I just really love this cover! May I gush for a moment? Okay, so it's my blog and I'm going to anyway. ;) I do so love it! The colors are gorgeous and it's just so pretty! Definitely eye-catching! Though to be honest, I can't imagine having to wear that hat. Anyway! Feel free to comment your thoughts!
Description: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.
About the Author:
Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She is a founding member and the coordinator of the Regency Reflections blog and lives with her husband and three children in Georgia. Find her online at www.kristiannhunter.com.
My Review: 5 stars
A Noble Masquerade is Kristi Ann Hunter’s debut novel and the first in her new series, Hawthorn House. I adored, Lady of Esteem, the prequel novella that release a couple months ago in anticipation of this book and was thrilled when I got this one! I enjoy most novels set in the Regency era, but I’ve come to expect certain things from them. This one quite broke away from the usual mold and I loved that! It was funny, quirky, and the characters seemed to jump right off the pages! I found myself laughing with them, and mourning the difficult times and seasons with them.
Ms. Hunter does an excellent job of bringing to life Regency England, with all its gorgeous trappings and quirky characters. I loved this fresh outlook on what is a pretty popular time in history. Her descriptions gave it depth, like an artist adding detail to a painting. I could easily picture each scene in my mind and I enjoyed the imagery she often uses in her writing. I also loved the dry sense of humor and irony that had me laughing out loud or smirking along with the characters. I was drawn into the story from the first and didn’t want to put it down! I found myself often losing track of time and sometimes even place while reading, occasionally having to remind myself that I wasn’t in England with them. I love a story that can so thoroughly transport me to another time and place.
For the sake of complete honesty, I will admit to being vaguely disappointed that the letters between Miranda and the Duke didn’t play a larger role. Based on the description, I expected the story to contain more of their correspondence. But, I can also understand that had Ms. Hunter done that it probably would’ve slowed down the story significantly and may have possibly seemed to be filler. So, I appreciate her wisdom in continuing the story as she did. And the effect was so slight that I’m not including it in my rating, because I quickly moved on and immensely enjoyed the rest of the story.
Lady Miranda Hawthorne is such a fun character and I loved her right away! She tries so hard to meet her mother’s standards for being a lady, but under that calm façade is a vibrant, mischievous, emotional, and sometimes awkward, lady trying to break through. All Miranda really wants is to be loved for who she is and the ability to be herself. She finds society and all of its rules stifling and often bucks convention, despite her mother’s best efforts to the contrary. I have to admit that I rather enjoyed her “lady lessons.” Who knew there were so many rules for polite society! Miranda can’t seem to contain herself no matter what is considered proper.
Honestly, this is when I usually talk about the hero, but after reading the book description again, I don’t want to say much. So I’ll just tell you that he is so swoony! I confess to a distinct case of jealousy toward Miranda. He is kind, caring, strong, but also a little arrogant (which oddly enough made him more human). He brought out the best in Miranda and I loved how he encouraged her to be herself. He loved the vibrant person she hid and often riled her so that he could get beyond her façade to the real person waiting to break free.
There are scores of other characters populating this story and rounding it out. Such as the other Hawthorne siblings, Colin McCrae (who I hope eventually gets a story), Lady Raebourne from the novella, and all of the quirky staff members. I adored all of them as well, even Georgina, who I sometimes wanted to shake. She is young and self absorbed, but we do see a softer side towards the end. I’m looking forward to seeing her continue to grow throughout the future novels and hopefully become a lady of strength and character. I don’t know when the next book comes out, but I can already tell you that I am waiting with anticipation to find out which Hawthorne “meets their match” in the coming story!
The spiritual side of the story is also extremely well done. To me, this is what makes or breaks a Christian novel. Some come across as too preachy, while others barely meet the minimum to be considered Christian or religious. Ms. Hunter finds a happy medium with this book. Faith is an integral part of the story, but I never felt it overwhelmed anything else. Rather is flows smoothly throughout, guiding the characters and the reader. I loved Miranda’s faith and watching it grow and change as she struggled with finding her place and learning to be herself. While the hero’s faith was less obvious, he does have a strong sense of right and wrong, truth and lie. I appreciated his morality, even in the face of so much falsehood. Where he could have found lying the easier way out, he always took the high road. Much of the story also focuses on family and I enjoyed the notion so clearly displayed that family is more than just blood relations, but friends and loved ones from every part of life.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story full of humor, fun characters, and love!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave comments below (I love them!), if you so desire.
Also, I mentioned a novella Lady of Esteem, which is actually a free ebook right now on Amazon's Kindle (it may be available in other formats as well, though I'm not positive and I don't have links for them). So links for that are below, along with the ones for the novel. Just thought I'd share that, in case anyone is interested in a quick (and free) introduction to this author. Be forewarned though, you might become addicted! :)
Link for Lady of Esteem:
A Noble Masquerade:
Barnes & Noble