After participating in the Jacobite Rising of 1745, Robin and Prudence, brother and sister, become engaged in a swashbuckling, romantic adventure. Our hero and heroine must cross-dress and switch genders if they are to escape prosecution a humorous move that allows Heyer to explore the manners and language affectations of the period as the two romp through the elite saloons and clubs of London. But what the two don’t foresee is that they might fall in love along the way: Prudence with the elegant and dashing Sir Anthony Fanshawe, and Robin with the charming Letitia Grayson. Can the two unmask themselves without losing their lives?
Publisher and Release Date: Naxos AudioBooks, May 2014; original book publication, 1928
Time and Setting: Georgian England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
This is my second Georgette Heyer book–the first one I read was the fabulous and hilarious The Grand Sophy – and The Masqueraders, narrated by the animated voice of Ruth Sillers, is a delightful, funny, and energetic historical intrigue.
I agreed to review this romance not knowing anything about its plot at all. And, as a result, I have to admit that I was confused as to who was who at first in this story of disguise and mystery. Following the Jacobite Rebellion in 1745, Prudence and Robin Tremaine, devoted and quick-witted sister and brother, have fled France for England disguised respectively as a young man and young woman: Peter and Kate Merriot. They await further instructions from their father, the brazen and supremely confident “Old Gentleman,” (Prue and Robin’s tongue-in-cheek endearment for him) and live their lives on the edge, fearing discovery at every turn. But both are so elegant, refined, and smart that their adventures and mishaps are engrossing to read and make for a pleasing and captivating story.
We’re thrown right into the brash adventures of these witty siblings when they save the very young and highly-strung Lady Letitia Grayson from an unwanted elopement with her erstwhile fiancé, the insidious Mr. Markham. The voice that Ruth Stillers gives Markham is fantastically over-the-top and most appropriate to the villain he is while Letitia’s hapless and helpless maiden is also spot-on and teeters on the farcical, but in a good way. This rescue scene sets the tone for wild madcap fun that infuses the entire story from beginning to end; it’s a joy to listen to.
The frequent descriptions of Sir Anthony Fanshawe, a friend of Letitia’s who comes to her rescue, as a “large gentleman,” almost becomes a running joke between Prue and Robin. Fanshawe is a consummate and observant gentleman who quickly figures out that Peter Merriot is actually a woman. The romance between him and Prudence is sweet, considerate, and mature but I had a hard time believing that the intelligent Robin could fall for the empty-headed Letitia. But perhaps he is simply a man of his time falling for a pretty face, and Letitia is a perfectly innocent and kindhearted young lady.
Ruth Sillers is a new-to-me narrator and I truly enjoyed her lovely interpretation. Her light and sweet voice lends the perfect sparkle and verve to this lively historical romp with all its theatricality, at times serious, at other times witty, which often made me smile in amusement. This is why I read historical romance. It’s a great tribute to Ms Sillers as an actress to be able to read so many different characters with distinction and great personality, of both sexes, especially the challenging dual character personas of Robin and Prudence as Kate and Peter Merriot.
This audiobook is a real treat for all lovers of Regency historical romance.