Love Only Flourishes in Truth…
Masquerade by Nancy Moser/Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0751-8/400 pages/ softcover/ $14.99
They risk it all for adventure and romance, but find that love only flourishes in truth….
1886. Charlotte Gleason embarks from England with conflicting emotions. She is headed for New York to marry one of America’s wealthiest heirs–a man she has never even met. When her doubts gain the upper hand, she swaps identities with her maid, Dora Connors. She wants a chance at “real life,” even if it means giving up financial security. For Charlotte, it’s a risk she’s willing to take. But what begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl becomes a test of survival beyond her blackest nightmare.
For Dora, it’s the chance of a lifetime. She is thrust into a fairy tale amid ball gowns and lavish mansions, yet is tormented by the possibility of discovery–and humiliation. And what of the man who believes she is indeed his intended? Is this what her heart truly longs for?
Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of twenty-one novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories. Her contemporary books are known for their big-cast utilization of multiple points-of-view and intricate plotting. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Said So Sister Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She paints canes voraciously, kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique–humans included. Find out more at www.nancymoser.com and www.sistercircles.com.
It’s 1886 England. Charlotte Gleason’s life as a wealthy socialite’s daughter will end if she stays in England, for reasons unrelated to her own doings. Her father and mother have ‘arranged’ for her to marry Conrad Tremaine, son and heir of one of the wealthiest men in America and the owner of Tremaine’s Dry Goods store, a five-story building in New York City which encompasses an entire city block. A strong-minded Charlotte decides she wants to marry ‘for love,’ not wealth and society. The Tremaines, however, presumptuously send two, first-class tickets for the steamship Etruria.
Dora Connors has been Charlotte’s personal maid for more than seven years. When Charlotte’s mother is taken ill, Dora is assigned to accompany Charlotte to NYC as her friend. The steamship ride alone is a great story, but it’s only the half of it.
True to her self-centered nature, Charlotte convinces Dora to take her place as the bride-to-be of Conrad, while Charlotte (Lottie) seeks to make life happen her own way once they arrive in America. Dora becomes Charlotte Gleason, and Charlotte becomes Lottie Hathaway.
Circumstances change in a hurry, leaving Lottie alone and abandoned. Her ‘half-prayers’ remind her of God’s promise ‘to watch over her.’ Dora (now Charlotte Gleason), on the other hand, is drenched in the luxury of society’s elite at the Tremaine’s, albeit living in angst of being ‘discovered’ and thus humiliated.
Masquerade was a very insightful read. It takes you on a disturbing distinction that distinguishing the elegantly rich socialites and the poor, ‘the haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ through the role-reversals of the young ladies, that were initially meant to find Charlotte her ideal plans for her life in America.
Reminiscent of The Prince and the Pauper, with a little Gone With The Wind verbiage, Masquerade has deeper spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical consequences when both young women choose to deliberately deceive. Sir Walter Scott’s “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive’… becomes a truism to be dealt with.
The depiction of the poor in America in 1886 appears to be as horrific as today’s homelessness. The poor that Jesus is ever so aware of and wants us to care for, both physically and spiritually.
With roles reversed, will the young ladies “find” themselves? Make it on their own? Or will they metamorph into the young ladies God intended them to be?
To add to the pleasure of the book, the author delineates the actual historical data that she based her novel on, along with pictures of some gowns worn during that time frame.
This book was provided free by Jim at Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.