- Title: Muskets & Masquerades
- Author: Lindsey Fera
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Expected publication date: April 18, 2023
- Would I recommend: If you enjoy well-researched historical fiction with romance, tension, and family drama, you’ll want to read this!
Jack and Annalisa are married only five months when, enroute to France, a shipwreck separates them. On different shores, each believes the other dead. But when Annalisa learns Jack is alive, she returns to America and discovers much has changed. After a betrayal, she flees town as her alter ego, Benjamin Cavendish, and joins the Continental Army,
Unbeknownst to Annalisa, Jack has also joined the Continentals, harboring shameful secrets from his days in mourning. Against the backdrop of war with Britain, façades mount between Jack and Annalisa, and the merry minuet of their adolescence dissolves into a masquerade of deceit, one which threatens to part them forever.
Muskets & Masquerades is the second book of a planned trilogy. I haven’t yet read the first, but after reading this one, I’ll go back and catch up!
As the story opens, Jack, newly married to Annalisa, is summoned to France by the Committee of Secret Correspondence. He tries to persuade Annalisa to stay home, but she’ll have none of that. They both set sail for France, but they’re separated when the ship capsizes.
Annalisa awakes with no memory of the events that brought her to the luxurious residence where she finds herself. She is nursed back to health and starts to build a life there, with no idea whether her memories will ever return. Jack is captured by the British and held on the same ship where his brother, who fights for the British, is serving. You’d think his brother might have some compassion on him, but no. Oliver is rather a jerk to Jack.
Through trials and travails, Annalisa and Jack both make their way back to America. Each thought the other dead, and Jack has allowed himself to be persuaded into a position that threatens his marriage to Annalisa. She assumes her alter ego, Benjamin Cavendish, and joins the Continental Army.
Lindsey Fera writes a mighty good story! I loved Annalisa from the start. She is an unconventional woman, not allowing herself to be strictly limited by the expectations of her time period. She faces danger and difficulty with the emotions you’d expect, but she doesn’t let challenges derail her. She perseveres.
And Jack. My heart just hurt for him and the choices he made. As the reader, I had the advantage of figuring out before he did just how much those choices would come back to bite him. He tries to do the right thing in his situation, he just doesn’t have all the information that would let him know for sure what the right thing is.
I’ve seen a review or two mention the difficulty they had believing that the people who know Annalisa wouldn’t recognize her even in men’s clothing. I thought about that. I think we see what we expect to see a lot of the time, and no one in the Continental Army would have expected to see her in the thick of battle. (And she didn’t fool everyone entirely!)
Ms. Fera has clearly done her research. The language her characters use is fitting of the time in which the story is set, and the events are depicted very well. The glossary of terms that she includes is very helpful, too, if there’s a word the reader can’t interpret from context.
If you enjoy an engaging, well-researched story that lets you imagine events as if you were there, with characters you may want to hug or shake (or maybe kick in the shins, depending), I highly recommend Muskets & Masquerades. Just start with the first story, Muskets & Minuets, and keep reading!
My thanks to the author for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.