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(Two Monarchies Sequence)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  909 ratings  ·  200 reviews
Beauty met the Beast and there was . . . Bloody murder?

It’s the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, and Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is feeling pleasantly scintillated.
In the library is Lord Pecus, a charming gentleman whose double mask hides a beastly face, and who has decided that Isabella is the very person to break the Pecus curse.
Kindle Edition, 335 pages
Published February 1st 2015 (first published December 16th 2014)
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W.R. Gingell Whoops, only just saw this question, sorry!

Yes! I'm definitely going to write the earlier adventures of Annabel and Isabella: you can read about…more
Whoops, only just saw this question, sorry!

Yes! I'm definitely going to write the earlier adventures of Annabel and Isabella: you can read about Annabel's younger days in BLACKFOOT, which has just come out (April 17th, 2017), and the next book, THE STAFF AND THE CROWN, should be out by then of the year. That book will tell the story of Annabel and Isabella at school...

As for later ones, well, I'm sure Annabel and Isabella will pop in when I write Susan's book, so yes, very likely!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Michelle I keep asking questions that have already been answered =), I just realized that this questions was already asked and responded too, so we're good ;)…moreI keep asking questions that have already been answered =), I just realized that this questions was already asked and responded too, so we're good ;) (less)

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4.25  · 
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 ·  909 ratings  ·  200 reviews

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The feeling has been growing on me for a few weeks that I needed to re-read this book, so I did, and galloped through it in a couple of days. Isabella is the MOST awesomely conniving, manipulative female you will ever read about, the kind of woman who would be the villainess in 999 out of 1000 books but who works amazingly well as the heroine of this one. It helps that she connives, schemes, manipulates and plots while being strictly truthful and at bottom, principled. I love her dearly and laug ...more
Intisar Khanani
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How in the world have I not raved about this book yet? ... Well, nothing to be done but to fix that at once!

MASQUE is a regency-style, fantastical retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but it's also so much more than that. We have a murder mystery with magical elements, we have a Commander of the Watch who happens to hide his face behind a mask because... well, you know why. The dude's cursed, but that does not at all bother our intrepid and seriously smart heroine Isabella. She is such a pleasure
Sylvia Mercedes
Don't forget--Every book I read this month is a possible Book of the Month winner! At the end of the month, I'll be giving away a copy of my Book of the Month and Cover of the Month to one lucky mailing list subscriber. So be sure to subscribe if you want a chance to win some amazing Beauty and the Beast retellings!

Okay, on to my review of "Masque" . . .

I went into this one thinking I would like it. I read the first few chapters and thought I was going to be disappointed. Then, by the time I tur
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Reread this too! (2018 Reread)

Yeah, still really enjoy this one. And, since I've now read the entire trilogy from the same world, I can confirm that Isabella's sister is at least mentioned in an earlier book! Could she have been mentioned earlier in this one, absolutely! Do I really care? Not particularly! Also, I figured out why the final resolution works this time around, so Yay? (Not gonna lie, I find this so much fun - particularly Isabella - that I don't care about the flaws.)

(view spoiler)
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy readers, character-driven storyline fans
Disclaimer: I loved this book and got it for free from the author - score hard!
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Masque brings the spirit of Elizabeth Peters' delightfully forthright Amelia Peabody into a vaguely 'oh-by-the-way-Beauty and the Beast' reworking which is actually more of a Jane Austen drawing room comedy murder mystery with politics, magic, ballroom gown design, and a snarky 'talking' book thrown in for good measure. Add a starship and Gingell would have covered all the series possibilities. Fr
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it

This is a murder mystery set in a fantasy/steampunk world incorporating a unique take on the Beauty and the Beast story.

What really makes the novel special is the ironic and witty narrative voice of the wonderfully clever and very capable heroine. I spotted the murderer early on and there was some (I thought) unnecessary exposition towards the end. I would have loved some more information about the curse and how it came about, but none of these quibbles interfered with my enjoyment. Every ch
Rachel McMillan
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Delicious heroine. The voice in this is to die for.
MB (What she read)
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Do you like Georgette Heyer? T. Kingfisher? Sourcery & Cecelia? Quirky fairy-tale retellings?
You know, that was a lot of fun to read!
I always enjoy Beauty and the Beast retellings, so took a chance on this one. It was definitely quirky and fun...right down my alley! The take-charge heroine Belle reminded me of The Grand Sophy, and her interactions with the Beast were a joy as they each tried to outsmart the other, solve the crime, and protect each other and their friends and country-mates. The espionage element and murders added dramatic interest. Very fun world-building. I am looking
Denae Christine
Intrigue, curses, dancing, and spies

Reader thoughts: Lady Isabella's ability to read faces (even masked faces, even cursed faces) is truly phenomenal. She notices when people are actually teasing and when they're serious, and she responds appropriately. Most of the time she's sarcastic and prying, but she does know how to comfort and listen, too. She's a perfect ambassador.

