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3.9 34
by Nancy Moser

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moser writes inspirational fiction with a strong, historically accurate foundation in this new offering, set in 1885 in New York City. Twin protagonists Charlotte Gleason, wealthy English heiress, and Dora Connors, her maid, decide to take fate (and love) into their own hands and switch places upon their arrival in America. Dora, having never experienced material comfort, jumps at the chance to "become" Charlotte and marry a very wealthy American suitor, Conrad Tremaine, in Charlotte's stead. Charlotte, whose idea it was to trade places, finds herself penniless and on the streets of New York, alone and desperate. Both young women find themselves utterly discombobulated and ill-at-ease pretending to be the other. Through some expected plot twists, Charlotte and Dora learn a few tricks, and lessons, about life. In the end, they find their way back to being comfortable in their own skins. Moser's work is nicely done and thoroughly entertaining throughout, even with a predictable storyline. (Aug.)

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Baker Publishing Group
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Meet the Author

Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and seventeen novels, including Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, has traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in various theaters. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home near Kansas City.
Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and a eighteen novels, including Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, and is a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at www.nancymoser.com.

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Masquerade 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
LauraFabiani More than 1 year ago
Charlotte Gleason is a wealthy and spoiled young woman whose world changes when her father bring shame and financial ruin to his family. Dora Connors is Charlotte's maid since they were both thirteen. Their relationship borders on friendship withheld from all its benefits because of social boundaries. But all that changes when Charlotte, accompanied by Dora, is sent to America to marry a very wealthy heir. But upon arriving, Charlotte decides to switch places with Dora. The masquerade begins. I thoroughly loved reading this book. I liked the premise, and I felt the author was able to pull it off well. In some aspects, this novel reminded me of a Jane Austen book. It is character-driven and full of events that kept me guessing until the end to see how it would all turn out. Both Charlotte and Dora are likable characters. Their personal growth (mainly because of their changed circumstances) as the story progressed was the impetus that kept me loving every page I read. I especially enjoyed the Italian immigrant Scarpelli family, since my relatives, grandparents and parents are immigrants who carved a life in America and Canada. The Italian phrases brought a smile to my face, and I appreciated the author's research of what life was like for many immigrants when they first arrived in America. It made me look back on my family with admiration for leaving everything behind to start anew in a strange land. The ending came a little too quickly (maybe because I was enjoying the book so much) and I felt the romantic involvements weren't fully developed. Both Charlotte and Dora's love interests were men I would have liked to know better. So few words were exchanged between Dora and Edmund that it left me craving for more. However, since the main focus of the book is not really romance, this is but a minor setback, and as I said I loved reading this book. The story explores friendship, the value of honesty and finding one's purpose in life. It is filled with vivid scenes that would allow for a great transition to the movies. No doubt about it, Nancy Moser has made it on my list of favorite authors.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Masquerade by Nancy Moser is inspiring and moving historical fiction about Gilded Age New York. Charlotte Gleason has lived all of her nineteen years in blissful ignorance of the troubles of the world around her. Spoiled by her parents, she has beautiful clothing,a group of well-heeled wealthy friends, and servants to care for her every need, especially personal maid, Dora who has been her best friend since she was twelve. When her parents face scandal and a reduction in their finances they order her to New York to marry into the noveau riche Tremaine family to secure her future. Aboard the ship to America with Dora, Lottie rebels against their plan and determined to marry only for love, she switches places with Dora. Dora will become Charlotte and marry Conrad Tremaine, and Lottie will seek her fortune in the city. Her dreams of adventure are quickly shattered and she is forced to face abject poverty and homelessness, but how can she take away Dora's chance at happiness? Both young women must determine if they can build a future on a lie. Moser's writing is always intelligent and engrossing, and this novel has far more depth than the cover reveals. Lottie discovers what really matters to her and that she will only achieve her dreams by relying on God, while Dora must choose between marriage to a good man who is wealthy beyond her dreams or a man whose trust she has destroyed but fills her heart. But it's more than a romance, it's a story of woman discovering themselves and learning what real hardship means. It's a historical romance with intelligence and heart and faith.
