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Authors: Nancy Moser

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Masquerade

BOOK: Masquerade
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Masquerade

Books by

Nancy Moser

Mozart’s Sister

Just Jane

Washington’s Lady

How Do I Love Thee?

Masquerade

Masquerade
Copyright © 2010
Nancy Moser

Cover design by Andrea Gjeldum
Cover photography by Trevillion Images

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Moser, Nancy.

          Masquerade / Nancy Moser.

                    p. cm.

          ISBN 978-0-7642-0751-8 (pbk.)

          1. Heiresses—Fiction. 2. Household employees—Fiction. 3. British—United

States—Fiction 4. New York (N.Y.)—19th century—Fiction. I. Title.

          PS3563.O88417M37       2010

          813’.54—dc22

2010007457

To Emily, Laurel, and Mallory

For the wonderful women you are—and will come to be

NANCY MOSER is the author of three inspirational humor books and twenty-one novels, including
Mozart’s Sister, Just Jane,
and
Time Lottery,
a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at
www.nancymoser.com
.

Table of Contents

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Dear Reader
Fact or Fiction in Masquerade
The Fashion of Masquerade
Discussion Questions for Masquerade

Chapter One

DORNBY MANOR
WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND
SEPTEMBER 1886

“I’ve told you, Father, I won’t marry him.”

Thomas Gleason held a matchstick to the bowl of his pipe and puffed repeatedly, luring the tobacco to ignite. “It’s a good match, daughter. Everyone has heard of the Tremaines, even here in England.”

Heard of their money, perhaps …

Lottie remembered the whispered rumors about the Tremaines. She knew her parents hated gossip—or pretended to for propriety’s sake— but now was not the time for her to be timid. “Some say the Tremaines are
nouveau riche.
The elder Mr. Tremaine is but one generation away from those who peddled their goods on the streets of New York City.”

Her father pointed his pipe at her. “Perhaps. But Tremaine’s Dry Goods has grown to encompass a five-story building, taking up an entire city block.”

Mother shook her head and said beneath her breath, “A glorified shopkeeper.”

Father shot her a glance.

Mother nodded to the maid, Dora, to pour the tea. “We are the ones doing the Tremaines the favor. You are Sir Thomas Gleason,” she said. “The Gleasons have ties to Richard the Second. Our name is listed in
Debrett’s
.”

A puff of smoke billowed in front of Father’s face. “Now, now, Hester. By seeking a goodly match for our daughter, we’re not negating our own roots. It’s a blessing the Tremaines have shown interest in our Charlotte, especially since they’ve never met any of us. And considering—”

Lottie interrupted. “You act as if meeting me might cause them to change their minds. I may not be a ravishing beauty, Father, but I’ve been complimented many times regarding my appearance.”

“No, no,” he said. “Don’t take offense. You’re a lovely girl. I was merely pointing out the odd circumstances of … our situation.”

Hester coughed and put her ever-present handkerchief to her mouth.

Lottie tried unsuccessfully to squelch her annoyance at her mother’s cough. Hack, hack, hack. Perhaps if Mother spent more time outside, walking the grounds of their Wiltshire estate, her health would improve. But Mother prided herself on indoor pursuits, namely her needlepoint chair cushions. Best in the county, she bragged. Lottie didn’t care for such nonsense. To go to so much work only to have someone sit upon it was absurd.

As was this conversation.

Lottie set her teacup down, rose from her chair, and moved to the windows that overlooked the front lawn. “I don’t see why we have to talk about this now.”
Or ever.
“It’s my birthday and my friends will be arriving for my party soon and …” She turned to her mother directly. “Speaking of my party, why aren’t you bustling about? A dozen of my friends will arrive in just a few hours, yet if I didn’t know better, I’d think the party was next Tuesday rather than today.”

The handkerchief rose once again. “You said you didn’t want an extravagant soiree, dear, just a light repast with cakes and sweets for your friends. Mrs. Movery is quite busy with the food preparations, I’m sure.” She glanced at Dora. “In fact, toward that end … Dora, why don’t you go see how things are coming along in the kitchen.”

Dora said, “Yes, ma’am,” and left them.

Lottie wished she would have stayed. Dora was her lady’s maid and her best friend in the entire world. But lately her parents had started asking Dora to do other tasks, even helping out in the kitchen, which was unthinkable. Lottie
had
noticed a few of the housemaids and parlormaids were no longer in service with the family, but that didn’t mean Dora should suffer. “I don’t understand why Dora is suddenly being asked to expand her duties. She’s
my
maid. I assure you I keep her very busy.”

“I’m sure you do, daughter,” her father said. “But … well …”

Mother continued the thought. “With the preparations for your party this afternoon …”

Something wasn’t being said. Lottie wished her parents would tell her what was going on. She had a good mind. She could practically recite the novels of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters by heart. Didn’t that prove she had an intellect worth utilizing? Sometimes Lottie thought she would scream for lack of purpose. To sit in the house all day, reading or doing needlework, waiting for someone of consequence to call, was silly. She would happily trade two women of means for one person who could offer amusement or witty conversation. Odd how those attributes were sorely lacking in polite society, among people who were far too polite to be of interest.

But now, looking out upon the front drive and the vista of the green that carpeted the house to the road, she abandoned her worries for the anticipation of seeing carriage after carriage arriving for her party. Guests laden with presents—for her. Perhaps purpose was overrated. In all her nineteen years she’d found it quite acceptable—pleasant, really—to let the world beyond their country home dip and spin without her. What did she care of labor acts or problems in Ireland or whether Queen Victoria became Empress of Burma? Where in the world was Burma?

Lottie preferred experiencing life through novels where the characters were always enjoying a lovely ball or romp through the countryside that would lead them to their one true love. Her copies of
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility,
and
Little Women
were threadbare. Lottie especially enjoyed stories about sisters—perhaps because she had none. Conversely, she did not enjoy the books of Elizabeth Gaskell or Charles Dickens with the same zeal, finding their stories too driven by social inequities. She didn’t want to read about the world’s problems. She wanted romance, diversion, passion, and a happy ending—in her books
and
in real life.

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