She constantly jokes that she's an old maid and hides behind this identity (she's 28). She loves sewing and fashion, and she
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you love fantasy, mystery, love, and amazing heroines then this may be your next favorite book. I'm a huge fan of beauty and the beast stories, and while this does have that element, I'm not sure it could be called a retelling. What you get is a thoroughly inventive take on beauty and the beast, in the form of a fantasy mystery. Added to that is one of the best character voices I've read in quite a long time.

Gingell puts you in a nineteenth century-esque fantasy world with a touch of the stea
S. Usher Evans
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Masque was a book I had on my 2016 Indie-Mas TBR post, and I'm so excited that I actually read a book on my TBR (that actually happens rarely cause... SQUIRREL!). This one is as I said: A Beauty and the Beast retelling plus a murder mystery.

But the reason why I recommend this book isn't because of that (I mean, how many BatB retellings are out there?), but it was actually the protagonist. Girl was TWENTY-EIGHT and was like "Yo, I'm an old maid and I am proud of it!"

After my own heart, right?

L. Penelope
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I ❤ this book so hard! What an amazing story!! ...more
So I enjoyed this, but also DITTO ANDREE'S REVIEW RE MISSING INFORMATION. I thought for sure I was missing a whole Annabel book, but apparently it does not exist yet.

(I liked the Beauty and the Beast adaptation a lot. One of those that isn't afraid to do its own thing with the bare bones of the story.)
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, truly enjoyed it! Full review to come.

My Review

So, the gorgeous cover is what initially caught my eye in regards to this book. Then I read that it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I was completely in -- hook, line, and sinker!

But for the first half of the book, it's far more of a slight fantasy/Victorian-esque murder mystery, and screwball comedy. I absolutely LOVED Lady Farrah (aka Isabella, aka Belle)! She was such an intelligent, manipulative (in a good way), strong-mind
I love this book SO MUCH. There's murder and magic and mayhem and mystery and masks. There's a protagonist who mixes subtle snark with splendid smarts and substantial sneakery. There are colorful characters and mysterious murdering madmen and a love interest with a very interesting curse. There's humor and heart and happiness. There's a subtle fairy tale retelling. There's just so much to love here and I want to shout it from the rooftops.

Also, I would like to point out how nice it is that the
Hannah Clark
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book when Intisar Khanani posted her own review here on Goodreads. And I'm so glad she did, because not only did this book see me through an icky allergic reaction where I was laid up all day, but this book was fantastic. Truly. I can never pass up a retelling of "Beauty and The Beast." But when you add murder mystery, political intrigue, and a heroine who is just as laugh out loud funny as Sophie from Georgette Heyer's "The Grand Sophie," I'm completely smitten.

My only compl
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: retelling
What a lovely Beauty and the Beast retelling (and the Kindle edition is free on Amazon). Thanks to Mary Anne for leaving a comment on my blog to recommend this. I'm getting ready to fly back to Singapore but will try review this once things have settled down. Will probably start reading its companion novel, Spindle (and also free), soon!
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Another version of this review can be found here

***I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review***

"Love curses are always about free will and love winning out over ridiculous odds: quite honestly, it's embarrassing."

MASQUE is without doubt, a very unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The author has added to the story it's own creative flair, while only keeping the very basics of the original story intact. In this book we get the reclusive, formidable Lord Pecus who
Even though it’s not flawless, I enjoyed this hilarious, witty book. I think it’s a delightful blending of fantasy, mystery and “Beauty and the Beast” re-imagination, with a touch of “Veronica Mars”.

The plot
Lady Isabella Farrah, the daughter of New Civet’s Ambassador, is taking part to the Annual Ambassadorial Ball in Glause, when she stumbles across a murder scene: Raoul, one of her oldest friends and Civet’s Head Guardsman, is lying in a pool of his own blood.
The investigation are led by th
C.J. Anaya
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so delightfully witty. The dry humor was wonderfully understated. The premise of this exciting mystery involves a heroine, Isabella, who is a bit of a thrill seeker, discovering clues that will lead to the identity of the man who killed a long time friend of hers. She is forced to keep her investigation a secret due to the fact that Lord Pecus is intent upon heading his own investigation while keeping her safe and secure in the confines of his own home.

Lord Pecus has been cursed wi
Jen  Garren-Manning
Best book EVER!!

I'm almost speechless, and that never happens. This is the most witty, fascinating, romantic book I'll ever read. It a masterpiece, and a must read. A MUST.
I loved this book. Lord Pecus may now be one of my favourite fictional male heroes ever. And I loved Isabella’s friendships, especially her sisterly friendship with Melchior and Raoul. And SUSAN. I’M SO EXCITED FOR SUSAN’S BOOK.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I don't have enough words to describe how in love I am with this book. Scratch that, I have too many words. Imagine Jane Austen and Diana Wynne Jones had a book baby, and this is it.

It's lush, intelligent, and humorous with just that hint of darkness to keep it compelling. I didn't want it to end, and I can't remember the last time I felt that way about a book.

