Author: Ruth Axtell
Date of Publication: March 1, 2013
Formats Available: Paperback, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need--or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess's butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London's West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham's spell. Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, will he do the right thing?
With the idea of forbidden romance, intrigue, and British/French conflict this novel seemed to have the perfect recipe. However, the farther I got into this novel the more and more apparent it seemed that this novel was not going to live up to its potential. It did have its moments, but those were few and far between and didn't make up for all the things that made this novel frustrating.
Celine and Rees were okay to read about, Rees and his spying activities were a little more interesting to read about than Celine but I wasn't particularly impressed with either of them. One of my biggest draws to this novel was because the two main characters were spies, which was why I was really disappointed when there wasn't really any spying. Moonlight Masquerade focused mainly on the day to day activities of Celine as she looked for something to spy on but didn't actually do it. Likewise there was a lot of thinking about romance but very little romance actually happening.
I am not a fan of Christian fiction, not because I dislike the religion but because I can't stand novels that are preachy or authors who try to spread their own personal message through a novel. Unfortunately I didn't notice this novel was a Christian fiction until I was too far in to quit. It started off with a line here or there, which I could deal with, but toward the end the novel took on a preachy and overly righteous feel. I understand that a lot of people may really enjoy this aspect, but it just wasn't for me.
Easily my biggest complaint about the novel was simply that I was bored, not exactly mind numbingly bored, but bored enough to have a hard time concentrating on the novel. Even though the idea was interesting it just didn't work out, the characters never actually did anything (which really frustrated me) and there were quite a few moments that the novel took over an overly preachy feel. Moonlight Masquerade had so much potential but in the end it all fell through.
At the end of the day I can understand how fans of Christian fiction may enjoy this novel but it just wasn't for me. The characters spent way too much time thinking about each other as well as their spying activities instead of just going out and doing them. For fans of historical fiction I would recommend skipping this one in favor of something with a little more action.