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Historical Romance Review: The Masquers, aka Splendid Torment, by Natasha Peters

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

***Spoiler alert***

Natasha Peters’ Splendid Torment–originally published as The Masquers–takes us to late 18th-century Venice, to the world of Fosca Loredan, a titian-haired young noblewoman trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older nobleman. It’s an unusual romance, in the style of Bertrice Small sans purple-prose: part bodice ripper, part historical fiction, replete with swashbuckling and political intrigue.

The Plot

Two heroes are vying for Fosca’s attention: Raffaelo, an atheist, revolutionary, bastard Jew and Alessandro, a middle-aged, philandering, anti-Semite politician. But this love triangle is actually a quadrangle with a fourth player: Lia, a woman who will do anything with anyone to save her true love.

Besides this adulterous entanglement, some of the book’s highlights include a Dynasty-style catfight; a Sapphic May-December love affair; an omniscient dowager who hasn’t left her bed in 20 years; a singing eunuch and a cross-dressing, dancing dwarf.

Final Analysis of The Masquers (aka Splendid Torment)

This is the third Natasha Peters romance I’ve read, the others being Dangerous Obsession and Savage Surrender.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: The Masquers, aka Splendid Torment, by Natasha Peters”