“Venice is a stage, Orelia. Pretend for no other reason than to act like everybody else.”
I decided to read Masquerade mostly because I liked the cover and blurb and needed a book set in the 18th century for the When Are You Reading? challenge. I was expecting a historical fiction novel with many details about Venice and the Carnevale, but unfortunately this novel by Kylie Fornasier is mostly focused on the romance scenes. I guess some people might actually prefer this, but I was really looking forward to a proper historical fiction read… Plus, the main characters weren’t exactly to my liking and were behaving like a bunch of ignorant (and sometimes spoiled) little brats. The prose is mostly average, although there are many Italian words included that might make it difficult to read this novel if you don’t have at least some basic knowledge of the language. There is a glossary in the end to explain what the words mean, but still… I personally felt that only some of the Italian words were actually adding something to the story. (Mostly those related to the Carnevale.) The pace is quite fast though and if you don’t mind annoying characters and are looking for a rather sappy romance story to read on the beach, Masquerade might work for you. I myself was quite disappointed by this read though.
It is the first time Orelia Rossetti arrives in Venice and she is just in time for the Carnevale of 1750. After her mother dies, she has nowhere else to go but to her uncle’s house… A man she has never met so far. When they meet it turns out her mother had a dark secret, and her uncle makes her promise not to tell anyone who she really is. Orelia doesn’t understand why, but she is determined find out at some point… But first his daughters Angelique and Veronica will introduce Orelia to Venice and the many parties during Carnevale. She doesn’t really know how to fit in, having grown up in a small town in the mountains, but with the help of the two sisters she soon starts enjoying the theatres, ballrooms and other fun events. It turns out Orelia is not the only one with a secret…
The blurb sounded very interesting and I was really looking forward to Masquerade. I normally enjoy reading historical fiction, but this is more of a romance novel with some references to the Carnevale. The characters were a bit bland and Orelia’s ‘big’ secret should have played a bigger role in the whole story. It sure would have made this read that much more interesting… Now I was mostly annoyed by the actions of the main characters and the prose could have been better as well. All in all quite a disappointing read!