Lupa More than 1 year ago
Masquerade starts off like any girls typical dream. A girl, about to marry one of America's wealthiest heirs. The only downside is that she has never met this man. I absolutely loved this book. The way the author crafts such a tale takes a typical situation from the 1800's and twists it in such a way that a reader cant help but keep reading. My favorite character was Dora just because she represented someone who was thrown into every girls dream. She got to live in the fairy tale, even if it wasn't for long. I loved the way Moser crafted the friendship between the two girls. This book was one that made me feel what Charlotte was feeling. What she is forced to do makes you feel bad for her to an extent where you feel like you are experiencing it yourself. I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in historical novels. It is truly a fairy tale twisted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not one of my favorites. Lottie Gleason and her maid Dora Connors travel to America to meet Lottie's fiancee. During their travel Lottie decides to switch places with her Dora. The characters were realistic but were not very interesting. The plot was pretty interesting but at times it does become boring. Overall, this book is okay but like I said it is not one of my favorites. I recieved this book from Bethany House Publishers and expressed my true opinions.
Sneezybee23 More than 1 year ago
At the age of 19, Charlotte "Lottie" Gleason is spoiled, rich and nearly engaged to Conrad Tremaine, the son of a wealthy merchant in America. Lottie openly acknowledges that she likes her self-centered lifestyle, but desires true love over an arranged marriage to a wealthy young man. When Lottie and her maid, Dora Connors, travel from Wiltshire to America for the purpose of Lottie meeting Conrad, Lottie convinces Dora to swap places with her. Lottie will go to Dora's distant family relation and Dora will masquerade as Charlotte Gleason. But the plan does not go as smoothly as Lottie anticipated and soon Lottie is destitute with no job and no family. All of the sudden, marrying Conrad Tremaine and all of his money does not sound like such a bad idea. But what about Dora? Does she truly love Conrad Tremaine? What will become of her and Conrad if her true identity is revealed? Overall, Masquerade was an entertaining book to read. The plot moved at a good pace and some of the twists were pleasantly unexpected. The depictions about the lives of the immigrants and the poor class of people were intriguing and seemed realistic. However, I did not like the character of Lottie Gleason from beginning to end. I suppose that in the beginning, she is not meant to be likeable, but even as she went through her change of heart, I still did not like her. As she was one of the main two characters, this meant that a substantial amount of the book was about her. On the other hand, Dora, Conrad, Sven, Dr. Greenfield and the Scarpellis were very likeable and entertaining. This is, of course, a personal preference about characters. I would not discourage anyone from buying the book based on this, but I would suggest renting it from the library first. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jennifer_Bonds More than 1 year ago
Charlotte Gleason is a woman that has lived the life of luxury in England with her family. Her father announces that she will be sent to New York to marry one the richest heirs whom she has never met and knows nothing about. Charlotte rebukes and tries to get out of the planned wedding but her father will have nothing of it. Little does she know, her family is in danger of losing their high status in society and this is why her father is so anxious to send her away and get her married to someone that can continue to give her the life that she is accustomed to living. Charlotte is not one those women that want her life planned out for her. She wants to marry for love and she wants to learn about life on her own, something that she has not been able to do while living at home with her parents. Dora is Charlotte's maid. She goes along with Charlotte on her journey to America. On the way, Charlotte comes up with a grand plan to switch identities with Dora so that she can go and discover herself and get the experiences in life that she would never be able to do if she marries this man. Dora has the opportunity to live a life that she has always been around but never got to experience. She is dressed in the beautiful gowns and feels like a true princess. Life for Charlotte doesn't turn out quite like she expected. Immediately upon getting to New York and separating from Dora, her whole plan is changed before her very eyes. She gets new experiences, but not the ones she had hoped for. Charlotte struggles with whether she should she go and claim her spot as the true Charlotte Gleason or should she continue on, not knowing what may happen to her life as she knows it. This is a wonderfully told story that took me back to an era of time that is completely different to the life I am use to. I could not put this book down. Nancy Moser did a wonderful job of creating these characters and putting together a story that you could actually imagine the lives of these women in their struggles and journeys into two completely new lives. I would definitely recommend this book as a great read. Masquerade was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers free of charge for review purposes only. The opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced.
