Book: Moonlight Masquerade

"Moonlight Masquerade"

After being abruptly jilted, Sophie Kincaid flees to the place her friend Kim Aldredge calls heaven on earth. But Sophie’s first taste of Edilean is far from heavenly: after her car breaks down on a country road, she is nearly run over by a speeding sports car. A small act of revenge brings satisfaction, and word quickly spreads that a gorgeous newcomer gave the driver, the notoriously bitter Dr. Reede Aldredge, a dressing down! But it isn’t the first time the fiery artist has gone too far for payback; a secret possession she carries with her could shatter her ex-boyfriend’s future. Reede Aldredge has secrets, too, including a desire to get closer to the beauty who is turning his dark world upside down. Under the night skies, their masquerade is magic–but will it turn to dust by the light of day?

Magic definitely turned to dust with this latest romance novel by Jude Deveraux.

Now, I think it’s no secret that I’ve been following Jude Deveraux’s romance novels. Heck, she’s the only romance author I’ve been reading so far for this blog. Save for Kristin Hannah that one time. So it saddens me to say that I am extremely disappointed with Moonlight Masquerade.

Oh, it starts out good enough. Jude Deveraux is still a great writer for easy-reading. But it’s the plotting and the pacing that’s gotten sloppy.

Romance novels usually end one way: with a happy ending. Sometimes, they’re open-ended enough that a second or third book might be in order. With this trilogy, Jude Deveraux gives enough of an ending for the first two books that you don’t long for more. Unfortunately, she has overdone it a little for this last book.

In Moonlight Masquerade, we get one fully-formed heroine in Sophie. Reede is a little too cut-out for my taste, but he has more character in him than Travis from Stranger in the Moonlight, definitely. Unfortunately, those are the only two good things I can say about this book.

Let’s list down the bad:

Number one: we have meddlesome characters who push the story forward because the story doesn’t want to move on its own. That, I feel, is lazy writing. Especially for someone like Jude Deveraux who I don’t remember having to resort to such tricks before.

Number two: the love story doesn’t sweep you off your feet. Jecca and Tristan, from the first book, had the love that defied what was expected. Kim and Travis, from the second book, had the love that was deep-rooted. In Moonlight Masquerade, Sophie and Reede had a love that made them miserable. How are you supposed to feel romantic after that?

Number three–which, I think now, should have come after number one–we have way too many characters to care about. There’s Carter, the ex-boyfriend, there’s the robbers, and then a guy named Henry who appears out of nowhere. I mean, come on. Are they really that important to the story? Well, Carter, maybe. But the others?

Number four: too many subplots. Isn’t this a romance novel about the love story of Sophie and Reede? Then why do they disappear at times? Why do we have to find out what’s happening to them through the eyes of other people who are better off in the background? And what the heck was up with Sophie starting a sandwich shop?! Really? What did that add to the story? Aside from the excuse it gives Sophie to stay in Edilean for a few weeks more? It reeks of deus ex machina.

And number five: a forced happy ending. There’s nothing less romantic than compromise. It’s a reality of life, yes, but isn’t that what we’re supposed to escape when we dive into books like this? We don’t want reality! We want true love! We want passion! We want to see two characters so in love that they would do anything in their power to be with each other! Compromise can work–but did we really need to see how miserable they were with their compromise?

And the novel had the gall to cite The Gift of the Magis! That short story worked because the sacrifice the two characters made didn’t make them miserable. It made them better people, and made them appreciate each other more. If that was the intent for Sophie and Reede, it did not translate.

I could probably go on and on about what I didn’t like about this book. But I’ll stop there. Instead, let’s see if other people felt the same way as I did–or if they saw something in it that I didn’t:
Oh Damn Books
Wakena Runen’s World
Fresh Fiction