A Masquerade in the Moonlight by Kasey Michaels

Posted by Mrs Giggles on May 25, 2016 in 2 Oogies, Book Reviews, Genre: Historical / 5 Comments

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A Masquerade in the Moonlight by Kasey Michaels
A Masquerade in the Moonlight by Kasey Michaels

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.

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Cantankerous muffin who loves boys that sparkle, unicorns, money, chocolates, and fantastical stories.

5 responses to “A Masquerade in the Moonlight by Kasey Michaels

  1. JMM

    Gary Stu’s ARE annoying, aren’t they? I guess if the heroine dares to be competent, the hero has to be a superhero so she doesn’t get above herself?

  2. Kasey Michaels is usually better than that, though. In Indiscreet, for example, she happily allows the heroine to run rings around everyone, and it’s fabulous. I’d like to think that she miscalculated in this instance about the hero’s “charms”.

    But I do agree with you that when Gary Stus (and Mary Sues) are annoying, they are annoying.

    I’ve come to the opinion that a character being a Mary or Gary S by themselves isn’t so bad – Captain America is one, at least until the movies had him go WOOOO VIGILANTE and the latest comic drama sees him being a supporter of the Nazi-affiliated Hydra. It’s how the plot uses these characters that can get annoying. In a dark and grim setting, for example, these characters make excellent foils and/or complements to the angst-laden main characters. But if the entire plot relies on the characters being awesome in the most showboating “Look at me!” manner – like this book – and make the villains so ridiculously weak and stupid – like this book – that’s when the pain begins.

  3. JMM

    I did like Indiscreet. Didn’t LOVE it, but enjoyed it a lot. I liked that she was an unabashed manipulator who understood how to play people.

    I was so annoyed with Steve for his “Bucky! I must save Bucky!” even when he SAW what Bucky did to a man he supposedly admired above anyone else. (Poor Tony, WATCHING his parents be murdered and having that selfish idiot defend their killer).

  4. Oh, don’t worry. This is Marvel, and this latest development is so obviously a stunt to get people to check out the series. The comic industry has mostly been reduced to gimmicks for a while now as its sales flag.

    This is just my speculation: eventually they will just say the evil Captain America is a clone, or they will just erase everything and reboot. These are very commonly used plot devices in Marvel – just look at the X-Men and Spiderman comics.