onedesertrose More than 1 year ago
It's 1886 England. Charlotte Gleason's life as a wealthy socialite's daughter will end if she stays in England for reasons unrelated to her own doings. Her father and mother have 'arranged' for her to marry Conrad Tremaine, son and heir of one of the wealthiest men in America and the owner of Tremaine's Dry Goods store, a five-story building in New York City which encompasses an entire city block. A strong-minded Charlotte decides she wants to marry 'for love,' not wealth and society. The Tremaines, however, presumptuously send two, first-class tickets for the steamship Etruria. Dora Connors has been Charlotte's personal maid for more than seven years. When Charlotte's mother is taken ill, Dora is assigned to accompany Charlotte to NYC as her friend. The steamship ride alone is a great story, but it's only the half of it. True to her self-centered nature, Charlotte convinces Dora to take her place as the bride-to-be of Conrad, while Charlotte (Lottie) seeks to make life happen her own way once they arrive in America. Dora becomes Charlotte Gleason, and Charlotte becomes Lottie Hathaway. Circumstances change in a hurry, leaving Lottie alone and abandoned. Her 'half-prayers' remind her of God's promise 'to watch over her.' Dora (now Charlotte Gleason), on the other hand, is drenched in the luxury of society's elite at the Tremaine's, albeit living in angst of being 'discovered' and thus humiliated. Masquerade was a very insightful read. It takes you on a disturbing distinction that distinguishing the elegantly rich socialites and the poor, 'the haves' and the 'have-nots' through the role-reversals of the young ladies, that were initially meant to find Charlotte her ideal plans for her life in America. Reminiscent of The Prince and the Pauper, with a little Gone With The Wind verbiage, Masquerade has deeper spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical consequences when both young women choose to deliberately deceive. Sir Walter Scott's "Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive'. becomes a truism to be dealt with. The depiction of the poor in America in 1886 appears to be as horrific as today's homelessness. The poor that Jesus is ever so aware of and wants us to care for, both physically and spiritually. With roles reversed, will the young ladies "find" themselves? Make it on their own? Or will they metamorph into the young ladies God intended them to be? To add to the pleasure of the book, the author delineates the actual historical data that she based her novel on, along with pictures of some gowns worn during that time frame. This book was provided free by Jim at Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
This may be my new favorite Nancy Moser historical book. I still love John 3:16 the most but for historicals this book is fantastic. It is like an updated version of the prince and the pauper but it is beautifully crafted and a pure pleasure to read. I actually thought that it might bore me a little since it was similar in tale to an old story, but I was sorely mistaken. It is brilliantly written with incredible characters and I read the entire book in about a day... I just couldn't put it down. Nancy is a master of historical fiction and has proven that time and again. Masquerade just confirms it all over again - absolutely wonderful.
Creative_Critique More than 1 year ago
This was my first historical (somewhat romance) book I read. I mostly pick up contemporary literature. I think this was a great book as an introduction to a new genre. As from reading the other posts, one can see what the plot is and how the characters are. I can honestly say I enjoyed the budding and complex relationship I had with Lottie. You like her, and then you don't - you pity her, and then you won't. As in agreement with some of the other posts, I think that Nancy Moser could have drawn you into the male figures a little bit more - though I thought she did a good job with Lottie's father. I would recommend this book as a first read to see if one is interested in this genre. Because of Nancy Moser, and her writing style - I decided to pick up a few more historical romances!
