UNMASKED by Nicola Cornick

My dear readers,

In order to strengthen my ability to craft a strong romance, I have embarked on an intensive period of reading romance only, across all subgenres (historical, paranormal, futuristic, contemporary, etc.), so upcoming books reviewed on this blog over the next several months will focus predominantly on romance. I pride myself on reading the best of the genre, so I hope you’ll find something interesting in these chronicles. If you’re not normally a romance reader, I hope these discussions will encourage you to give the genre a try. Since I only review books on this site that I genuinely enjoy, you can’t go too far wrong reading any of my recommended reads. And I always enjoy hearing what my readers think about the books I recommend, or any suggestions you may have to broaden my own reading.

In this Regency-set historical romance, soldier Nick Falconer is under orders to find the woman who murdered his debauched cousin–the notorious female Robin Hood who heads the band of highwaywomen called the Glory Girls. When Nick’s investigation leads him to the mysterious widow Mari Osborne living quietly in rural Yorkshire, he can barely believe she’s Glory–the same beautiful harlot who seduced him in a tavern on the night of his cousin’s death. But Mari, a runaway serf from Russia, is hiding more secrets than one, and Nick will need to uncover all of them before he can win her love.

This was a beautifully executed Regency-set historical romance. The concept of the heroine as highwaywoman is a fresh and unique take on the well-trodden Regency period, while Mari’s background in slavery and sexual servitude is treated in a poignant and moving manner. Strong secondary characters and a romantic subplot involving Mari’s housemate and best friend lend additional color to an already strong tale. The story is sensual, the language is inoffensive, and the murder that kicks off the tale happens off the page. This is a fine read for anyone who enjoys a sprightly Regency romance with high emotion and a dash of intrigue.


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