By marrying Sir Anthony Peters, Beth Cunningham is safe from the cruelty and lasciviousness of her half-brother Richard but she wonders if her Devil’s Bargain simply traded a bad situation for one of a different nature? She is repulsed by her husband’s foppish mien, white-painted face and outlandish attire. However he is very intelligent and an excellent conversationalist and the kindness and care he shows her makes it easier to tolerate his over-the-top behavior. Considering her limited options Beth has resigned herself to accepting comfort and security in lieu of a great love. She would be happier though if she could dispense with the mind-numbing parties and social events they are expected to attend.
With the ink barely dry on their marriage certificate, Beth is shocked to her core by a discovery that changes the entire nature of her relationship with her husband. Suddenly the comfortably safe future she envisioned appears less appealing and she must now decide if the reward being offered is worth the risks.
“The Mask Revealed” is the second book in The Jacobite Chronicles and follows the newlyweds on their trip through Europe that includes a perilous stay at court in Rome. As noted in my review of the first book in the series, Beth is a feminine version of Jamie Fraser of Outlander fame. Author Julia Brannan has endowed her protagonist with the requisite qualities of a perfect female heroine who is dazzling in her imperfection: intelligent, educated, beautiful, sometimes impetuous, speaks her mind, occasionally letting her temper get in the way, and you definitely want her on your side in a knife fight. Yes, Beth has wicked knife skills. Five stars. I’m looking forward to Book Three, “The Gathering Storm”.
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