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book for 3 reasons: 1) I was intrigued by the title. Masquerade. Which means "a disguise" or "to assemble in masks". This is a perfect word to describe the action between the two young ladies in the book. 2) The cover art drew me in. I enjoy reading about the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age, which is what the beautiful dress spoke to me as. 3) A plot where a maid blissfully switches into the mistress, and the heiress mistress becomes commonplace? Certainly! Now that I've read it, my original excitement has waned. Sure, it is a great story, but hasn't turned into a favorite of mine. The author did write this book with a Christian theme... YES! I'm very thankful for that. Without the knowledge of Charlotte turning to God for help in her troubles, I don't think I could have enjoyed the book as much. The train of thought that carried through to the end of the book was quite believable. The emotions that both Charlotte (mistress) and Dora (maid) maintained throughout each of their stories was right on track as they each adjusted to their new settings. Other things I immensely appreciated about the story include the trip across the ocean from England to America. I have such a fascination for ships, and the accurate descriptions met my approval. I also loved reading the descriptions of the dresses and finery. It's the Victorian Era, and everything is decked out to its utmost for the rich society people. Yet, at the same time, I feel that when introduced to the slum areas of New York, the author was able to capture an authentic feeling of destitution and homelessness. May I also say, introducing Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt into the plot. Bravo! Well done! Two important ladies in American history. I was pleasantly surprised by their appearances. To go along with this statement, there is so much history packed into this book, I am amazed at the volume of research it must have taken to piece the details together correctly. There are definitely some plot twists. I think I'm still unsettled as to whether I can fully embrace these twists or not. A couple incidences seemed just a bit too "coincidental". In all the thousands of apartments that the doctor could have entered, he "just happened" to arrive at the exact one that would progress the story forward---which, by no logic should he have been led there---and there was another similar occurrence later on. Perhaps this isn't a defect in the writing, but I still am unsure how it happened so randomly to work out like that. Notes: My least favorite parts of the story included the rumors of Charlotte's father being involved with another woman. In fact, part of this folly is one of the reasons why the rest of the plot came to be. Also, Charlotte is quite a flirtatious young woman herself. It is explained in the book that with this being the way she had been trained to act socially, it is the only way she knows of how to speak with male figures to get her way. Not my favorite things to read of in a book, but, it worked out in the end. Overall, I did so enjoy reading "Masquerade". It really is the historical details and accuracies that saved it for me.
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songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
The premise of this story was good and had great potential.I found myself losing interest though when some less than intelligent decisions were made. I liked it up until close to the end. It did keep me reading. It just did not seem to fall into place for me. I did not like the ending very well either.
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JDyan More than 1 year ago
Masquerade: definitely not in love with the title! It brings to mind a cheesy Halloween party where the host seems to be trying to hard. I absolutely hated the character, Lottie Hathaway, she was so ignorant and naive. Many times during the book I wished I had been there to slap her! However, Lottie is what kept me interested so I say hats off to Nancy! I very much enjoyed reading Masquerade, especially Dora Conners' situation. Many times I felt so embarrassed for her! I would absolutely recommend this book to my avid reader friends and I am glad to have it on my bookshelf. I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
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SailinRae More than 1 year ago
I read this book, and loved it! the only thing I didn't like, was how long it took for the 4 people to get together... I think they didn't get together till like the 2 to last chapter of the book! But other than that it was a great read! And I would Recommend it to anyone!
Widsith_the_Blogger More than 1 year ago
This was the first book of Nancy Moser's I read, and it's definitely made me a fan. I feel a little sheepish admitting this, but the cover threw me off at first. In fact I almost passed on the chance to review it, because I expected a simplistic romance without much historical detail or character growth. But I picked it up anyway and I'm so glad I did! (Yes, I should've remembered that trustworthy saying about not judging books by their covers!) What struck me at first was Lottie's fascination with Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, and Wuthering Heights, and her opinion about Charles Dickens. It felt surreal to see what a girl from 150 years ago might have said about the same classic books and authors that I've read and enjoyed. This raised my hopes that the rest of Masquerade would have more of 19th century culture and social issues woven into it, which it did. I truly love historical fiction that pulls back romanticized visions of history and sets its characters right into the heart of the gritty, multi-layered, paradoxical reality of their time period, which Nancy's book does so well. It helps me, as a Christian reader, reflect on my own complicated times where the 'right' answers and decisions are rarely as straightforward as I wish they were. I found myself emotionally connected to Lottie and Dora, whether I was cheering for them or upset with them for making particularly immature choices, as inexperienced and idealistic young people often do. The struggles Nancy brought Lottie and Dora through, in a way, are also not very different from the struggles young women face in our time. This is another huge strength I appreciate about Masquerade. The characters were three-dimensional from the start because their challenges didn't only force them to survive in the world, but also to survive inner conflict. Painstakingly they struggled with God, with social norms and pressures, with their dreams, their consciences, their baggage, and their calling. I could relate! And through it all they changed and were sharpened and became more nuanced, wiser, more grounded, and deeply beautiful grown-up young women. I was especially impressed that Nancy chose to focus on two young people who were born into a familiarity with religion yet lacking a dynamic personal relationship with God, as so many Christian young people are today. Lottie accompanied her parents to church all her life, yet she was still in a spiritual wilderness of sorts. Her personal encounter with God probably mirrors that of many churched kids today. It's a gradual, almost snail-paced, but also very intentional splicing of our identity from our parents', realizing we've been riding their spiritual coattails, so to speak, and have to decide if we want to plant our own two feet on our own journey of faith. It's a different kind of spiritual story to find in Christian fiction, and it's definitely one that needs to be told because of how many of us can relate. In a way I wish the end of the book hadn't been wrapped up as quickly as it was, because I wanted to know what both women, and all the men in their lives, were thinking and feeling when the last events unfolded and final decisions were made. But overall the story kept me glued to the book, and I loved it. As I wrote above, I'm a fan and I'll be keeping an eye out for Nancy Moser's work from now on!
