Lady Dearing's Masqueradeby Elena Greene Published 24 Oct 2012
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LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE was originally published as a Signet Super Regency and was awarded Best Regency Romance of 2005 by RT Book Club. Length: about 80,000 words (260 pages). Sensuality: includes sex scenes.
Finally free after a desperately unhappy marriage, widowed Lady Dearing goes to a masquerade. She thinks it’s just a lark, but matters turn serious when she kisses a costumed stranger who protected her from a drunken lout. Word leaks out, scandal escalates and she becomes the ton’s most infamous widow. Shunned by society, she retreats to her country estate. Having no children of her own, she finds joy in caring for children she’s taken in from London’s Foundling Hospital. But every night, she is haunted by the memory of the gallant stranger, whose seductive voice and gentle touch awakened desires she’d thought long dead.
Two years later, Sir Jeremy Fairhill still hungers for the lady from the masquerade. She felt like his match, more than his saintly deceased wife, more than any of the respectable ladies his friends urge him to marry. Failing to find her, he throws his energies into the cause of the Foundling Hospital, where he serves on the Board of Governors. Hearing that a notorious woman has some of the foundlings in her charge, he is impelled to investigate. He has no idea that she is the lady he seeks, but soon his sense of honor is at odds with his dangerous passion for the elusive, alluring Lady Dearing.
"Lady Dearing's Masquerade could have been a dark, depressing story considering its many tragedies: orphaned foundlings, throwaway babies, malicious gossip, years of abuse. But it's a tribute to Elena Greene that the story is poignant, and the admirable way in which Jeremy and Livvy deal with their trials endears them to readers and will have you rooting for them to unite."
-- Romantic Times Bookclub (4 and 1/2 stars, TOP PICK)
"Lady Dearing's Masquerade is a delightful Regency romance. The characters of this remarkable tale sparkle with sensitivity, wit, humor, and a genuine quality that will make them stand out in readers' minds long after the last page is turned... The passion and romance of this wonderful story are heartwarming and a pleasure to read. The characters shine with genuine emotions and believable dialogue. Secondary characters are an essential element to the story and an insight into Livvy's and Jeremy's personalities. For a story that is sure to stoke the romantic fires burning in every Regency fan, be sure not to miss Lady Dearing's Masquerade." -- Edith Morrison, for Romance Reviews Today
"This was a very well written novel, with great characters and a terrific (and plausible) plot... I'll definitely be looking for more books by Elena Greene." -- Lynn Lamy, for Rakehell
"This is a SuperRegency from Signet, which means it has a greater page count and more sensuality than your basic Regency, both of which Elena Greene puts to good use in Lady Dearing's Masquerade... this was a terrific read, and I recommend it."
-- Cheryl Sneed, for All About Romance
"Lady Dearing's Masquerade" Reviews
I adored this book. The humor was great and the heroine was a little martyr-ish, but didn't devolve into sainthood or a doormat. She accepted her role in life and did a good job caring for children. The kids seemed like a plot-device at times, but they served their purpose. The hero was strong and steady.
If you believe in love on sight, this book will fulfill all your dreams. Two reticent masked people meet at a masquerade and kiss. This sets off a chain of events which leads eventually to the two of them meeting again five years later. Only now the woman has a disreputable reputation (because of that kiss), and the man is there to check out the foundlings she has taken in to raise, and perhaps whisk them away from her. A great Regency read.
Characters were too pat, without much dimension. It seemed as if the author was trying to hard with all the conflict - rather than fleshing out her characters to make the story mord interesting, Greene just piled another problem on he'd protagonist. Too much disparate intrigue just made the plotline choppy.
A pleasant enough read.
None of the plot elements actually surprised me or were in any way unexpected. The identity of the villains were clear, as were many of the other twists in the narrative. There were also a number of scenes that seemed to repeat the same topics of discussion, but with slightly different mixes of characters, and these could have done with some trimming.
As with most historicals, the main characters in this novel have psyches permeated by contemporary sensibilities--which is an expected, and for me at least, a welcome convention within the genre. Otherwise, the books would no longer be pleasant escapes, but dark contemplations of class prejudice, sexism, jingoism, imperialism, and so on. And that's not why I read romance--I turn to other books for all those elements.
Similarly, I don't turn to romance for out of left-field plot twists of the sort that you don't see coming except in hindsight (though exceptional plot crafting, or character, dialogue, prose, etc. are welcome if they make an appearance--ditto with some of the above motifs, if the author can manage to pull them in with a light touch and without jeapordizing my sympathy for the main characters). I read them for a pleasant diversion from work, and from weightier subjects. This book featured pleasant characters and a nice enough story, of an evening when I didn't feel inclined to wade into a weightier narrative!
4.5 stars, I loved this book. I think I have met my newest favorite hero, Jeremy. At 29, Livvy is a young widow, childless, she mourned her first husband for the required year and then decided to go to London so she could dance again. At a masquerade she kissed the hero, Jeremy (a widower), she was seen kissing a masked man and gossip started and she became a scandalous widow. Three years later, she has taken in 4 children from a foundling hospital. Jeremy makes an inspection of how the children are fairing and is instantly attracted to her. He doesn't know she is the woman who kissed him three years ago and Livvy is determined to keep it that way.
Jeremy keeps peeling back her layers of "scandal" and working to find the real woman behind the gossip. They are so attracted to each other, and they don't go to crazy lengths to deny their attraction. They actually talk to each other and get to know each other, share the secrets of their unhappy marriages slowly. Jeremy is a refreshing hero, he is a widower, he is not a rake, he doesn't have a mistress, he wants a family and he wants Livvy. He realizes that Livvy is barren and he wants her, he wants to make a life with her and maybe take in more children from the foundling hospital to fill the house with the children they can't have.
There are some heavy make out scenes, but the sex doesn't come until late in the book. Not real steamy, but nice. I really loved this book and I will be looking for more to read from this author.
What did you love best about Lady Dearing's Masquerade?
This is a fun easy historical romance. The story is nothing major, but delightful none the less. I can appreciate a sweet read that doesn't tax my brain. This book was an enjoyable journey from beginning to end!
Did the narration match the pace of the story?
Wonderful narration by Robin Rowan. She has a terrific pace that moves with the story. As with many of this genre the author has a British Accent. It is a smooth tone that never felt overdone. I adore the easy energy of this read.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It can easily be done in one listen. I took my time with it and separated it over a few trips to work and back. It made the travels fly by!