Moonraker’s Bride

by Madeleine Brent

Madeleine Brent’s books all follow a certain pattern, but it is an intriguing and enjoyable pattern indeed! The heroine always has an unusual background outside of ordinary society. She is usually thrust into that society and the story becomes a “fish out of water” story, and then usually it becomes incumbent upon her to return to her origins to solve the mystery/rescue or become reunited with the hero. Off the top of my head, some of her heroines have been circus performers, raised by aborigines, English girl raised in China (Moonraker’s Bride),half-Caste Indian girl raised in Tibet, Daughter of a notorious Jewel Thief, A young English girl living in a Paris Garrett with a shocking past, rescued from a harum, etc. As predictable as the plots are, they are utterly fascinating and engaging. Great Romance as well, though adventure is the #1 focus. the hero and heroine spend a long time apart in most of her novels, and it is never more true than in this one.

I don’t have a specific review for this particular book, because it has been so long since I last read it. I practically know it by heart so probably will not re-read it anytime soon. I felt I had to include it, because it is a sentimental favorite and my actual favorite, along with Merlin’s Keep. The heroine is the author’s most endearing among a pantheon of very endearing heroines created by this author. And it is laugh at loud funny at times. **5 out of 5 stars**

Stormswift

by Madeleine Brent

**Kind of spoilery. a few things are revealed, but they won’t come as any surprise to a fan of this author***
What a wild ride this one was! And I believe this was my first reading. I find it hard to believe I could have missed this one, although it follows ”her” usual established plot outline and characters, and so is theoretically easy to conflate with other stories.

I believe structure-wise this is quite possibly her best book. Madeleine starts weaving her spell from the very first page, as usual. Our first person heroine-narrator had been captured and held as a wife, then the slave of an Afghanistani tribal chief, before being sold to a village doctor to whom she becomes his nurse and like a daughter. Of course, she is English and of gentle and wealthy birth, though she is now an orphan. Her “master” learns that she is to be sold to a cruel and mad rival leader and he enlists a mysterious peddler to try to get her to a British Outpost. **Spoiler**

The peddler, who turns out to be a British spy, is set up from this point to become the love interest, and the reader is all for it. He is a great character, and very similar to the many love interests in other Brent novels. A good 50 pages are spent with them on their journey and developing the relationship.**End Spoiler**

 They succeed, of course, and the rest of the book is spent on her adventures in England. When she gets to her family estate to claim her inheritance from her massacred parents, she finds she has been replaced by an impostor(!) She is cast out and is taken in by the clownish owner of a traveling Punch and Judy show and his gypsy girlfriend(!!) Before she is restored to her rightful birthright, 

**Spoiler**she learns her buddy, the puppeteer, is really a wealthy if eccentric English Lord, is taken in by his mother, is falsely accused of stealing, becomes the companion of a beautiful and benevolent lady, meets up with the peddler/spy again, tangles with a Rebecca de Winter type evil genius, and, of course, again usual in a M. Brent novel, she returns to her old stomping grounds on an exciting and benevolent mission. **End Spoiler**

 So many things happen to this girl, it is mind-boggling. What I have listed doesn’t even scratch the surface, but it flows together and makes sense.

I believe somewhere in the middle, the author changed her mind about the final fate of our heroine, Jemimah, and went in a completely different direction than what the reader was prepared for. I won’t say more, but I loved it! If this story had been written by someone else, I think that the shock of Jemimah being done out of her true identity and fortune would have taken up most of the focus of the plot. But Jemimah has so many other adventures and twists and turns in her life, that this actually gets put on the back burner. After all, she reasons, she is just lucky to be alive with shelter and food! I loved how completely justice is served, how Jemima is exonerated, and what a happy and exciting life she is set up for.

The Long Masquerade

by Madeleine Brent

When I first started The Long Masquerade, I felt sure that I had read it long long ago. But now that I’m finished I’m not so sure. The first part seemed vaguely familiar, but that was probably because it is so similar to the beginnings of her other novels. The bells it was ringing in my memory got fainter and fainter as the book went on. I could not figure out who her love interest was going to be until about the 70% mark. I was pretty sure it would be one guy, because it would have followed the pattern set in all of her previous novels. Trying to avoid spoilers here. But I got to be as impatient with the character as Casey, our heroine, was. I hoped it would turn out to be the other guy. Other than that break from her usual pattern, The Long Masquerade will hold no surprises for the Madeleine Brent devotee. Adventure, mystery, and lovable characters abound, and you will wonder why you are so enthralled, when all of her books follow the same template. It’s “her” writing, and her signature template, though pretty much unchanged throughout her novels, stands out so from other authors. Only the names and settings change. I will say that one of the twists, I did not see coming, but I had the other one I figured out from the beginning. When we finally reach the last page, we have not one or two, but four happy endings! Sigh.

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse kept thankfully very vague, and some unfortunate racial terms used towards the end. ***4 1/2 stars out of 5***

January 14, 2019

The Long Masquerade

By Madeleine Brent

When I first started The Long Masquerade, I felt sure that I had read it long long ago. But now that I’m finished I’m not so sure. The first part seemed vaguely familiar, but that was probably because it is so similar to the beginnings of her other novels. The bells it was ringing in my memory got fainter and fainter as the book went on. I could not figure out who her love interest was going to be until about the 70% mark. I was pretty sure it would be one guy, because it would have followed the pattern set in all of her previous novels. Trying to avoid spoilers here. But I got to be as impatient with the character as Casey, our heroine, was. I hoped it would turn out to be the other guy. Other than that break from her usual pattern, The Long Masquerade will hold no surprises for the Madeleine Brent devotee. Adventure, mystery, and lovable characters abound, and you will wonder why you are so enthralled, when all of her books follow the same template. It’s “her” writing, and her signature template, though pretty much unchanged throughout her novels, stands out so from other authors. Only the names and settings change. I will say that one of the twists, I did not see coming, but I had the other one I figured out from the beginning. When we finally reach the last page, we have not one or two, but four happy endings! Sigh.

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse kept thankfully very vague, and some unfortunate racial terms used towards the end.

**5 out of 5 stars**

January 14, 2019

Moonraker’s Bride

by Madeleine Brent

Madeleine Brent’s books all follow a certain pattern, but it is an intriguing and enjoyable pattern indeed! The heroine always has an unusual background outside of ordinary society. She is usually thrust into that society and the story becomes a “fish out of water” story, and then usually it becomes incumbent upon her to return to her origins to solve the mystery/rescue or become reunited with the hero. Off the top of my head, some of her heroines have been circus performers, raised by aborigines, English girl raised in China (Moonraker’s Bride),half-Caste Indian girl raised in Tibet, Daughter of a notorious Jewel Thief, A young English girl living in a Paris Garrett with a shocking past, etc. As predictable as the plots are, they are utterly fascinating and engaging. Great Romance as well, though adventure is the #1 focus. **5 stars out of 5**

October 2, 2017