Title: Masked Love
Author: Nicole Zoltack
Release Date: October 28, 2013
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Synopsis: Isabelle is content being a maid, and will do anything for her lady–even accompany her to a masquerade ball. Lady Theodosia needs extra support and encouragement on this night, for tomorrow she will meet the man her parents have pledged her to.
Isabelle has never had occasion to attend such an event, and is at first ill at ease. But meeting an enchanting young man during the course of the evening makes her wish for a life she can never have. Thinking she won’t ever see him again, she returns his flirtation and even reveals her face. Imagine her shock when he shows up the next morning, announcing his claim on Lady Thedosia.
Isabelle does all she can to avoid Lord Adrian Wingave, but then he not only sees her, he recognizes her as the enchanting woman from the night before. To make matters worse, Isabelle fears her feelings are not one-sided.
Torn between duty and desire, Isabelle hopes for something more this Christmas.
Characters: The three main characters are servant Isabelle, told in her point of view, Lady Theodosia, and Lord Adrian. Isabelle is Lady Theodosia’s kind, doting servant. She doesn’t seem to mind being a servant and never complains about it, but of course she has fantasies of marrying a lord and becoming rich. For someone of such high class, Lady Theodosia treats her servant as an equal and a friend, taking her to a masquerade ball and confiding her apprehension about her arranged marriage. Lord Adrian is of course the charming, handsome knight and shining armor. He is royalty as well, but still has the consience and emotions of the average human.
Plot: Lady Theodosia asks Isabelle to accompany her to a masquerade ball, providing the girl with a fancy dress and glittering mask. The lady ditches her as soon as they arrive at the ball, leaving Isabelle to mingle awkwardly until she bumps into Lord Adrian. They dance together and immediately fall in love. The next day, Isabelle is horrified to learn that the enchanting man who stole her heart is about to marry her lady. Lord Adrian is not happy about this prearranged marriage and fortunately Lady Theodosia, who had her own pleasant dance with another lord the previous night, isn’t on board either. The three of them must now come up with a plan to thwart the marriage so everyone has a chance to wind up with their true loves. The novel is the very definition of romance but not overly sappy. The plot was very engaging and well-written, but I felt the end was a little rushed and could’ve been made a little longer.
Writing: It is very obvious that Zoltack knows her stuff when it comes to the Renaissance. The dialogue and format could have came directly from that time period, but it was still understandable and able to hold my attention. Her descriptions and plot development are on point. Zoltack’s skills as an author shine through in this novel.
I would recommend Masked Love to all fans of romance and the Renaissance. Superb writing combined with likeable characters will have you rooting for their fate through the entire novel.