Auden Frost needs a job, so she’s hoping her interview will pan out with Palmer Publishing. When she arrives, however, she’s told that she isn’t on the schedule and that the nonfiction editor position has already been filled. Haydon Palmer, the company’s young and beautiful CEO, happens to stop by just as Auden is getting the bad news, and their chance encounter leads to Hays hiring Auden to head up their new lesbian fiction division.
Auden gives herself a crash course in lesbian romance and quickly finds herself responding to it in ways she couldn’t have imagined, since she’d always thought she was straight. And while her attraction to Hays blossoms, she’s also intrigued by the words of Rune Dyre, a popular and reclusive author who no one’s ever met.
Truth and fiction blend as Auden discovers where her heart truly belongs. But can she and her love make things work when the ultimate test is thrown their way?
While we see the most of Auden and Hays, especially as Auden is learning the ropes at work, we also get to know Rune, Auden’s neighbour and close friend Gayle, and another Palmer author who’s a friend of Rune’s named Thane. All of these characters have their own distinct, well-developed arcs, which is no easy feat, and I found myself just as interested in them as I was in the main romance.
I don’t know how Radclyffe always makes me so invested in her characters, but yet again, she did it here, and this is one of her very first books! It’s pretty cool to see how she really did have it from the beginning of her publishing career and I was left wanting more of these characters.
The Writing Style
This is one of those gorgeous, angsty romances that you can really sink into. It also has an interesting structure, since we get to read some stories that Thane and Rune are writing for a collection, which are inspired by events that are happening in the story.
If you listen to one book that’s narrated by Paige McKinney, make it this one! She was the PERFECT choice. She differentiated the characters well and her voice is just so well suited to the story’s broody, romantic tone.
There’s one drawback to the audiobook that’s worth noting that isn’t an issue in the ebook (or, I’m assuming the printed version). As I mentioned in the last section, the story includes some of Rune and Thane’s writings. In the ebook, it was very easy to tell when we were being dropped into those because the font changed. There isn’t really any kind of mechanism to denote that change in the audiobook, which is not the narrator’s fault. That meant that when I was distracted while listening, I sometimes wouldn’t understand what exactly was going on when my attention snapped back. All of that is to say that if you’re going to listen to this—and I think you should—make sure to pay close attention. If you can’t do that, then I recommend you pick up the ebook or paperback because it’s too good to miss out.
The characters, the romance, the angst. All of that good stuff!
My only con is what I already mentioned in the section about the narration
I adore this book and hope you do too. This has long been a favourite and I love it even more now that I’ve listened to it. I’ll definitely be listening to Love’s Masquerade again in the future!
Excerpt from Love’s Masquerade by Radclyffe
“Yes, isn’t it?” Auden smiled, her nerves vanishing at the sight of the warm welcome in Haydon Palmer’s eyes.
“Please.” Hays gestured to one of the leather sling-back chairs in front of her desk where Auden had sat during the interview. It was amazing that their first acquaintance had been less than twenty-four hours before; Auden Frost had already assumed such a marked presence in her mind.
“Thank you.” Auden settled in, crossing one stockinged leg over the other. She wore a navy suit, thinking that it was too soon to dress informally. She noticed that Haydon was dressed much the same as she had been the day before, although this time the charcoal-gray trousers and jacket were cut more casually and she wore a plain open-collared white shirt with them. The publisher looked every bit as attractive as she had the previous day, although the shadows beneath her eyes seemed slightly deeper. Auden felt the smallest jolt of concern.
“Are you still of a mind to take this job?” Hays asked as she resumed her seat.
“Are you still of a mind for me to have it?”
Hays grinned. “I rarely change my mind once I’ve decided on something.”
“And I never give up on a project once I’ve undertaken it.”
“I thought you might reconsider once you had time to reflect on the specifics.” Hays watched Auden carefully, wanting very much to see the light of excitement dance in her eyes again. Such a small thing. And such a pleasure.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781933110141
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Paige McKinney
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