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Historical Fiction Early Review: Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis

Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis


Egalley thanks to Pyr

Synopsis from Goodreads
The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the most renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honored guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy's carriage, ride a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus's mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband's death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace's golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress--a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet. 

Release date: April 12, 2016.

Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository

8/10

* * *
 It was such a breezy, captivating read! It's no secret that I love fiction connected to art - music, dance, singing, drawing, you name it. There is just something magical, irresistible in it for me.


Masks and Shadows is doubly that. Some of its charm is the setting - opera! opulence! courtly intrigues! secret societies! Aah, it took me right back to my teens when I discovered Consuelo by George Sand ( a book about a young, beautiful opera singer in 18th century plus lots of secret societies stuff). Also George Sand was one awesome lady herself. But I digress.

Masks and Shadows has a lovely, quiet and sweet love story between a young widow who is a talented musician, and a famous castrato opera singer. However it's only one of its plot threads. There are conspiracies, spies and alchemy, operas and broken hearts. It's a well-written book which captures the spirit of the era, its complicated mannerisms and under it all, a naivete and hunger for all things mystical. 

I can't find any drawbacks in this read. It's great historical fiction, it has horror elements, the dialogues are sharp and realistic, the involvement of historical figures is very believable and the rest of the characters are engaging as heck. It was just really well done. Very much recommended. Read Stephanie Burgis's guest post if you want to know more about her research into this book.

* * *
 Лёгкая и очень занимательная книга! Не секрет, что я люблю книги, сюжет которых крутится вокруг искусства - танца, пения, рисования, музыки и т.д. Что-то в таких книгах для меня волшебное, и противостоять им я не могу.

Маски и Тени - всё это и больше. Часть их шарма в декорациях - опера! роскошь! дворцовые интриги! тайные общества! Эта книга очень напомнила мне как я зачитывалась Консуэло от Жорж Санд в подростковом возрасте, которая тоже происходит в 18 веке в мире австрийской оперы и забита масонскими ложами и тайными обществами. Да и сама мадам Санд была очень колоритной дамой. Однако я отхожу от темы.

Маски и Тени рассказывает о тихой, но скандальной истории любви между овдовевшей баронессой фон Стейнбек, которая оказывается талантливым пианистом, и знаменитым оперным певцом кастратом Карло Морелли. Всё это на фоне сюжетных линий о дворцовых интригах, заговорах и алхимических экспериментах.

К моему удивлению в этой книге полно элементов ужаса, и паранормальное вписывается в исторический фон очень органично. В поведение известных исторических фигур верится, а остальные герои предоставляют острый политический диалог. Очень понравилось, читается на лету, без колебаний советую! Если вам хочется узнать об этой книге побольше, почитайте авторский пост Стефани Бёрджис здесь.  
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