A Regency Romance That Unmasks What It Means To Be One’s True Self
A Noble Masquerade
by Kristi Ann Hunter
Series: Hawthorne House (Book 1)
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Kristi Ann Hunter’s Website (Lots of info!)
A Lady of Esteem (Free Hawthorne House novella – with preview of A Noble Masquerade)
Buy the Book
Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, the Duke of Marshington. Since she’s never actually met the man she has no intention of ever sending the letters and is mortified when her brother’s mysterious new valet, Marlow, mistakenly mails one of the letters to the unsuspecting duke.
Shockingly, this breach of etiquette results in a reply from the duke that soon leads to a lively correspondence. Insecurity about her previous lack of suitors soon becomes confusion as Miranda finds herself equally intrigued by Marlow, a man she has come to depend upon but whose behavior grows more suspicious by the day. As the secret goings-on at her family’s estate come to light, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
Do you love a good mystery? And does a good Regency romance hero make you swoon? If so, I’ve got good news for you: Kristi Ann Hunter delivers both in her first full-length novel, A Noble Masquerade.
Meet Miranda Hawthorne, our passionate, spirited heroine. Though she’s a true lady, she chafes under the constant critique and instruction of her ever-etiquette-minded mother. Add to this the fact that her spoiled and self-centered younger sister has come into season, and Miranda’s nerves are more than a little worn. Will she ever find love and marriage, or is she fated to the life of a doting spinster aunt?
Enter our reclusive hero: the Duke of Marshington. He’s every bit the model Regency suitor – tall, dashing, and noble, with an air of mystery and danger, and an unmatched swaggering confidence. Bravado and cynical humor aside, he’s also every bit the English gentleman.
Miranda and “Marsh”, whose given name is Ryland, are thrown together under unusual circumstances. It turns out the duke is at Miranda’s family estate under an assumed identity. He’s masquerading as her brother’s newly hired butler, Marlow. Only Miranda doesn’t know that Marlow is really the duke, a spy disguised as one of the help in order to flush out a murder suspect. And that’s where the fun begins!
Complete with healthy doses of humor, mystery, romance, and intrigue, A Noble Masquerade serves up everything you could ask for in a Regency novel. If you like Julie Klassen or Jane Austen, you’re bound to love Kristi Ann Hunter! Her characters are lively and engaging. Marshington is noble and heroic in every sense of the word, while given enough depth to avoid becoming a caricature; while Miranda is feisty and independent without being anachronistically modern. Miranda’s narration is at times so funny you’ll laugh out loud, especially when her internalized version of her mother’s voice injects itself into her thoughts. What does this look like? Take a peek:
“‘A Lady never sits on the floor.’ A lady probably wasn’t supposed to crawl on her belly through the dirt either.”
Hunter effectively employs a version of the epistolary form in Miranda’s journal entries, which she secretly addresses to “Dear Marshington” or the more familiar “Dear Marsh”. (An imagined version of her older brother’s boarding school friend, whom she has never met but who represents the ultimate protector and hero in her young mind.) It’s more than a little amusing to be in on the secret when Marlow mistakenly “mails” one of her letters and Miranda receives an answer from the Duke!
Thematically, the novel has Christian messages while never being pushy or intrusive with its faith. The main lesson? Never be afraid to be yourself. Indeed, Miranda never pretends to be someone she is not in order to secure a mate. In fact, when romance finally comes her way, she has already philosophically accepted that marriage may not be part of her Providential future. She doesn’t know where her life may take her, but she entrusts it to God.
I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed A Noble Masquerade. Though the mystery plot had pieces that I could anticipate, there were also surprises I did not guess at. And the novel was so well-executed on all fronts (the mystery, adventure, humor, romance) that I contentedly turned the pages to the very end. What fun it was to witness and follow along with Miranda on her thrilling adventure!
— Dawn Teresa
4.5 of 5 Hearts. A Regency Romance That Unmasks What It Means To Be One’s True Self.
With A Noble Masquerade, Kristi Ann Hunter has successfully crafted a novel sure to please readers of Regency romance. If you enjoy first-rate Regency period novels with just the right balance of romance and mystery, plus some humor thrown in for good measure, you’re guaranteed to enjoy Hunter’s debut full-length effort. Recommended for readers who enjoy Jane Austen and Julie Klassen.
I can’t wait until I can continue the story with the next installment in the series, An Elegant Facade.
Click the cover below to get the free novella!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Kristi Ann Hunter for providing me a free copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”