The Mystery of Masks by Mary Jo Putney

The urge to dress up isn’t universal, but it is wide spread!  In historical romances, one of the fun tropes is the masquerade ball, where guests can come as Cleopatra or a Cavalier or whatever else they fancy.  Or if they don’t want a costume, they can wear sweeping, caped and hooded dominoes that disguise face and body.  Masks are a major part of the fun because they allow guests to dance with mysterious strangers, or flirt, or steal a kiss, or possibly a good deal more.  The joy of anonymity!

At a ball, the masks generally came off at midnight, at which point you find that the masked man who is a great kisser is the neighbor you thought was really boring, or some other interesting discovery.  Of course, those who really valued anonymity would sneak out before the unmasking.

I’ve use masked balls a time or two because the plot possibilities are so delicious.  In Nowhere Near Respectable, Princess Charlotte, the teenage daughter of the Prince Regent, goes in disguise to a mask where hero and heroine have to rescue her from villains.  A little too much excitement, even for a bored princess!

Most of us don’t get invited to that kind of masquerade ball, but we do have Halloween.  When I was little, Halloween was more a matter of kids and candy, but over the years, adult have been dressing up more and more.  Because dressing up is fun, and it does add a little excitement to one’s life when the grocery cashier is a vampire.

Are you someone who loves dress up?  Or do you prefer to watch and applaud from the sidelines?  Or would you rather avoid vampire cashiers altogether?

Mary Jo Putney

“Putney’s endearing characters and warm-hearted stories never fail to inspire and delight.” —Sabrina Jeffries

An Outcast On The High Seas . . .

The son of a proud naval dynasty, Gabriel Hawkins was born to command the sea, until he leaves the Royal Navy in disgrace and is disowned by his family. As captain of his own ship, he’s earned his living in ways both legal and illegal, and his experience makes him the best choice to ransom an aristocratic beauty captured by Barbary pirates.

Having avoided the traps of convention and marriage, Lady Aurora Lawrence is horrified by the prospect of spending her life as a harem slave. Her only hope of escape is a quiet, steely captain who has a history with her captor—and who will do anything to free Rory. Together they undertake a dangerous mission through troubled waters—and encounter another kind of danger as attraction burns hot within the close confines of his ship. But even if they endure the perils of the sea and enemy lands, can their love survive a return to England, where the distance between a disgraced captain and an earl’s daughter is wider than the ocean?

Praise for the Rogues Redeemed series

“A compelling story that neatly balances dangerous adventures and passionate romance.” —Booklist

“A thrilling, romantic tale.” —Bookpage, Top Pick of the Month

“Putney’s multifaceted and well-developed characters add depth to this romance, which is complete with the trials of war and the promise of future series installments.” —Publishers Weekly