Even grown-ups love a Cinderella story. Masquerade by Nancy Moser escorts our inner- princess into the late 1800’s where high society flourishes and the lower class barely survives. And never the twain shall meet. Nor would it be proper for them to associate.
Lottie Gleason is born into the British upper-crust and has been comfortably insulated from the likes of problems with politics, business and even struggles within her own home. She gets a crash course in Adulthood 101 on her 19th birthday when she discovers her family is being shunned thanks to some indiscretions by her father. Before her ship can totally sink, Lottie is forced to accept a marriage proposal from a wealthy American who hasn’t caught wind of the tarnished Gleason name “across the pond” in New York. Lottie doesn’t want to marry this stranger and Lottie is used to getting her way.
Dora Connors is Lottie Gleason’s maid. She has lived on the streets and experienced life in the gutter. Since the age of 13, however, she has been attendant and confidant to Lottie. They are very close, yet they both know their place. Dora is to accompany Lottie on her voyage to America, where she will start a new life as well.
Somewhere across the expanse of the Atlantic, a plan forms in Lottie’s mind. A plan to escape the restraints and expectations of her family and chase her own dreams. Dora can be Lottie Gleason, Dora can marry this strange man, and Dora will be glad to do it because it is a chance to better her life beyond her wildest dreams.
And so each girl assumes a new identity and they both live happily ever after.
Yeah, right. While Dora steps into New York society with only the occasional stumble, Lottie falls flat and hard and finds herself seeing how ‘the other half” live. More than seeing, she is experiencing it first hand.
Both girls find that “a man makes his plans but the Lord orders his steps” as they discover their masquerade is not the neat little package they had hoped. The character issues that are addressed and the relational honesty that is necessary for love and friendship to flourish are learned in the fire of the streets--and the mansions--of New York.
Masquerade is a cinderella story. One of the best kind. No fairy godmothers here. Rather, the God of the universe helping two girls find their purpose, their love, their friendship and their true identity.
***In exchange for my honest review, Bethany House Publishers supplied this book to me free of charge.