Ruth Axtell’s Moonlight Masquerade: A Review

Moonlight MasqueradeIn Moonlight Masquerade widowed Lady Celine Wexham, French by birth, appears to be a model British subject, but the British government suspect she may be a spy for the Napoleon. Rees Phillips, lowly clerk in the British Foreign office, poses as a butler in the Wexham household in order to find out the truth. Moonlight Masquerade is the first novel I’ve read by Ruth Axtell and while I appreciated the expert historical details, I found the story a little slow at times. I also couldn’t quite manage to suspend my disbelief at the idea of a lowly clerk and a countess pairing up. For the rest, I found Axtell wrote many exciting scenes and I enjoyed getting to know her characters. Occasionally, I found myself skimming over a few pages to stay interested.  Overall, a solid read. I think if this is your favorite genre then you will really love it, but I can’t say I’m waiting with bated breath for her next book.

Lady Celine Wexham seems the model British subject. French by birth but enjoying life in 1813 as a widowed English countess, she is in the unique position of being able to help those in need–or to spy for the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. When Rees Phillips of the British Foreign Office is sent to pose as the countess’s butler and discover where her true loyalties lie, he is confident he will uncover the truth. But the longer he is in her fashionable townhouse in London’s West End, the more his staunch loyalty to the Crown begins to waver as he falls under Lady Wexham’s spell. Will he find the proof he needs? And if she is a spy after all, will he do the right thing?

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Swept Away by Mary Connealy: A Review

Swept Away by Mary ConnealyThis isn’t the first novel I’ve read by Mary Connealy, but I’m pretty sure it will be my  last. Not that Swept Away is full of terrible smut or crooked theology, on the contrary, it’s a sweet amicable read. The story pulled me in almost immediately—Connealy is a fair writer with an excellent grip on weaving a wild western tale. Her sense of humour is first-rate and at times she’ll make you laugh out loud!

From the first I was rooting for Ruthy, our heroine orphaned since childhood and about to be forced into marrying a no-account scum bag, and for hero Luke, on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family.

Yet here’s the problem, though it’s published by Bethany House and supposed to be a faith-based novel, there isn’t actually all that much about God in it.  Yes, it avoids the pitfalls of books written for the public market. It’s a clean cute fun read, only with little more than a passing mention of God.  And if that’s all you’re looking for in a Christian book then pick this up, you’ll love it.  I’m looking for something more. I want my hero and heroine’s faith (or lack thereof) to be a vital and ringing portion of the story and for Connealy, it just ain’t gonna happen.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

About the story: When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there’s going to be trouble in Texas! Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn’t terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they’ve ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she’s rescued by Luke Stone…so unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future. Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won’t let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can’t just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she’s going to have to go with him. But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?