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.
SERIES: Hawthorne House #1
GENRE: Historical Inspirational Romance
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2015
“There’s a globe with a napkin on it, but it doesn’t look like it put up much of a fight.”
Believe it or not, despite whatever reading superpowers I may have, there are still books I haven’t read. Books that seemingly everybody but me has read. There are two of these such books in particular that I get gently (sometimes not so gently lol) chastised with frequent regularity for not reading yet. One shall continue to remain nameless until someone brings it up again. The other is A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter.
And with apparent good reason. A Noble Masquerade was a finalist in both the 2016 Christy Awards and the Inspys. It also just recently won the 2016 RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance!! (I totally think Kristi Ann Hunter should have swept the “Best First Book” category with it too.) But the distinction I hear more than any others from people who tell me, “Carrie, you MUST read A Noble Masquerade!” is this: It belongs in your next KissingBooks 101 post.
Alright people, I’ve FINALLY read A Noble Masquerade and here are my initial thoughts. You were ALL so very RIGHT! I absolutely DID need to read it, I absolutely did LOVE it, and it absolutely belongs in my next KissingBooks 101 post. Wow!
The chemistry between Miranda and her hero is electric, from the very first moment they share a scene together and every moment thereafter that their names appear together. I seriously found myself forgetting to breathe a few times because I was held captive by them being held captive by each others’ gazes. And – spoiler alert – their kisses?? Whew. Break out the fan. And the fainting couch. And keep them handy.
But one thing I enjoyed the most about the romance is the humor shared between them. As one of my friends & fellow reviewers said on Goodreads, “Miranda is a hot mess.” Yes, yes she is – delightfully so – and her hero seems to appreciate that about her with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face. As they would say here in the South – bless her heart, she tries. Her mother’s frequent lessons on being a lady have lodged deeply in Miranda’s awareness, and perhaps she’s trying too hard….but girlfriend is so endearingly full of life that she just can’t be contained by the restrictions of proper expectations.
Fortunately, this makes her absolutely perfect for her hero who is yummy and swoonworthy and everything you would want in a Regency hero. Or a contemporary hero. Or, really, a hero from any historical era, for that matter. The more obvious humor in A Noble Masquerade follows Miranda around, but surrounding the hero is this wonderfully droll wit that made me laugh out loud more than Miranda’s unintentional antics did. (A prime example is the line that began this review, said by an associate of the hero’s.)
Bottom Line: There are many types of masquerades going on simultaneously in Kristi Ann Hunter’s debut novel – some obvious, and others more subtle. But all of them swirl together in a gorgeously orchestrated waltz that will keep you grinning from cover to cover. Beneath it all, there lies a sweet reminder that “family” can be found in unexpected places even when – especially when – we feel the most alone.
A Noble Masquerade is a thoroughly enjoyable Regency romance, full of vivid characters as well as fun and wit and even a good deal of intrigue and suspense. I completely understand why everyone kept insisting I read it, and I’m sure “A lady never is so unfashionably late when reviewing a good book” but it was exceedingly worth the wait.
P.S. – you must read the author’s acknowledgments for A Noble Masquerade too. They were delightful. Clearly, Kristi Ann Hunter and I need to be friends. Or her sense of humor and mine need to do lunch. One of those.
(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)
My Rating: 5 stars / Excellent!
KissingBook Level: 4 / Don’t let your fan and fainting couch get too far away.
You can find A Noble Masquerade here.
Guest review contributed by Reading Is My Superpower. Peek at Top Ten Tuesday and Favorites Friday but also frequent author interviews/giveaways in a style of review that stands out from the rest.