Book review: Masquerade byÂ Hannah Fielding
It's not just the classic pair of star-crossed lovers who capture hearts in the second book of Hannah Fielding's sun-kissed AndalucÃan Nights Trilogy.
Even the red-hot passions and simmering mystery at the beating heart of this gorgeous winter-warmer are in danger of being eclipsed by the sizzling evocation of Spain’s breathtaking blend of sun, sea and mountains.
Masquerade comes from the pen of a multi-award winning romance author who was born and grew up in Alexandria, Egypt, and is the granddaughter of Esther Fanous, a revolutionary feminist and writer in Egypt during the early 20th century.Fielding’s romantic and atmospheric epics, including The Echoes of Love, described by one critic as one of the most romantic
works of fiction ever written, are noted for their creative style and alluring portrayal of Europe’s most seductive destinations.
In the follow-up to Indiscretion, an epic family saga set in the 1950s, Fielding moves forward 25 years and one generation for the captivating tale of Luz de Rueda, beautiful young daughter of Count Salvador de Rueda and his half-English, half-Spanish wife Alexandra.
Their torrid romance bewitched us in the first book of this sumptuous series and now daughter Luz finds herself embroiled in an illicit gypsy love affair which draws her into a world of secrets, deception and dark desire.
After years at boarding school and university in England, 24-year-old Luz returns to her beloved Spain in the summer of 1976 vowing that she is back to stay and eager to continue her successful career as a biographer.
On her first day back in Cádiz, she meets handsome young gypsy Leandro and is immediately bewitched by his amused arrogance, wild spirit and overwhelming masculinity. He lights a flame deep inside Luz even though she knows that he is a ‘gitano’ and that relationships with his kind are taboo.
Somewhere in her family history is a scandal involving the gitanos that is never discussed and she has long suspected that is why she was swept off to the protective cocoon of an English school.Haunted by her forbidden love for Leandro, Luz is commissioned to write a biography of artist Count Eduardo Raphael Ruiz de Salazar, one of the great painters of modern Spain, by his nephew, Andrés de Calderón.
Her new employer, the sophisticated, wealthy and well-travelled Andrés, is energetic, fast-living and highly respected but what strikes her most about him is his startling physical similarity to Leandro.
Luz is further unsettled by a sinister gypsy woman’s warning that ‘Gemini’ is her fate and that if she tries to avoid her destiny, she will be cursed.
Meanwhile Leandro and Andrés are stirring up unfamiliar and exhilarating feelings in Luz and she soon discovers that mystery and danger surround them both in ways she could never have imagined…True to form, Fielding brings us a story packed with high emotion and high drama, all set against the stunning backdrop of Cádiz and the exciting sights, sounds, smells and culinary delights of beautiful Andalusia.
From the vibrant atmosphere of a gypsy dance festival and a magnificent masquerade ball for the rich and famous to sultry passions and blood-soaked bullfights, this is post-Franco Spain indulging in its new-found hope and spirit of freedom.
A tasty treat for all true romantics…(London Wall Publishing, paperback, Â£7.99)