Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Bookshelf: A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

        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.

        A Noble Masquerade is the first book in Kristi Ann Hunter’s Hawthorne House series, although there is an e-novella that comes before it called A Lady of Esteem. In fact, A Lady of Esteem was what got me hooked on Kristi Ann’s writing. You see, A Noble Masquerade is her first full length novel. A little over a month ago, she published her novella as a free e-book, and I happened to stumble upon it. I’m all for free books, and the description made it sound like something right up my alley, so I downloaded it. Can I just say that was one of the best decisions I ever made? When I think of first-time authors, I do think talent, but I also know that they haven’t published anything, so they don’t have near as much experience as older authors do. Although they may have a great story and a wonderful writing style, they just haven’t been at it for long, so I don’t put my expectations too high. It will be a good book, I tell myself, but their later works will be better. That was not the case with Kristi Ann. Before I had even made it halfway through A Lady of Esteem, I knew she was a very talented author. By the time I started A Noble Masquerade, I was aware that her writing is better than many ‘more experienced’ authors, if only because she knows how to weave together a story. Obviously I need to let go of the stereotypes.
        Miranda Hawthorne is by far one of my favorite heroines. As a privileged woman of society, you would think she would be difficult to relate to, but that is far from the truth. Always pressured to be the perfect lady, Miranda feels that she must hide all of her feelings deep inside herself; her only release being in writing letters to her brother, Griffith’s, friend, the Duke of Marshington. Although she would never even consider sending them, just the thought that he would understand what she is going through serves to make her world a little better. With her sister’s upcoming debut into society, Miranda is more and more reminded of her own two failed seasons, in which she failed to procure a suitable husband. Reeling from that and her shocking attraction to Griffith’s new valet, Marlow, Miranda becomes careless with her letters, only to have one accidentally sent by Marlow. Trying to stay calm, Miranda assures herself that he most likely won’t even get it, as he’s been away from society for so long he probably isn’t even in his own home, but is shaken to the core when he not only reads her letter, but replies!
        The Duke of Marshington is another wonderful character. Although I cannot tell you much about his story, he is a recluse and all, I can tell you that he is by far one of the best heroes I have ever met. Daring and strong, he is not only a wonderful protector, but also has one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen in a man. Oh how I wish I could tell you all the reasons why I love him, but I will settle for telling you he is a wonderful example of a Christian gentleman. And he has a great sense of humor. I promise you, it won’t take you long to fall for him as well.
        Full of mystery and intrigue, love and romance, A Noble Masquerade is a captivating book that I couldn’t bear to put down. Set in nineteenth century England, this novel is full of interesting historical facts and perfect descriptions of all that 1812 held. Kristi Ann not only wrote a perfect historical, she wrote a heart-melting romance with inspiring Christian themes. I loved this book so much I have to give it all five bookshelves, and I know that I will be keeping my eye out for everything else Kristi Ann writes, especially the rest of the Hawthorne House series. I cannot wait to read about what happens to her three siblings, Griffith, Trent, and Georgina! I highly recommend this book, although I would advise you to read A Lady of Esteem first. It is such a sweet story, and it gives you a little insight into the Hawthornes. Keep an eye out for A Noble Masquerade, which releases in just three days!
        Happy reading!

You can preorder A Noble Masquerade or download A Lady of Esteem here.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Kristi Ann Hunter and Bethany House Publishers.

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