AMAZON UK £2.99 / £9.99
Early 19th Century
England and Belgium
Olivia Frobisher is a teenage girl when her mother dies suddenly. With her father and brother both at sea, she is taken in by her uncle who, almost immediately, arranges a marriage to an eminent botanist, 'Rambling' Jack Rembleton. It is a marriage of convenience for all parties concerned: Rembleton needs heirs, Olivia needs security and her uncle needs to do his best for her. But Jack is not all he seems and spends most of his time away from her. In the meantime, Olivia is introduced to Luke Fitzmaurice, a younger man than Jack, and with a reputation for the ladies.
Ten years later and Olivia has three children whom she loves, but she is having some regrets about her marriage: Jack has done his duty and has left for Europe on another expedition with his partner, Bart Wilkins. At a masked ball, Olivia, disguised as a Greek muse, meets Luke again. He seduces her – or does she seduce him? He is unaware of her identity, but she is fully aware of his. Olivia, at last, finds the meaning of love – but she is trapped. Two important things happen then (no spoilers) and the lovers are thrown together near to the front line of Waterloo.
This is a good story, well told, full of the type of dialogue that we expect from those days and, apart from one or two minor 'niggles' I quite enjoyed it. The cover – a reproduction of a well-known painting - I thought dull at first, but as I read on, the expression of boredom and quandary on the face of the subject perfectly mirrored the troubles of Olivia. I am happy to recommend The Murmur of Masks to fans of the Romance genre.
© Richard Tearle