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
This book kept me up at night. I look at the clock and said to myself; 'right, one more chapter then bedtime'. I really liked the way this book was written. The history was interesting, and rich in detail. I especially enjoyed how the dresses were described, and at the end of the book there's a small appendix with pictures to help with the visuals. The author's note was extremely informative and helpful, and you get an explanation on how Moser got her ideas to make this book happen. The plot was really interesting and attention grabbing, and although this book would be considered inspirational fiction (with a bit of Christian element in it) there is mention of God, and some parts do end up being a little preachy but it's not enough to be a bother. It may get a little annoying and unnecessary at some points, but you'd have to consider, back then there was a heavy dependence on God and the Church. I'd like to think of it that way, and it does add for more historical accuracy to the plot. The characters in the novel were excellent and Charlotte (in the book she's mentioned as Lottie) was your typical high society girl. I did not really like her from the start. She's seen as shallow, oblivious to anything except what she plans to do next at a social event, and throughout the book she's really a jealous spoiled brat. She actually got me riled up towards the end, it got me thinking that she'll really never learn her lesson. However, she does develop and mature (eventually). She becomes a much better person but whether she remains likable or not is up to the reader. I preferred reading about Dora though. The particular plot arc was much more interesting and Dora was much more likable as a character. Regarding Beatrice (Conrad's sister), wow. I really hated her. After what Dora did Beatrice does a nice wonderful 'thank you' in return. I felt like giving her the slap for that moment. She was really a hateful witch. Mrs Tremaine, on the other hand, I disliked at first but she became a surprise at the end, and I ended up forgiving her for being so cold. An engaging plot, a wonderful cast of characters and rich historical detail makes this book worth reading. If you're willing to put aside the religious content and read it for the sake of its' historical content pick this book up. It really is worth the read. I enjoyed this book and am glad I gave it the chance it deserves.
AAR More than 1 year ago
MASQUERADE BY NANCY MOSER is a delightful Inspirational Historical Fiction set in 1886 England and New York City. It is well written with details, depth, fast paced and a page turner. It has romance, adventure, switching identities, fashion, faith, taking a chance, moving forward in your faith, rich,poor, good,bad, finding who you are and what you are supposed to be.The characters are strong, determined,troublemakers and will capture your heart. Lottie and Dora trade places, Lottie was being sent to New York to marry a wealthy merchant's son due to the scandal her father has caused. She didn't want to marry a man she has never met, so decides to get her maid to trade places with her. Dora, the maid trades places with Lottie, but she finds herself in love with another. Dora, is well received at the Tremaine's. Lottie, however, finds herself lacking funds, due to a thief. Conrad, Lottie's supposed fiance, is kind, does what his parents bidding, and truly enjoys Dora's company. Dr. Greenfield, meets Dora on the ship to America, finds he truly loves her. Fitz, the photographer who helps Lottie, finds he truly loves Lottie. This is a story on faith, finding ones purpose, truly finding love and following ones purpose in life. I would recommend this book. This book was received for review from Library Thing and the publisher and details can be found at Bethany House and My Book Addiction and More.