REVIEW: Masque (A Two Monarchies Novel) by W.R. Gingell @WRGingell


Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder?

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated.

In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse.

In the ball-room is young Lord Topher, who is rapidly falling in love with an older woman.

And in the card-room, lying in a pool of his own blood, is the body of one of Isabella’s oldest friends: Raoul, Civet’s Head Guardsman. The papers sewn into his sash seem to suggest espionage gone wrong, but Isabella is not so certain.

Lord Pecus, as Commander of the Watch, is of the opinion that Isabella should keep out of the investigation and out of danger. Isabella is of the opinion that it is her murder to investigate, and that what a certain Beast-Lord doesn’t know won’t hurt him. . . .

Will Isabella find the murderer before Lord Pecus does, or will she end her investigation as a bloody spatter on the parlour floor?

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

My rating: 5/5

If Agatha Christie and Jane Austen had a brain baby that was raised by fairies, it would be this book. Gingell manages to take the old fairytale we know and love while tossing in societal scandal, politics, magic, and a healthy dose of snarky humor. I laughed one moment, was on the edge of my seat the next, and was making serious *heart eyes* at my Kindle paragraphs later.

The plot:

This story mixes the intrigue of a murder-mystery thriller and the high society setting of a historical romance with the magic and sorcery of a fantasy novel. I absolutely loved it. This was a bit longer work than the novellas that initially got me to read Gingell’s work, but it moves at a steady clip and I was never sure quite what to expect.

The characters:

It’s nice to finally have a heroine in a “girly” society that likes the “girly” things while still taking names and running the show. Isabella is feminine with the graces of the most proficient socialite, but hardcore and kind-hearted. I low-key want to be her. I also loved that she didn’t take it easy on Pecus…AT ALL. Their banter and constantly trying to outmaneuver each other made this story all the better.

Lord Pecus is Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, and Aragorn rolled into one. If WHEN you read it, you’ll see what I mean. ALL THE HEART EYES TO THIS MAN, OKAY?

Also, we have a story with a heroine who has actual friends! Female friends and more than one. They talk girl talk and political talk and actually matter to the storyline! It’s revolutionary, people!

I honestly have no idea what order these books are supposed to be read, but this one makes sense on its own. I’m preordering the upcoming one and have downloaded the others. I love how this author writes and 100% recommend pretty much anything she’s written.

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A while back, W.R. Gingell guest posted on fairytale retellings! Be sure to check that out. 

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