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Masquerade Review by Marisa Corless

By Nancy Moser
Bethany House
6030 East Fulton Road
Ada, MI 49301

The novel Masquerade was an enjoyable read which started slowly but picked up and had me wanting to find out what adventure or misadventure the characters would get into next. Set in 1886, the story is about Charlotte Gleason, who has lived a privileged life. Charlotte is sent to New York to marry a son of a wealthy merchant. En route to America, she switches places with her maid Dora and sends Dora to the wealthy merchant so she can have a chance at freedom and "real life." Both girls encounter worlds and situations they are not familiar with as the story twists and turns.

This story was well researched, with careful consideration given to the descriptions of the period clothing and the mannerisms and conditions of the classes. Masquerade is best suited for teens and older due to the harsh topics, including conditions in the tenements of New York. This book does not contain any graphic scenes, but there is one scene where a minor character threatens to steal the virtue of a major character. The text is a little veiled, so it is not overly disturbing, and the girl does escape with her virtue untouched. This book would make an excellent addition to a discussion with teens through adults on the classes of the era, working conditions, immigration, and costumes. I especially enjoyed the pictures of the dresses that inspired Mrs. Moser's characters' clothing and notes at the end of the story.

This is a story about change of heart, experiences, and following the plan the Lord has set forth in one's life. The Christian dialogue, while not obtrusive, is not hidden or subtle in this book and for the most part fits with the storyline in appropriate places. While it took me a few pages to get involved in the story (both because it was a little slow in the beginning and because I had just finished reading a very fast paced novel), I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book once I got going. If you enjoy reading about people, customs, places, and adventures, then you will like this book.

Product review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2010