He leaned closer. "I will find you."
She lifted her chin, her mouth parted, her lips seeking his. "Swear it."
A Double Masquerade
Arthur, Lord Claremont finds himself unexpectedly in need of an heir, but loathes the idea of putting himself publicly on the Marriage Mart. When a masquerade provides the opportunity to survey the crop of eligible ladies whilst in disguise, he cannot resist. Phoebe Cartwright was forced to live with her aunt during her mourning for her father. Unfortunately, it was during the Season when her cousin was to make her debut. Fearing competition, her aunt tries to keep her hidden away. However, when her cousin becomes ill, Phoebe finds herself pretending to be her cousin at a masquerade. Arthur finds his ideal bride at the masquerade, but appearances can be deceiving.
Their Masked Secret
A duke’s ultimatum carries power. James Holbrook and his fellow lords in London have one more ball before they must tow the line and find wives, wealthy wives—One more chance to be frivolous, to flirt, to outrageously flaunt themselves about without a care until the dawn when they can never do so again. With masks on, everything will be done in complete anonymity. And even though James has reservations about such a jaunt, he agrees to at least keep the others’ secrets.
Meredith attends the ball with great trepidation. How will she see through the duplicity of the marriage mart and find a man sincere enough to marry her for who she is? She doesn't expect to. And she doesn't expect to fall for one at her first ball, without even knowing his name. How will the two navigate the ensuing weeks of secrets, misunderstandings and prejudice to eventually fall in love without their masks on?
When Charles Ballam returns from war, his former commander, Doughty, is determined to see him happily wed—the least he can do after Charles maimed his hand saving his life. The first attempt leads to a humiliating spectacle involving Charles’s injury. He’s loath to ever attend a ball again. Doughty convinces him to try a relatively new, scandalous method: lonely hearts advertisements.
Mr. Amesbury doesn’t approve of such things, but that doesn’t stop his daughter Clarissa or her companion, Mary, from reading them secretly and then strolling past meeting places in hopes of finding the individuals mentioned in them. When an advertisement with striking details appears, Clarissa is certain that the man behind it is one she could have a love match with. She answers, suggesting they meet at an upcoming masquerade. But identities aren’t what they seem, and her future happiness—or spinsterhood—may rest on the man who placed the advertisement . . . or on his mate, who assumes his identity. Instead of being the man of her dreams, he may be nothing more than a deception.
Thoughts & Feelings
It's time for another anthology! I have been excited to read A Midnight Masquerade for months. I saw the cover reveal for it shortly after I read A Wyoming Summer and knew immediately that this was an anthology I NEEDED. I mean who doesn't want to read an anthology centered around the idea of masquerade balls? So fun, right?!
This anthology was fantastic and I enjoyed reading all three stories. Each novella is unique so you don't feel like you are reading the same story over and over again. Even the masquerade balls all feel so different and have different settings and "unmasking" rules associated with them. It was so much fun to get to read three completely different masquerade ball experiences.
Now let's break it down.
First off is Elizabeth Johns novella, A Double Masquerade. This was my very first Elizabeth Johns book and it was so good. The masquerade ball in this novella was magnificent! It might have been my favorite masquerade ball out of the three novellas. Elizabeth gives us a glance at the creation/procuring of the costumes and some of the details that set Arthur and Phoebe's costumes apart from the crowd. Also, Arthur's costume is the BEST ever and I wish I could see it in real life. You are going to absolutely love when we finally get to "see" his costume, it is truly spectacular. And the moment is made even better by the fact that his secretary, and friend, Ridley is the one that procures the costume and takes great delight in how it turns out.
Next is Jen Geigle Johnsons novella, Their Masked Secret. This novella starts out with a group of gentlemen discovering that they have all been give an ultimatum. If they are not married to a wealthy woman by the end of the season they will be disinherited. This group is magical and I would love to see a story for each of them on their quest to find a love match despite the short timeline and all that is a stake. Sadly, we only get James Holbrook's story but it is a pretty great one. Hopefully the others are coming...?
I have two favorite moments from Their Masked Secret. First is the masquerade ball, of course. This one is set in the Vauxhall Gardens, so magical! I loved the way that Jen set the scene and that she had the couple wander the grounds and end up on a gondola. Not only do we get a magical masquerade ball we also get to ride on a gondola! Could it get any more romantic? I also loved the "aha" moment when James and Meredith discover who their mysterious companion was at the ball. It's so good!
Last but not least is Annette Lyon's novella, Masquerade A-la-Mode. Annette mixed things up a bit by having the masquerade towards the end of the story. I loved the build up of our main characters and the moment when they finally meet...but don't know they're meeting. It is so good and I got the sixteen year old butterflies and giggles reading it. I also loved that we got to know Charles and Clarissa's best friends. It helped me get to see each their personalities and understand their viewpoints and pasts so well. This is a great story full of giggles and heartwarming moments.
clean, kissing scenes in all three novellas
Content & Trigger Warnings
mentions of the "war on the continent" and injuries that occured, mentions the death of an immediate family member
Title: A Midnight Masquerade
Series: Timeless Georgian Collections #3
These do not have to be read in a specific order. The anthologies all occur in the Georgian era but are otherwise not linked.
Authors: Elizabeth Johns, Jen Geigle Johnson, Annette Lyon
Timeless Georgian Collections
Her Country Gentleman
A Lady’s Wager
A Midnight Masquerade