In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.
When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.
Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.
Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.
What I Say About the Book
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey is set in 1815 during the war between England and France in the time known as the British Regency. As a genre, Regency Romance novels such as this one often focus on how the politics impacts the characters, highlighting how romantic feelings might develop during an otherwise tense time. Abigail Wilson’s main characters are a middle aged widower who is working as a spy and the young mother of his illegitimate nephew who is intent on keeping her son’s paternity secret.
An undercover agent working for the crown, Lord Adrian Torrington is investigating a smuggling when he inadvertently runs into a carriage on the highway but when he tries to help the passengers, his cover is almost blown and he claims the young mother inside as his wife in order to preserve his coverup. Twenty-seven-year-old Elizabeth Cantrell had been on her way to take up a housekeeping job that might provide a roof over her and son’s head but she is at a loss at how to repair her reputation after her son’s father disputes paternity, a situation one does not easily recover from in this society, so she doesn’t need much convincing to accept his offer – a quick marriage to seal their charade and life as his companion at Middlecrest Abbey where she will help him with his daughters but also ensure a better life for her eighteen month old son. However, things at home are not quite that simple – there are the teenage daughters and household staff who are suspicious of the whirlwind romance and guests who have gathered for the daughter’s impending wedding who know a little too much about Elizabeth’s past. And as things take a tragic turn, a wedding feast becomes a funeral procession and even long buried secrets are revealed, threatening the foundation of both hastily-constructed and longstanding arrangements.
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey is immediately enthralling and author Abigail Wilson has created characters that are multidimensional and interesting as they populate a plot that combines some of the best nuances of Du Maurier’s Rebecca and Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities. I enjoyed the twists and turns that the storyline followed and the details that authenticated the historical tale. This is definitely a treat for lovers of romance, mystery and political intrigue.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey from Thomas Nelson Publishers and TLC Book Tours in order to complete this review. I was not otherwise compensated and the above reflects my own honest opinions.