Kathryn A Seidick, $4.99
Historical Romance, 2012 (Reissue)
A Masquerade in the Moonlight was originally published by Pocket in 1994, and I’m not sure whether this DIY edition has been revised or expanded in any way. This one has much of the charming verbosity that marked most of the author’s more early books, but it also has a very aggravating hero whose behavior is best described as “obnoxious scene hog”.
Thomas Joseph Donovan is from America, supposedly sent to London to act as a political liaison to see whether there are any reasons why America and Great Britain should not go to war. Marguerite Balfour is supposedly a confident and beautiful young lady who makes it clear that she prefers the company of much older men – not in a sexed up, of course – and she is well-liked by those men enough that no one seems to mind that she’s getting on with her age without settling down yet. Of course, they both have their secrets. She’s building connections to identify the men whom she holds responsible for the deaths of her parents, and now that she believes she knows who they are, she plots to ruin them. On his part, he’s so busy convincing everyone that he is the most awesome twat that ever twatted out of twatterville. Conveniently enough, they both have a mutual enemy, so will they come to their senses long enough to get together and get down to business?
On one hand, we have Marguerite, who is quite remarkable in how refreshingly different she is from the usual type of heroines that populate stories of this kind. She has a pretty level head, she is capable, and she can wrap men around her fingers with remarkable ease. It’s also nice that she does all this without wringing her hands, protesting that her virtue is intact and she is doing all this for the kids and the ponies, and other nonsense of that sort. Unfortunately, she’s paired with Thomas Joseph Donovan, who not only apparently has to be addressed by his full name as much as possible, that man also has to be the most awesome and beautiful thing in every scene. The fact that she doesn’t choke him or beat him with a baseball bat is, clearly, testament that she is a better person than me.
Oh, Thomas. It’s pretty clear that the author loves him, but I don’t share that love, alas. That fellow is so repulsively smug and condescending, and I scratch my head in bewilderment when the author mocks the villains for looking down on the Americans, when Thomas does the very same thing to the British. Then again, this is one story where the bad guys are portrayed as either moustache-twirling cartoon evil or cartoon idiotic, so maybe I’m supposed to agree with Thomas that the bad British folks deserve to be viewed with contempt. But at the end of the day, Thomas is still doing what the author castigates the villains for doing, and at least the villains are behaving like an unbearably smug asshole who uses thirty words when normally one word would suffice. That guy loves to talk, show off, and look down on people. He’s a boor. I can only imagine that he’s a romance hero only because he has abs and the looks.
More annoyingly. Thomas has to be so amazing and excellent that he can freaking do everything and anything perfectly well. Scenes literally come to a halt so that he can do his awesome crap and then crow non-stop about how awesome he is. Seriously, this guy’s continuous existence in this story makes it an excruciating read. I know he is fictitious because he manages to live this one without someone sitting on a pillow placed over his head.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the story is amazing or not. The romance here is between Thomas Freaking Donovan and his own ego. He is in this story, and thus, this story is just too painful to read. Oh, if only this has been just the story of the heroine doing her thing.