The Beauty and the Beast references are subtle and interwoven with a slightly bloody murder mystery. Isabella is not only a smart and cap
Jul 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Chachic
What a treat! I am a confirmed sucker for any type of Beauty & the Beast retelling and this one did not disappoint! (plus, it's FREE on kindle!)

In Ms. Gingell's version, Lady Farrah (Isabella or Belle to friends) is an ambassador's daughter whose skillful wit and penchant for intrigue has landed her in the middle a startling murder investigation. Constantly at odds with Lord Pecus (or The Beast Lord), Lady Isabella employs her not-inconsiderable mental talents to his eternal exasperation an
Bridgett Brown
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had never read a retelling of Beauty and the Beast done in such a way. I loved how this was retold, not quite what I expected. I did not want to put it down.

The story of this retelling involves a heroine, Isabella, who is a bit of a thrill seeker, discovering clues that will lead to the identity of the man who killed a long time friend of hers. She is forced to keep her investigation a secret due to the fact that Lord Pecus is intent upon heading his own investigation while keeping her safe a
Barbara Douglas
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book. It works well as a re-interpretation of a fairy tale ( though it would be nice to have been given a hint of why the curse fell.) It is also a good mystery, and a satisfying romance. As with all of this author's heroines, the main character is not inclined to mope or bewail her fate, but she is seldom stupid when she rushes in, either, which is a relief. Minor characters are also rather enjoyable (even the murderer), and the whole is quite well written, without the anno ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
LOVED this! It’s tongue-in-cheek clever! A fairy tale who-dunnit humorous thriller with sci-fi elements; while that list may sound complicated, the elements work together so well that you don’t care which genre you may or may not be reading – you just read.

I adore Isabella and Lord Pecus is awesome. The horselords made me grin, and Delysia made me laugh out loud. As for Isabella’s ‘children’? A wonderful twist indeed. Masque is well-told and well-plotted, highly amusing and also completely intri
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a really great retelling of Beauty and the Beast! I didn't know this was the second book in the series until I finished it, and I didn't have any trouble keeping up.
The voice was so unique and vibrant, it really just sang throughout the book. I liken it to Gail CarrigerSoulless

I bought this on Amazon for the amazing deal of free and I will be buying some of her other works.
Claire Banschbach
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh!! I loved this book so much! The banter, the murder-mystery! Also it's Beauty and the Beast so...
I could not stop reading! I adored all the characters, and Isabella might be one of my favorite female characters ever.

Loved the writing style and the delicious words sprinkled throughout. It was pretty much just amazing, and I have no useful information for you in this review except to go read it!

I also think I've discovered a new favorite author, so there's also that. :)
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fun out of the box retelling of beauty and the beast, in which the beast attends balls and wanders around the city in a mask, and also happens to be the local chief of police. Beauty's favorite hobbies include political machinations and stirring up all sorts of trouble. And all of it is centered around a murder mystery.
This was a quick fun read that I would recommend for anyone who likes fairy tale retellings.
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W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who is definitely not getting old. She loves to rewrite fairytales with a twist or two—and a murder or three—and original fantasy where dragons, enchantresses, and other magical creatures abound. Occasionally she will also dip her toes into the waters of SciFi.

W.R. spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire t

Other books in the series

Two Monarchies Sequence (4 books)
  • Spindle (Two Monarchies Sequence, #1)
  • Blackfoot (Two Monarchies Sequence, #2)
  • Staff & Crown (Two Monarchies Sequence, #3)
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“Of course he burst through the door. It cracked against the massive slabs that formed the stone walls, sending splinters flying, and I didn’t have to try very hard for the startled jump as Lord Pecus strode into the room.
I gave a maidenly shriek, and in a moment of truly inspired acting, snatched my dressing gown from the bed to my chest and assumed pose #35, Maidenly Horror. Hands clasped below the breasts and clutching my dressing gown as if to protect girlish modesty, eyes wide- maybe finishing school had been useful for something after all. I thought I might have gone too far, but Lord Pecus, who at my shriek had stopped two strides into the room with a look of horror on his mask, hastily turned his face to the wall. He tried to utter a disjointed apology but I threw one of the pot-pourri bowls at him, and it smashed satisfyingly on the wall, cutting off the attempt.”
“I was sitting at the dressing table, brushing out my hair, when a loud, abrupt tattoo was pounded on my door. I smiled at myself in the mirror, and rose from the low stool. My bowl of pot-pourri was to hand: I was ready.
“Who is it?” I called out.
“Dinner is ready,” said Lord Pecus’ voice. It sounded as though he were speaking through clenched teeth. “You have five minutes.”
“I’m not coming down,” I retorted. “Go away!”
“Lady Farrah, if you’re not out of your room in the next few minutes, I’ll fetch you out.”
I winced, but it had to be said. “You wouldn’t dare!”
The puerility of it was embarrassing. Fortunately, Lord Pecus was too annoyed to notice. “Two minutes, Lady Farrah!”
“I absolutely refuse to come out!”
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