte's world comes crashing down around her, her social standing and her wealthy upbringing hasn't prepared her for a world where she is forced to live as a pauper.

My thoughts: I opened this book with high hopes due to the intriguing maid/lady role reversal but as I steadily moved through it I was quite disappointed, which makes for a hard time writing a review. Unfortunately as a narrative I felt that it never quite lifted off. The author seemed more invested in detailing the fashion and the economic and social issues of the period than the characters and their development. What could have made for an interesting riches-to-rags (and visa versa) became more of a slow progressing historical piece that was teetering on the edge of boring.
The main characters both lacked proper character development, and by the end of the novel any moral was found wanting. I was also disappointed by the rushed ending which attempted to tidy up all the remaining issues without properly 'fixing' anything or showing any sort of consequences relating to the actions of the main characters. However there were several secondary characters introduced throughout the novel whom I found quite likable. These characters throughout the course of the novel slowly opened up and gave me a glimpse of the hidden potential of the story. However despite these minor character's progress I was disappointed to find that they had come so far only to be- in a matter of speaking 'burnt' in the last pages and then never heard of again.
I feel terrible writing a review of this nature, I did really want to like this novel but I simply cannot get past the fact that after reading this I didn't care a single bit about either of the main characters or wonder about what happened to them beyond the last page. Both of which I find are extremely important factors to me.   


Melody said...

I never have been a fan of Nancy Moser... the only book by her I've finished is Just Jane, and that's only because it was about Jane Austen. ;) The writing style annoyed me. I also tried to read Mozart's Sister, but didn't get beyond the first few chapters.

Riley said...

blast, I was hoping that this would be good. At least it has a cool name(;

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

That's too bad! The plot, title and cover look so interesting. :(
I read Nancy Moser's Mozart's Sister and enjoyed most of it but it ended very sadly with the deaths of Mozart and his sister. Also the sister didn't really find happiness, she was continuously jealous of her younger brother's fame.
I tried reading Just Jane but didn't get very far because somehow "my" Miss Austen wasn't the Jane that was portrayed in the book. I want to try it again though.
Nancy Moser seems to have great ideas and her research is awesome but her novels seem to have a sad side.
Thanks for this honest review. :)

The Mad Elvish Poet said...

It's so sad when books have great potential and aren't that great in the end. :(
If you like that sort of storyline, "A Countess Below Stairs" was rather good. Can't remember the author, though.