Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review: Moonlight Masquerade

Moonlight Masquerade is a regency romance set in 1813 England. The story follows Lady Wexham a spy for France and her butler, Rees Phillips, who was placed in her household unbeknownst to her by The Home Office to keep an eye on her and determine whether or not she is a spy. 

First of all, I am so happy to be done with this book. It took me about a week to finish it. The book is only 352 pages and I've finished books with this exact amount of pages in 2-3 days. This book got me so behind on my reading. I can't say it's entirely the book's fault, I didn't have the discipline to push through a mediocre book. So, obviously I wasn't a big fan of this one.

The book never held my attention, ever. I could read a few pages and I'd think I'd gotten really far and I'd check and only 2% of the book had passed. I couldn't believe that it progressed so slowly, it definitely became a chore to read. Maybe this was because I felt like the author always kept the reader at a far distance from the characters instead of bringing the reader into the character's hearts, souls, and minds. Even when one of the main characters got shot, I still did not care. I never got emotionally caught up in their story. Even the parts of the book that should have been exciting, never were. I really can't even pinpoint why this book never got intriguing, because with the storyline that it has, it definitely had potential to be a much better book.

Maybe I also didn't enjoy it because I never understood the politics in the book. Maybe I'm just very ignorant about British and French history. This is the reason I do read though, to learn while being entertained. But, even by the end of the book I still couldn't figure out if Lady Wexham was for or against what the British wanted. Were Rees and Celine spying for the same cause, but for different countries? Don't ask me, I have no idea! Was Celine the bad guy or not? Who knows! I wish the author would have found a better way to weave a bit of political history of those two countries and the war they were fighting at the time, because I was always confused. Maybe I should have done some research on Wikipedia prior to reading this book.

The author would also use terms that I wasn't familiar with and unlike how most authors will use a word that might be considered jargon or a colloquialism, and then explain it through context so the readers knows what the author is talking about... this author did not do that. She would use the word or phrase and just assume that everyone is such a history buff regarding the time period that they'd already know what she was talking about. Many of the words she used I'd try looking up in the Kindle dictionary and there'd be no entry for them. Here's an example of a sentence found 59% into the book (I do not have page numbers for the ARC): 
"Digging into her reticule, she extracted her bottle of Hungary water."
Hungary water? Is that like special bottled water found only in Hungary? The author never explains, just assumes the reader is familiar with this water. Things like this pop up several times throughout the book. Again, maybe I'm just a big dummy, but I don't think so.

I am giving Moonlight Masquerade 2 out of 5 stars. I think that with a better writing style this book could have been much better. It was not terrible, but it's certainly not a book I'm going to miss.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Revell in exchange for a honest review.

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