Unmasking ‘The Masqueraders’

As a die-hard Georgette Heyer fan, I often find myself re-reading the books that have given me countless hours of mirth and amusement. After discovering the fabulous world of audiobooks, I have found this to be a different yet highly entertaining way of re-reading some of my all-time favorites. I just finished listening to one of my top 3 GH books: ‘The Masqueraders’ narrated by Ruth Siller.

Upon revisiting this title, I’ve found that it still remains one of my top Georgette Heyer books. As always, the dialogue is witty and the characters vastly entertaining. While the idea of a cross-dressing brother and sister might seem silly and unbelievable, the author’s detailed description of the pair and their mannerisms make it both conceivable and hilarious. Prudence is taller than her younger brother, Robin and is possessed with an easy sense of humor and excellent acting skills. Robin on the other hand is a gentleman of shorter stature, and a “pretty face” that easily transformed himself into a woman with the help of voluptuous dresses, excessive makeup, and powdered wigs.

Masqueraders

This siblings are the off-spring of a charismatic, narcissistic con-artist, often referred to as “the old gentleman.” The father believes himself to be a great man indeed, and has dragged his children across Europe encompassing a multitude of fictional characters, until their latest escapade in England.

The first time I read this book as a tween, the Jacobite rebellion went totally over my head. This time round I was paying attention, and understood how the old gentleman backed the losing side, and the need for Robin to conceal himself in women’s petticoats. Thanks to the fantastic series, “Outlander” I now had a good understanding of what the Jacobite risings were all about 🙂

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The romance between Prudence and her “Mountain” Sir Anthony Fanshawe was delightful. For all his sleepy eyes, Sir Anthony is in fact very much awake and very sharp. Robin’s love interest Letitia is a silly, young lady looking for excitement and romance. A typical, sheltered girl of the times with perhaps too much time on her hands and a lively imagination. I think Robin could’ve done better for himself, but then only a naïve chit like her would be willing to completely overlook his deception and cross-dressing.

The narrator had a wonderful reading voice and was able to distinguish the characters well. Some of the gentlemen’s roles were perhaps a bit too nasal for my taste but overall very enjoyable.

‘The Masqueraders’ is packed with action, romance, and intrigue. And as with all Georgette Heyer books, lots of descriptions and details that I’ve read can be somewhat off-putting to readers. While understandable, I believe it’s her depth that makes her books great. My advice is not to let it put you off, and when in doubt simply skim because trust me this book is well worth the read!

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