Masquerade (Andalucían Nights Trilogy) by Hannah Fielding

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Hellllooo readers, really need to come up with a more interesting opening line. Maybe I could do a poll? Or maybe I could just be more creative *shrugs.* In other news I’m on the search for a new laptop as with this one the space bar keeps sticking and Ikeepwritinglikethisandhavingtogobackandchangeit *JIOSDKJFSDKJSDKJ* In other happier news I have a really lovely review which I hope not to write out in one long sentence!

Summer, 1976. Luz de Rueda returns to her beloved Spain and takes a job as the biographer of a famous artist. On her first day back in Cádiz, she encounters a bewitching, passionate young gypsy, Leandro, who immediately captures her heart, even though relationships with his kind are taboo. Haunted by this forbidden love, she meets her new employer, the sophisticated Andrés de Calderón. Reserved yet darkly compelling, he is totally different to Leandro but almost the gypsy’s double. Both men stir unfamiliar and exciting feelings in Luz, although mystery and danger surround them in ways she has still to discover.

Right so first things first I have to mention that this is the second novel in the Andalucian Nights series so I’m already a little behind. However the book follows the life of Luz Maria Cervantes de Rueda, the only child of Count Salvador. Luz however is far from home and has spent many years studying abroad; however the time has come to travel back home to be with her family and start a career. However she meets two men – Leandro and Andres. Who will win her heart?  Either way it’s going to be a pretty wonderful summer.

So there’s the basics of the book –  a little stereotypical a little tired, maybe, but the writing style really brings this tale to life. Fielding really knows how to write a historical fiction and her descriptions of the world around her is written with skill, understanding and knowledge. The scenery, the culture springs from the pages and you find yourself wrapped in the warmth and feeling of a Spanish family. I very very rarely come across books that deal with the time period of the early 70’s in this country so it was a refreshing change to see this as the main period focus during the book.

Overall Luz is a lovely character; a strong character although a little stubborn. Not always the one to make the right decisions she lives in the moment but has a pride you would be silly to mess with. I liked the fact that she wasn’t a goodie-two-shoes type of character. She gets things wrong, she picks herself up, and she carries on. I think too often we are subjected to ‘perfect’ characters that don’t quite work for me; here getting an imperfect protagonist really worked.

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This book however wasn’t without wobbles for me. Firstly our two love interests – as with a lot of romance books I’m sad to say there was a lot of instant attraction, love at first sight kind of mumbo-jumbo. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good romance but this was definitely a lust fueled romance hiding as love. It just made me angry because Luz doesn’t seem at any point to know the difference between the two. The love triangle felt a little tired and I must admit I’m not a fan of love triangles because they always leave the reader hanging and leave too much to be desired between a relationship for me. If a single relationship was worked and built better that will excite me more than a less built three-way triangle.

Additionally another wobble; Fielding paints an incredible picture of Cadiz and yet the characters lacked the same level of detail and importance for me. I think that the city almost came across as more important than our characters and although I adore good, well built up environments especially in historical fiction here I wanted more from each of the characters to mimic the authors skill writing about places.

Overall however this is a lovely little beach read that I would definitely have me wishing of sangria, beach towels and sky-blue skies. I thought that the ideas were there, the scenery was there but the lack of complete character description and at time dialogue meant that the script became a little dry and not all consuming. Definitely an author I want to read more from, just maybe this one wasn’t quite for me.

Linnnnks

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