Book Review

‘Masquerade’ by Nancy Moser

tm nmSTORY: Eighteen eighty-five, New York City: Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from London, travels to America to escape her tedious life by marrying the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine.

Deciding, however, that an arranged marriage is not for her, she arranges for her maid, Maureen, to take her place. What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte’s blackest nightmares.

As for Maureen, she lives a fairy tale complete with a prince–yet tormented by a wicket mother-in-law-to-be. Will their masquerade be discovered? Or will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It’s a risk. It’s the chance of a lifetime.

REVIEW: Dornby Manor, Wiltshire, England  –  September 1886

Thomas Gleason and his meek and somewhat sickly wife, Hester, have just learned that some of their investments have failed and they are having to cut way back in their expenses.  Wanting to see that their only child, Charlotte, makes a good marriage, they are encouraging her to entertain the idea of marrying Conrad Tremaine, heir to Tremaine’s Dry Goods in New York City.  Charlotte is appalled at marrying a “glorified shopkeeper” even though the family is extremely wealthy.

Charlotte and her maid, Dora, have been together for many years and are as close as sisters.  As such, Dora is honest with Charlotte and makes her realize the family’s financial situation.  So, when they receive two first class tickets to sail to America to meet the Gleason family, Charlotte agrees.  However, Hester has a coughing attack and decides to stay in England meaning that Dora will go with Charlotte to America.  Both girls are very excited about the trip.  Charlotte shares some of her clothes with Dora so they can both appear as friends traveling together.

Onboard the ship, Dora’s personality and good looks attract a lot of attention.  One special person is Dr. Edmund Greenfield, previously physician to the Queen, who is leaving all that behind to join his cousin to practice medicine in America.

Charlotte is somewhat jealous of Dora’s attention but is truly happy for her friend.  This is when Charlotte’s plan comes to fruition.  She does not want to be forced to marry someone she does not know so she talks Dora into changing places with her.  Dora will become her and go to the Tremaine’s and Charlotte will seek out her old nanny who had emigrated to America some years back and stay with her.  She wants the excitement and freedom to be her own person.  She has some jewelry and money that she can keep on her to sell to enable her to buy her passage back to England if all does not go as she hopes.  Perfect, right?  Well, not so fast.

Upon arrival in America, Dora is met and escorted to the Tremaine’s while Charlotte’s jewelry box and all her money is stolen from her leaving her penniless.

I have set the story up and now you must come and read about the adventures of Charlotte and Dora and see how they both react to their different situations in life.  This is a terrific story and I truly enjoyed it.  It gives a wonderful depiction of all of people who were immigrating to America at this time period all looking for a new and better life.  Things aren’t easy for either Charlotte or Dora but things all have a way of working out in the end.

This is a 2010 novel that I must have missed along the way.  I was so taken with the author that I am looking for more of her books to read.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Connie for b2b


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