When I read The Ruin of Evangeline Jones last month, I was reminded just how much I love novels with a touch of gothic. This month, I was lucky to read another novel with a little bit of a gothic spin to it. Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson is what I would classify as a Regency mystery leaning more towards gothic than spooky with a heated yet clean romance that lends heavily to the plot. This is book three in a series, but functioned well as a standalone.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on and/or purchase from some links, I make a portion of the sale. This helps keep Bitch Bookshelf running.
Find out more about how I review books here.
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey
by Abigail Wilson
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 336 Pages
In this new Regency romance, Elizabeth knows she must protect her heart from the charm of her new husband, Lord Torrington. She is not, however, prepared to protect her life.
When the widowed Lord Torrington agreed to spy for the crown, he never planned to impersonate a highwayman, let alone rob the wrong carriage. Stranded on the road with an unconscious young woman, he is forced to propose marriage to protect his identity and her reputation, as well as his dangerous mission.
Trapped not only by her duty to her country but also by her limited options as an unwed mother, Miss Elizabeth Cantrell and her infant son are whisked away to Middlecrest Abbey by none other than the elder brother of her son’s absent father. There she is met by Torrington’s beautiful grown daughters, a vicious murderer, and an urgent hunt for the missing intelligence that could turn the war with France. Meanwhile she must convince everyone that her marriage is a genuine love match if her new husband has any hope of uncovering the enemy.
Determined to keep her son’s true identity a secret, Elizabeth will need to remain one step ahead of her fragile heart, her uncertain future, and the relentless fiend bent on her new family’s ruin.
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound
Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey on Amazon.
Confession: I was WEARY of historical romance when I cracked open this book. It’s my favorite genre, but it was all I had been reading lately. I was reluctant to start, but had signed up for the blog tour – and I am so glad I decided to start reading it the day I did. I WHIPPED THROUGH this book, reading nonstop until I fell asleep that night, and then waking up and starting work later than usual to finish it the next morning! Because this book is, in my opinion, more of a mystery with a strong romance that lends heavily to the plot, it really got me out of that “over it” funk, and I was desperate to find out what was going on!
This book is told in first person, from the point of view of Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a young mother who has been hurt before, shunned from society for having a child out of wedlock. The father did not take responsibility or acknowledge the child, Isaac – who is an absolute cutie at not quite one-year-old. Elizabeth is leaving her cousin’s home to find work as a housekeeper so as not to burden them when her carriage is overtaken by a highwayman. Only the highwayman isn’t really a robber – it’s Adrian, Lord Torrington, working as a British spy. He’s overtaken the carriage mistakenly in search of someone else. When more travelers come upon them, Elizabeth is unconscious due to injuries sustained from the accident, and Lord Torrington does the only thing he can think of to stop the travelers from uncovering his identity as a spy. He claims Elizabeth is his wife.
The two are forced to marry and make an interesting pair. But what Lord Torrington doesn’t know is that Elizabeth’s child is his nephew. Elizabeth’s former love interest who abandoned her is Lord Torrington’s younger brother.
Elizabeth is quickly wrapped up in Adrian’s world. He brings her back to his home, where preparations are underway for the marriage of his oldest of two grown daughters. But when a member of the wedding party dies, the investigation Lord Torrington is involved in touches his family. Elizabeth works alongside him to solve the murder and find a French spy in their midst, all while the pair begins to fall in love. This is a romance with a few sweet kissing scenes, but I still felt the romantic tension between Adrian and Elizabeth, perhaps even more strongly than I generally do when I read saucier novels! This was a 5 star read for me. It completely stopped me from getting into a potential reading slump! Thank you to Abigail Wilson, Harper Collins, Net Galley, and HF Virtual Book Tours for generously providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Find out more about how I rate books here.
About the Author
Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A registered nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the national parks, attending her daughter’s gymnastic meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey by Abigail Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow – this is the fastest I’ve read a book in quite some time. This one totally pulled me in. I was even late to work over it!
This is a lightly gothic mystery with a romance central to the plot. I was able to piece together some of the mystery, but all of the characters are suspect and I found myself unable to put the book down in order to find out whodunnit.
This is book 3 in a series, but I never read books 1 and 2 and found it did perfectly as a stand-alone.
Thank you to the author, publisher, NetGalley, and HF Virtual Book tours for hooking me up with a copy. My full review will be posted to bitchbookshelf.com on May 26!
Book Club Questions
- Explain the dynamic between Adrian and Elizabeth.
- How it Elizabeth’s second chance at love different than her previous relationship?
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, May 26
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Review at The Green Mockingbird
Wednesday, May 27
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Thursday, May 28
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Friday, May 29
Review at Heidi Reads
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Saturday, May 30
Feature at Journey in Bookland
Feature at What Is That Book About
Sunday, May 31
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading
Monday, June 1
Review at Probably at the Library
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Tuesday, June 2
Feature at I’m All About Books
Feature at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, June 3
Review at Rhodie Girl Reads
Review at Rejoice in Reading
Thursday, June 4
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, June 5
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Foals, Fiction and Filigree
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Interested? Buy Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey.
And don’t forget to add me as a friend on Goodreads!