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The Masqueraders

The Masqueraders

4.4 38
by Georgette Heyer

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In an age of slippery politics, Robin and Prudence Tremaine find themselves on the wrong side of the Jacobite rebellion.


In an age of slippery politics, Robin and Prudence Tremaine find themselves on the wrong side of the Jacobite rebellion.

Editorial Reviews

Bloody Bad Books
I love the characters of this novel over anything else.
— Katrina Hall
Books I Done Read
Heyer! You are a fount of easy, fabulous reads!
— Raych
Jane Austen's World
A delightful romp from beginning to end.
Christy's Book Blog
Sword fighting, cross dressing, secret identities, abductions, people being thrown out of carriages - this book had it all. Good, good fun!
— Christy Babinksi
Books Like Breathing
Heyer is a comedy master... Funny yet plausible at the same time.
— Grace Loiacono
Starting Fresh
A fun escape.
— Gaby Lupus
Revenge of the Book Nerds
Witty, sparkling, laugh-out-loud funny and romantic.
— Jaime Huff
Laura's Reviews
A fun tale of adventurers that is filled with romance, disguises, swash buckling duels, and highwaymen.
— Laura Gerold
Austenesque Reviews
Georgette Heyer is quite the proficient when it comes to historical fiction and romantic romps.
— Meredith Esparza
Martha's Bookshelf
The plot twists are great fun and the story is full of action.
— Martha Eskuchen
From the Publisher
"I love the characters of this novel over anything else. " - Bloody Bad Books

"Heyer! You are a fount of easy, fabulous reads! " - Books I Done Read

"A delightful romp from beginning to end." - Jane Austen's World

"Sword fighting, cross dressing, secret identities, abductions, people being thrown out of carriages - this book had it all. Good, good fun!" - Christy's Book Blog

"Heyer is a comedy master... Funny yet plausible at the same time. " - Books Like Breathing

"A fun escape." - Starting Fresh

"Witty, sparkling, laugh-out-loud funny and romantic. " - Revenge of the Book Nerds

"A fun tale of adventurers that is filled with romance, disguises, swash buckling duels, and highwaymen." - Laura's Reviews

"Georgette Heyer is quite the proficient when it comes to historical fiction and romantic romps." - Austenesque Reviews

"The plot twists are great fun and the story is full of action." - Martha's Bookshelf

"Romance, mystery, comedy, duels and even a murder... this was great fun." - Library Queue

"A delightful romp from beginning to end. " - Jane Austen's World

"Georgette is truly an artist with words." - Readaholic

"A fun book with interesting characters and lots of adventure... Georgette Heyer has yet to disappoint." - Good Clean Reads

"Readers who similarly live for (vicarious) swash and buckle will get much satisfaction - duels, bloodshed, highwaymen halting coaches, balls, aristocratic slights requiring redress, and enigmatic masked rescuers." - Apprentice-Writer

"[A] deliciously implausible story... The characters are great fun." - A Hoyden's Look at Literature

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Excerpt from Chapter One: A Lady in Distress

It had begun to rain an hour ago, a fine driving mist with the sky grey above. The gentleman riding beside the chaise surveyed the clouds placidly. "Faith, it"s a wonderful climate," he remarked of no one in particular.

The grizzled serving man who rode some paces to the rear spurred up to him. "Best put up for the night, sir," he grunted. "There"s an inn a mile or two on."

The window of the chaise was let down with a clatter, and a lady looked out. "Child, you"ll be wet," she said to her cavalier. "How far to Norman Cross?"

The serving man rode up close to the chaise. "Another hour, ma"am. I"m saying we"d best put up for the night." "I"d as soon make Norman Cross," said the gentleman, "for all it"s plaguily damp."

"There"s an inn close by, as I remember," the servant repeated, addressing himself to the lady.
"En avant, then. Produce me the inn," the lady said. "Give you joy of your England, Peter my little man."

The gentleman laughed. "Oh, it"s a comforting spot, Kate."
The inn came soon into sight, a square white house glimmering through the dusk. There were lights in the windows, and a post-chaise drawn up in the court before it.

The gentleman came lightly down from the saddle. He was of medium height, and carried himself well. He had a neat leg encased in a fine riding boot, and a slender hand in an embroidered gauntlet.

There was straightway a bustle at the inn. An ostler came running; mine host appeared in the porch with a bow and a scrape and a waiting man sped forth to assist in letting down the steps of the chaise.

"Two bedchambers, for myself and my sister," said the gentleman. "Dinner, and a private room."

Consternation was in the landlord"s face. "Bedchambers, sir. Yes - on the instant! Polly, the two best bedchambers, and fires to be lit in them!" A serving maid went scuttling off. "Sir, the private room!" Mine host bowed, and spread a pair of deprecating hands. "But this moment, sir, it was bespoken by a lady and a gentleman travelling north." He looked slyly, and cast down his eyes. "But they stay only for dinner, sir, and if your honour and the lady would condescend to the coffee-room? There"s never a soul likely to come to-night, and "twill be private enough."

