Title: Once Upon A Masquerade
Author: Tamara Hughes
Genre: Historical Romance
Published: February 2014
Publisher: Scandalous / Entangled
New York City, 1883
A Prince Charming meets his match…
Self-made shipping magnate Christopher Black first spies Rebecca Bailey at a masquerade ball and is captivated by her refreshing naiveté and sparkling beauty. She’s a stark contrast to the hollow behavior of the ton and the guile of his former fiancée, but the closer he gets to her secrets, the further she pushes him away.
A Cinderella with a secret…
Rebecca is drawn to the charismatic Christopher from the first, but she cannot risk him discovering that she is really a housemaid impersonating an heiress. Her father's life depends on it.
A Happily Ever After that could never be…
When Christopher’s investigation of the murder of his best friend leads him straight to Rebecca, he fears his ingénue may be a femme fatale in disguise. Now he must decide if he can trust the woman he's come to love, or if her secrets will be his downfall.
Life hasn’t been the easiest for Rebecca and her family over the last decade. She lost her beloved Mother and watched her Father fall into depression, gambling and drinking. Leaving her to fend for herself, she’s taken a position with the wealthy family in hopes of helping her Father climb out of debt. Unfortunately, Rebecca isn’t prepared for everything that comes along with her Father’s issues – including someone trying to kill her.
In a desperate act, she dresses as a debutante and attends a masked costume ball in hopes of finding help with her predicament. Her friend and fellow maid Mary convinces her that getting a wealthy protector to pay off the debt is the only way to save her Father.
Mr. Black is intrigued by the young woman he meets at the ball, but something about her seem familiar and he can tell she’s keeping something from him. He decides to find out more about Miss Bailey, but manages to get himself pulled into her problems.
This was an interesting twist on the traditional “Cinderella” story, but with a bit of mystery, intrigue and murder thrown in for good measure. Miss Endicott plays the roll of the ‘evil’ step sisters; bossing and bullying Rebecca. Mary plays the pseudo roll of the ‘fairy godmother’ helping find a dress and means to the ball to meet Prince Charming.
I liked that Rebecca was willing to do whatever she could to help her Father, who has lost his way after the death of his wife. I felt for her, she loved him so much and was going to give herself away to get enough money to pay off the debt. Christopher isn’t the typical Prince Charming type hero, but was there to help Rebecca – despite his misgivings. These two manage to get into piles of trouble, almost get themselves killed and… well you’ll have to read the book to find out more!
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed Tamara’s take on Cinderella and her great characters. I wonder what happened to Miss Endicott though and Mr. Henley – who I found very funny! I was hooked from the beginning until the very last page; devoured the book in a matter of hours. Would I read more by this author? Yes, I look forward to seeing what Tamara comes up with next.