This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Thomas Nelson
Released on May 26, 2020
A Regency Era fake mates all to catch a spy and solve a murder at an estate full of gothic secrets sounded just the thing. I grabbed up this new to me author’s latest release with anticipation.
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey opens with Elizabeth Cantrell and her young son trapped in an overturned carriage after a highwayman attempted to stop them. Only, the highwayman is Lord Torrington pretending because he is ordered by his superior to intercept a carriage of the same description as hers carrying papers from a French spy.
Elizabeth has a sordid reputation because her parents went into debt, her brother has been taken up for smuggling, and everyone knows she had a son out of wedlock. Now, because Lord Torrington is in a bad situation because he waylaid the wrong carriage and others saw them together on the road and at the inn, they must marry and masquerade as true lovers to throw everyone who suspects him of spying off the scent. Elizabeth will gain the respectable status of being Lady Torrington and her son will be accepted by Lord Torrington and under his protection. It all seems to be working out well. Until her husband’s daughters aren’t so keen on a stepmama, a man is murdered, and she starts to have unwanted feelings for her own husband.
I was expecting a good mystery and even a lovely slow burn romance as their fake relationship being real, but the gothic tones were a fabulous surprise. It had the feel of Du Maurier’s Rebecca at times when Elizabeth came to Middlecrest Abbey and had to contend with her husband’s mother in law, two grown daughters, old staff, and others of the visiting party. The atmospheric moments were great.
As to the mystery, it was fun seeing Elizabeth and Torrington working to hunt down the French spy with connections at Middlecrest Abbey, the killer, and, for Elizabeth, solve a few family secrets.
But, all through the partnering, the newlyweds slowly get to know each other, earn respect, and work to get over their pasts even while Elizabeth struggles with trusting her husband after what has happened to her in the past. Elizabeth’s secret about who is the father of her child is a ticking time bomb and she knows she needs to tell her husband, but the longer they are together and things are wonderful, she doesn’t want to lose what they have with the truth.
All in all, this was a sensational historical romantic suspense that has me eager to get my hands on the author’s backlist. I can recommend it to those who enjoy sweet romance, engaging historical setting, and a clever and exciting suspense element.
I rec’d the book from Thomas Nelson via Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #71
Romance BINGO #7 ‘widowers
COYER Quarantine #44
Historical Fiction #58
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