There was a rustle of skirts. My lady came down from the chaise with a hand on her servant"s shoulder. "The coffee-room or any other so I get out of this wet!" she cried, and swept into the inn with her cavalier behind her.

They found themselves straight in a comfortable large room. There was a table set, and a wood fire burning in the hearth. A door led out into a passage at the back, where the stairs rose steeply, and another to one side, giving on to the taproom.

A trim girl in a mob cap brought more candles, and dropped a shy curtsey to the lady. "If you please, my lady, should I take your ladyship"s cloak? Your ladyship"s abigail...?"

"Alack, the creature"s not with me!" mourned Madam Kate. "Take the cloak up to my chamber, child. So!" She put back the hood from her head, and untied the strings round her throat. The cloak was given to the maid; Madam stood up in a taffety gown of blue spread over a wide hoop. She wore her fair ringlets en demie toilette, free from powder, with a blue ribbon threaded through, and a couple of curls allowed to fall over her shoulder. The maid thought her a prodigiously lovely lady and bobbed another curtsey before she went away with the cloak.

My lady"s brother gave his three-cornered hat into his servant"s keeping, and struggled out of his greatcoat. He was much of his sister"s height, a little taller perhaps, and like enough to her in appearance. His hair was of a darker brown, confined demurely at the neck by a black riband; and his eyes showed more grey than blue in the candlelight. Young he seemed, for his cheek was innocent of all but the faintest down; but he had a square shoulder, and a good chin, rounded, but purposeful enough. The landlord, following him into the coffee-room, was profuse in apologies and obeisances, for he recognised a member of the Quality. The lady wore a fine silk gown, and Mr Merriot a modish coat of brown velvet, with gold lacing, and a quantity of Mechlin lace at his throat and wrists. A pretty pair, in all, with the easy ways of the Quality, and a humorous look about the eyes that made them much alike. The landlord began to talk of capons and his best burgundy, and was sent off to produce them.

Miss Merriot sat down by the fire, and stretched one foot in its buckled shoe to the blaze. There was a red heel to her shoe, and marvellous embroidered clocks to her silken stockings.
"So!" said Miss Merriot. "How do you, my Peter?"
"I don"t melt in a shower of rain, I believe," Peter said, and sat down on the edge of the table, swinging one booted leg.
"No, faith, child, there"s too much of you for that."
The gentleman"s rich chuckle sounded. "I"m sufficiently substantial, in truth," he remarked. He drew out his gold and enamelled snuff-box from one of his huge coat pockets, and took a pinch with an air, delicately shaking the ruffles of lace back from his wrists. A ruby ring glowed on one of his long fingers, while on the other hand he wore a big gold seal ring. A smile crept up into his eyes, and lurked at the corners of his mouth. "I"d give something to know where the old gentleman is," he said.

"Safe enough, I"ll be bound," Madam answered, and laughed.
"It"s the devil himself, I believe, and will appear in London to snap his fingers under the noses of all King George"s men."
"Fie, Kate: my poor, respected papa!" Mr Merriot was not shocked. He fobbed his snuff-box and put it away. A faint crease showed between his brows. "For all he named London - egad, "tis like his impudence! - it"s odds he"s gone to France."
"I don"t permit myself to hope too much," said Miss Merriot, with a smile at once dreamy and a little impish. "He"ll be there to lead us another of his mad dances. If not...I"ve a mind to try our own fortunes."
"In truth, I"ve a kindness for the old gentleman," said Mr Merriot pensively. "His dances lead somewhere."
"To lost causes." There was a hint of bitterness in the tone.
Mr Merriot looked up. "Ay, you"ve taken it to heart."
"Not I." Kate jerked a shoulder as though to shake something off. "We went into it - egad, why did we go into it?"
"Ask the old gentleman," said Mr Merriot, the slow smile creeping up again. "He had a loyal fervour, belike."
Kate drew down the corners of her mouth. "It"s a pleasing image. He meant it for a beau geste, I dare swear. And we? Well, I suppose we went willy nilly into the net."
"I don"t regret it. The old gentleman meddled in Saxe"s affairs, but we came out of that net."

Meet the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. It is known that she was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and they had one son together, Richard.

