The Masquerade By Nancy Moser

This is a wonderful Victorian “Prince and the Pauper” type story.  Wealthy, protected, spoiled and selfish Charlotte Gleason has her pampered life of privilege interrupted.  Without her consent, her parents prearrange her marriage to a fabulously rich, Conrad Tremaine, a young man in America.  

She longs to marry for love and isn’t at all impressed with Conrad’s photograph.   She fights going but feels she must go through with the marriage to save her family who are at risk of losing everything. 

Due to her mother’s illness, her parents send her long time personal maid and best friend, Dora Conners, accompany her.   The family dresses Dora in Charlotte’s gowns and jewels, giving her a crash course in being a society lady. 

Charlotte wants freedom, adventure and the chance to marry for love.  On her way to America, she decides that Dora will take on her identity and marry Conrad, and she will be free to start over, pursuing her dreams.  Dora of course is excited at the opportunity to live as most servants’ never imagine.  Upon arrival things go as planned for Dora as she leaves in the Tremaine carriage, but things go terribly wrong for Charlotte.  She finds herself in New York City, penniless, alone, and with no experience in life.

I very much enjoyed this book.  It was interesting to watch each girl mature and realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Both young ladies found themselves relying on God as they never had before as they find themselves trapped in situations of their own making.

It made me think about how we often rush ahead without God and try to manipulate life to fit our desires, and find ourselves in dire consequences.  I like the way the author gave detailed insight into how poor immigrants lived during that era and the ridiculously wealthy.  I felt like I was there with the girls, experiencing both lifestyles during this time in history.  I highly recommend this book. 

In exchange for my honest review, I received a copy of the book from Bethany

House Publishers.

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