Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mary Balogh - A Masked Deception

The handsome, dashing, wealthy Richard Adair, the seventh Earl of Brampton, was caught in a most devilishly difficult tug-of-war. Claiming his hand was shy and demure Mrgaret Wells, who became his bride in an icily arranged marriage designed to produce an heir in a boringly proper alliance. Claiming his heart was a nameless charmer who concealed her face behind a mask and displayed her body in a daring gown as she made the Earl give himself over to a scandalously improper passion. Both of them desperately wanted Richard Adair - and both dreaded to think what would happen should he discover that they were one and the same two-faced lady ..

Comment: August's theme for my 2012 challenge was to read a book published in the year you were born. As I was born in 1985, I've looked for many authors and came across this one. I have another of her book's in my TBR list but once I saw she had a book from that year, I thought it was a good way to start reading her stuff.

This story was written for Signet Regency, so it I was expecting a certain type of plot, even with the creative parts. In this I didn't get wrong, there are some aspects that are rather obvious in terms of development. I still saw how the author attempted to bring some creative details but in the end I have to admit it felt very "constructed" instead of natural, but I believe it was just a matter of experience and that if she could have written the story all over again, she would use her experience of so many years to make it more vibrant.

The story starts with the Earl of Brampton proposing to miss Margaret Wells because he knows it's time and she has an excellent family although she seems too shay and lacks initiative. In fact, he still has feelings for a masked lady he met years before but who disappeared and now life forced him to marry so he can have an heir. He says often he doesn't feel attracted to his wife and their first time together couldn't be more faraway from romantic. While we meet more characters and see them play their parts and get into their schemes to reach love, we also learn that the masked lady is the same woman he married but he ends up being the last to know.

As it's to be expected, there are several situations that follow the usual clichés to the masked lady is very daring vs the demure wife, how the man stats feeling guilty to use his wife and cheats on her but with time falls for her, how the best friends seem to just enjoy the other's company but actually falling in love foe each other, how a secret can make the most unimaginable troubles between everyone...well, it's nothing we haven't seen, but it's important to bear in mind this is a book from 85, so these aspects were new then, although too seen today. I think the best way to look at this book is to think about the writer's talent for writing, that is where one can distinguish the same old from the freshness. If I think about this, then I remember that the author made her characters alive and interesting...for the most part. there were things that bothered me, especially in lord Brampton because he didn't feel remorse on cheating on his wife at first...I think despite being the way things were in those days added to him not loving his wife yet it can be sot of excused, but in romance we want out heroes to know better right away, right?

In the end, the story was fun and offered many interesting moments but even though I appreciate the effort, the fact I've read so many books with the same type of plots kind of adds up in one's head, and I couldn't put that aside even with the author's talent in sight. I liked the book but I can't say it's really something I wouldn't forget, in fact details are already slipping my mind after less than a week. But I have hopes for the other book I have of hers to read. Time had passed and we learn.

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