Such a deal! In Regency Masquerades, six talented Regency veterans have released a box set containing six full length Regency novels, including the RITA winning Gwen's Ghost by Alicia Rasley and Lynn Kerstan. (This might be the only RITA won by a writing team and the book is great, with Alicia and Lynn writing different characters so the story is integrated seamlessly.) AND they're offering the set for a special introductory price of 99 cents to reward their long term readers!
So here, forthwith, are Alicia Rasley, Allison Lane, Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Elena Green, and Gail Eastwood:
Alicia: What's In a Mask?
Romance readers love masquerades. A masquerade implies intrigue, elegance, illusion, and even naughtiness. A masquerade can be used to create alter egos and secret lives. But the real fun comes when the mask slips, revealing all that the players have been hiding. That's when love steps up to accept, forgive, and forge new identities and alliances.
In this boxed set, we have assembled six novels, each with some variation of the ever-variable theme of masquerade. Whether it's disguise or deception, the characters have reason to mask themselves in some way. As you read, see if you can tell how each character unwittingly chooses a "mask" that reveals the true self… and somehow aids in true love.
Daring Deception, Brenda Hiatt
When her brother promises her in marriage to pay a gaming debt, Miss Frederica Chesterton dons a disguise to prove that Lord Seabrooke is a fortune hunter. But even as she gathers evidence, she finds herself losing her heart to the handsome Earl. While Frederica wears a literal disguise to learn Lord Seabrooke’s secrets, he wears a figurative disguise of his own, hiding his true nature from the world to protect his late sister’s good name. Their mutual deceptions turn out to be the very things that allow a deeper understanding between them, leading to true love.
Gwen's Ghost, Alicia Rasley and Lynn Kerstan
Valerian Caine has to stay in human disguise to fix the family feud created by his violent death. Little does he know that his masquerade will unmask the disguises of others. This theme of "masquerade" allowed us to explore the common issue that in life, many of us are forced into roles that aren't really us. What we conceal is what we reveal, and so the masquerade paradoxically helps power this transformation back into the true self.
The Lady from Spain, Gail Eastwood
Posing as a Spanish widow, “Falcon” Colburne returns to England after Napoleon’s war, set on a dangerous quest for justice. The handsome lord who must unmask her has secrets of his own. Falcon’s masquerade offers more than safety and freedom to pursue her mission. She has suffered heart-breaking trauma and believes the very essence of who she was has been destroyed. Being someone else shields her from facing the pain and loss and having to figure out who she has become. Can true love help her see through her own disguise?
Lucy in Disguise, Lynn Kerstan:
A charming aristocrat is rescued by a young woman disguised as a Lancashire Witch. Love comes swiftly, but she’ll only agree to wed if they protect her friend, a fearful heiress, from a greedy and dangerous family. This symbolic disguise mirrors other means of reflection, like light and dark, to create subtext in the romance. The mask makes subtle patterns that create an almost invisible framework of support for the dramatic story events.
The Earl’s Revenge, Allison Lane is a tale of two people whose public faces are masks that hide their true selves. Elaine's secret life as a male is the only way to sidestep the prejudices of her time, for she cannot support herself as a female. Bridgeport has long used alter egos to hide his true self, first from his domineering, abusive mother, and later from society. Since he fears feeling vulnerable, even his best friends don't know his secrets. So revealing the truth to Elaine marks a huge turning point on his emotional journey to love.
The Redwyck Charm by Elena Greene: An heiress yearning for adventure, Juliana Hutton masquerades as an opera dancer to escape an arranged marriage. When Marcus Redwyck, the new Earl of Amberley, goes with friends to see the new opera dancer who’s all the rage, a kiss leads to passion and the edge of scandal. When their mutual deceptions are revealed, can Marcus reconcile the roles of responsible landowner and charming lover? Can Juliana give up her façade of rebellion and learn that true love is the greatest adventure of all?
MJP: Here are a couple of samples of traditional Regency wordplay. First, from Gail Eastwood's The Lady From Spain:
"You wanted a word with me, sir?"
So much more than a word! But today he was sober –he must not say that. "Yes, I have news. I thought the pleasantest place to discuss it would be driving through the park."
"I see no advantage in discussing it elsewhere than here."
"Oh, but there is! Two distinct advantages—fresh air, and privacy."
He thought that perhaps, after yesterday, she would not feel privacy was to her advantage at all. He was happily surprised when after a moment's hesitation she relented.
"I will just need a few minutes to get ready."
He was surprised again when she came down ten minutes later. She had donned the black pelisse he had firs
t seen on her in Wickenham, and was draped again in black lace that concealed her hair and part of her features.
"Ah, once again the mysterious señora," he could not resist saying, which caused her to look at him sharply. As they went out to the street he added so that only she could hear, "You do yourself an injustice not to let the world see your beauty. They would fall at your feet."
"That is precisely what Napoleon thought when he invaded Spain, Lord Danebridge. It is my experience that the world does that for no one."
How prickly she was today! He could guess the reason—he should never have attempted to kiss her yesterday. And yet, and yet. It had not seemed as though she found him repulsive when she was in his arms. More the opposite, he would have said.
"Napoleon vastly overrated his own charms. You do not. I rather suspect you underrate yours."
And here's a tidbit from the RITA winning Gwen's Ghost by Alicia Rasley and Lynn Kerstan:
The Ghost awakes… in human form:
Jocelyn Vayle? Was that supposed to be his name? And who had arrived to meet this Jocelyn Vayle? Valerian decided it was time to regain consciousness. Emitting a low moan, he shifted on the bed and opened his eyes.
A pair of rather lovely hazel eyes, flecked with gold, stared down at him from a few inches away. Skeptical eyes, in a feminine face. Miss Sevaric, he recalled. Gwen.
"Ah. I rather thought he was awake," Gwen said crisply. "His mouth was twitching."
It was not, he wanted to say, offended. Forcing a disoriented expression, he groaned deeply. There was nothing like a play for sympathy to win over the ladies.
Gwen, still bent over him for a close inspection, didn't seem impressed. "He looks fine to me," she declared, leaning back.
Alicia: To see how each type of masquerade plays out, buy Regency Masquerades, a digital boxed set containing these six full-length novels by award-winning authors. For a short time, this set is just 99 cents! Buy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books.
A closing note from Mary Jo:
Traditional Regency writers were always a close knit group, and I know all of these authors and have read and enjoyed their books for years. They all have other books available as well. Have you read any of their stories? Or are there other traditional Regency writers you'd like to mention?
Several of the Word Wenches, me included, got our start as writers of traditional Regencies, and I'm delighted that these great books are available again. Happy reading, my ladies!