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by Virginia Henley

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Thirteen years ago, Alex Greysteel Montgomery, an Earl and double agent-now working to restore King Charles II to the throne-was betrothed to the impetuous Velvet Cavendish. Their parents saw the engagement as a business opportunity-and although Greysteel has always had an affinity for Velvet, she has not returned his affections.

Once reunited with Greysteel, Velvet


Thirteen years ago, Alex Greysteel Montgomery, an Earl and double agent-now working to restore King Charles II to the throne-was betrothed to the impetuous Velvet Cavendish. Their parents saw the engagement as a business opportunity-and although Greysteel has always had an affinity for Velvet, she has not returned his affections.

Once reunited with Greysteel, Velvet is determined to break their bond-for she has her sights set on none other than King Charles II himself. But Greysteel is equally determined to wed the fiery beauty who has stirred him like no other. Now he'll do anything to conquer-and rule-her heart.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Virginia Henley pits steel against velvet in this passionate historical set in the tumultuous years of Cromwell's Protectorate and the eventual return of Charles Stuart. In this case, steel is Robert Greysteel Montgomery, and velvet is Elizabeth Cavendish, a spirited redhead who named herself Velvet at a young age. Though the two were engaged when Velvet was seven, history pulled them in different directions. Greysteel joined the army, was imprisoned, and turned double agent to restore Charles II to the throne, while Velvet's family lost its fortune. Though attracted to Greysteel when they meet years later, Velvet is not convinced he is willing to wed without a dowry. The determined Greysteel masters the art of seduction as he entices her into a courtship, then a promising marriage quickly disrupted by court intrigues and mutual misunderstandings. Henley readers will delight in this tale of passionate antagonists and appreciate its rich historical detail, as they have her bestselling Insatiable and other novels. Ginger Curwen

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Penguin Publishing Group
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325 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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"Virginia Henley writes the kind of book you simply can't stop reading." —Bertrice Small

Meet the Author

Virginia Henley is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. A grandmother of three, she lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband.

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Unmasked 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
UNMASKED ¿ Virginia Henley Signet ISBN: 0-451-21627-X September 2005 Historical Romance Saint-Germain, France Scotland London, England ¿ 1644 and 1657 The domineering Oliver Cromwell rules England and no one is happy, especially those of the royal Stuart court. Forced to bend to his will and adopt the less-than-luxurious lifestyle the Protectorate enforces ¿ attending church three times a week, wearing dull garments, and having absolutely no fun whatsoever ¿ London citizens are more than ready for their rightful monarch to be returned to his throne. Change is in the air, and Charles II lies in wait, forced into exile after the murder of his father, Charles I. No one knows the hardship of exile in France better than Elizabeth ¿Velvet¿ Cavendish. Raised by doting parents, Velvet now wears ratty clothes that barely fit, and is able to eat only enough to stay alive, yet she lives in anticipation of her beloved monarch returning to the throne of England. Childhood friends, Velvet fondly recalls many good memories of the handsome Charles. She fell in love with the then prince and prayed that he would marry her and even as she nurses her ailing mother, Velvet holds on to that one great wish ¿ to marry the man of her dreams, Charles. Instead, she is betrothed to Robert Greysteel Montgomery, yet another friend to the Stuart prince. With a stroke of luck, Velvet is able to return to her beloved England under the tutelage of a distant relation, Christian Cavendish, the Dowager Countess of Devonshire. Now Velvet may take up her rightful life as the daughter of an earl, and live accordingly. Velvet is quite beautiful and is sure to ensnare some rich gent into marriage, but one man stands in her way ¿ Greysteel Montgomery, who has returned to England as well. Now a double agent, his greatest goal is to see Charles II back on the throne. Greysteel cannot believe his eyes when he sees Velvet again. He remembers the little hellion quite well, and is startled to see the girl has transformed into a stunningly sensuous woman. By God, he¿ll have her or die trying¿ Oh what a tangled web we weave¿ Greysteel wants Velvet and will stop at nothing to make her his. Velvet cannot deny her passion for Greysteel, and that¿s when she becomes confused. Her head tells her she wants Charles, but her body cries out for Greysteel. Virginia Henley¿s love for history shines in UNMASKED. Velvet is more than a match for Greysteel, and Greysteel is just the man to tame Velvet and show her that her passionate nature can be better used than in battles of will. Her time back on British soil is well spent, and Velvet becomes quite adept in attracting and seducing a man, particularly Greysteel. Although an innocent, Velvet is a quick learner and it¿s not long before she¿s matching his barbs word for word and enchanting him even more. Greysteel can see the softer side of Velvet and knows that her precociousness hides a gentler nature that many don¿t see. Greysteel will never forget that he wasn¿t Velvet¿s first choice, but can he make her his own before it¿s too late? Fans will be interested to know that Velvet Cavendish is a descendent of the heroine of Ms. Henley¿s A WOMAN OF PASSION, Bess Hardwick UNMASKED, however, stands alone very well. The Restoration period is brought to life by the talented pen of Virginia Henley. Many true-to-life historical characters make appearances, from Charles II himself, to Barbara Villiers, the woman who was arguably Charles¿s favorite mistress. Set against the backdrop of Charles appointment to the throne, Velvet and Greysteel¿s romance remains the main focus in UNMASKED. If not treated by a deft hand, they might have gotten lost in the muddle of historical facts and events that were added for a more vivid texture to this very colorful history. Some may call Virginia Henley¿s writing historical fiction, but the proof that this woman still loves the romance fiction genre is
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1657 Captain Robert ¿Graysteel¿ Montgomery fights to put Charles on the throne, but General Monck and his troops trap Graysteel and his soldiers the captain surrenders to keep his men alive. Monck offers to send Graysteel¿s men home in exchange for Graysteel providing him insight as to how the people feel about Cromwell. Able to remain loyal to Charles, Graysteel agrees. Meanwhile his betrothed, Elizabeth ¿Velvet¿ Cavendish, is on the continent with her parents when her mother dies. Her dad remarries a woman her age so Velvet returns to England to live with the Dowager Countess Christian of Devonshire. --- Graysteel learns the people detest the iron rule and that Cromwell is dying. Graysteel and Velvet meet for the first time in thirteen years only to argue. Graysteel courts Velvet and they make love. Velvet finds a Roundhead uniform in his closet so she accuses him of being a traitor. He is angry that she does not trust him. Charles tells her the truth, she apologizes and they marry. Velvet loves Graysteel but has trouble trusting any man. Graysteel loves Velvet but believes if she loved him she would trust him. It will take a miracle for these lovebirds to trust one another. --- The key to this fine Restoration tale is the insightful look at the era and personage that is cleverly woven inside a fine romance starring two courageous supporters of Charles who love each other but also distrust one another. That trust issue is overly done as much of their conflict appears unnecessary if either took the time to talk with the other. Still no one is better than Virginia Henley at incorporating the period¿s details to enhance a fabulous seventeenth century romance. --- Harriet Klausner