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The Masqueraders 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
AustenStudent More than 1 year ago
This is my second Georgette Heyer book—the first one I read was the fabulous and hilarious The Grand Sophy—and The Masqueraders, narrated by the animated voice of Ruth Stillers, is a delightful, funny, and energetic historical intrigue. I agreed to review this romance not knowing anything about its plot at all. And, as a result, I have to admit that I was confused as to who was who at first in this story of disguise and mystery. Following the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745, Prudence and Robin Tremaine, devoted and quick-witted sister and brother, have fled France for England disguised respectively as a young man and young woman: Peter and Kate Merriot. They await further instructions from their father, the brazen and supremely confident “Old Gentleman,” (Prue and Robin’s tongue-in-cheek endearment for him) and live their lives on the edge, fearing discovery at every turn. But both are so elegant, refined, and smart that their adventures and mishaps are engrossing to read and make for a pleasing and captivating story. We’re thrown right into the brash adventures of these witty siblings when they save the very young and high-strung Lady Letitia Grayson from an unwanted elopement with her erstwhile fiancé, the insidious Mr. Markham.* The voice that Ruth Stillers gives Markham is fantastically over-the-top and most appropriate to the villain he is while Letitia’s hapless and helpless maiden is also spot-on and teeters on the farcical, but in a good way. This rescue scene sets the tone for wild madcap fun that infuses the entire story from beginning to end; it’s a joy to listen to. The frequent descriptions of Sir Anthony Fanshawe, a friend of Letitia’s who comes to her rescue, as a “large gentleman,” almost becomes a running joke between Prue and Robin. Fanshawe is a consummate and observant gentleman who quickly figures out that Peter Merriot is actually a woman. The romance between him and Prudence is sweet, considerate, and mature but I had a hard time believing that the intelligent Robin could fall for the empty-headed Letitia. But perhaps he is simply a man of his time falling for a pretty face, and Letitia is the perfectly innocent and kindhearted young lady. Ruth Stillers is a new narrator to me and I truly enjoyed her lovely interpretation. Her light and sweet voice lends the perfect sparkle and verve to this lively historical romp with all its theatricality, at times serious, at other times witty, which often made me smile in amusement. This is why I read historical romance. It’s a great tribute to Stillers as an actress to be able to read so many different characters with distinction and great personality, of both sexes, especially the challenging dual character personas of Robin and Prudence as Kate and Peter Merriot. This audiobook is a real treat for all lovers of Regency historical romance. *I just finished reading about an entirely different and delightful Markham in Juliana Gray’s How to School Your Scoundrel. A modified version of this review first appeared on Romantic Historical Reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've become a big Heyer fan recently, and this one did not disappoint my high expectations. I truly love a heroine who can keep her head in any emergency, and that describes Prue to a T. Sir Anthony is a pleasing hero, too, whose love for the heroine is founded on respect and admiration for her courage and wits. Overall this was a very satisfying read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with all Georgette Heyer books, the plot was clever and the characters lively with a thread of romance throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend this author.
gl More than 1 year ago
Published in 1928 and one of Georgette Heyer's earlier novels, The Masqueraders introduces us to the incomparable brother and sister pair known as Prudence and Robin Merriot. The book opens late one evening, with Prudence and Robin escaping the weather at an inn in the middle of nowhere. They overhear a young girl pleading with an aggressive suitor. It quickly becomes apparent while the young heiress may have willingly chosen to run off with the young man, Letty Grayson has had a change of heart. The suitor is enamored of her beautiful looks and large fortune and does not intend to let her go. Prudence and Robin quickly devise and execute a daring rescue plan. When Miss Grayson's rescuer Sir Tony Fanshawe arrives on the scene shortly thereafter, Prudence and Robin have the situation well in hand. Letty Grayson considers Tony to be the man her father would choose for her and dismisses him as staid and respectable. But the astute Prudence sees something special in Sir Tony Fanshawe. And Letty Grayson finds a mysterious hero in Robin. While Robin and Prudence decide to spend some time in London with their new friends, they are constrained by their past adventures. As their father's mistakes and their escapades threaten to expose them, Prudence and Tony are aware that this time the stakes are painfully high and they are both in danger of losing their hearts. With Prudence dressing as a young boy and Robin dressing as a young girl, the many costume changes, the small deceptions, the abductions, and the threat of exposure, this is a fun escape. Georgette Heyer's The Masqueraders is the sort of lighthearted comedy that I thoroughly enjoy. ISBN-10: 1402219504 Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca; Reprint edition (December 1, 2009), 336 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i wish i could give this book 10 stars! i dont normally like stories where the heros switch dress , but this book is deligthful.please read this book .you will love every last bit of it.
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This is my third favorite Georgette Heyer, after These Old Shades and Devil's Cub. I loved it as much reading it again as I did the first time (you can't say that about many books)!!! The interplay between the characters was as deft and sparkling as a Shakespearian comedy (or at times, good swordplay), and - oh! - the unmasking at the end (in more ways than one!) - absolutely delightful!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
plot here is almost more important than character, except for "the old gentleman", and , boy is he a character! Masquerading as members of the opposite sex, a Zorro- type figure who appears when needed, and 2 romantic couples make this a good read. And who really IS the old gentleman?
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pamno1 More than 1 year ago
Heyer is a fantastic writer,ive enjoyed her books for 50 yrs and am so pleased,that i can now have them on e books,my paperbacks are getting pretty ragged,thank you for digitizing the oldies......
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