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Masque of Honor: A Historical Novel of the American South

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  74 reviews
In this coming-of-age tale set in early 19th century America, two sons of the Virginia aristocracy risk it all to defend their dreams and determine their own destinies. 

General Armistead Mason and John “Jack” Mason McCarty are brothers-in-law, second cousins and descendants of founding father George Mason IV. Ambitious and headstrong, together they set out to find love, ac
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 9th 2021 by RosettaBooks
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and with half my family residing in Virginia, I’m surprised I’ve not read more historicals set in the commonwealth. What a story this is.

Masque of Honor begins with a duel between two brothers-in-law, also cousins, and on top of that, both descendants of George Mason, a "founding father."

The reader doesn’t learn the outcome of the duel until much later in the story. The rest of the book is about each of these men and their families. One man is a p
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up for a slow moving historical fiction book based on an actual duel. The duel took place in 1819 in Maryland between General Armistead Mason and John "Jack" Mason McCarty, brothers-in-law and 2nd cousins. They are Virginia aristocrats, both descendants of founding father George Mason IV. Their animosity goes back to the War of 1812, and continues until Armistead challenges Jack to a duel, to defend his honor. Friends and family persuade them to declare a truce. But the truce i ...more
Larry H
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
4.5 stars.

Masque of Honor , Sharon Virts' new novel, is a truly fascinating and compelling historical novel full of action and drama.

On a cold, snowy February morning in 1819 (ironically 202 years and 1 day before I wrote this), two men stand ready to duel to the death. They are Armistead Mason and Jack Mason McCarty, second cousins, brothers-in-law, and descendants of American founding father George Mason IV. Only one man will survive. (Doesn't this almost sound a little Hamilton -esque?)
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just love reading about this coming-of-age story about these two young men, the heirs of Virginia aristocracy and political legacy from the colonial south.

The writing of Sharon Virts is completely engaging, immersive and quite readable. I really had fun learning about this time frame and the delivery of the family backgrounds in a well researched story based on true events, giving a fascinating read that is quite unputdownable.

The characters literally jump off the page as Virts slowly builds
Rita Seymour
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Rita by: Sharon Virts
I was given the opportunity to have a early read of this novel and I feel so honored to have had the chance.
As a Canadian reading a American historical novel set in the South I was a little apprehensive about reading this and hoping I could following along with the history.
But Sharon has done a wonderful job in pulling the reader into the era and making us feel we are there! With the added thoughts and life challenges of family members surrounding the main characters it gives the book a lighte
Steven Frederickson
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I got the opportunity from the author to be an early reader. Wow! The book draws you in from the start. The amazingly descriptive writing brings you right into the period and causes you to go through the same struggles that the characters do in the book. You know it is a great book when you find yourself thinking about the story and the characters when you're going about your daily life. If you enjoy history and a great drama, you'll love this writer's work. And the ending......
Truly captivating
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!! I was lucky to get to read this book early and once I started reading I got swept up in the story. The characters were developed so fully and their lives written about so vividly that I was able to see them in my minds eye. The theme of the story is so well crafted that it really takes you back in time. I did not want this book to end.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A riveting novel that brings history to life in a very engaging tale of honor, pride, and ambition.

Armistead Mason and Jack McCarty’s families were related. Their parents were cousins, they were neighbors, and eventually, they became brothers-in-law when Jack’s brother William married Armistead’s sister Emily.

Despite their family connection, the two men had opposing political beliefs and aspirations that kept throwing them against one another.

Their combative nature turned their political rivalry
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freebies, arcs
I was given the opportunity to read an Advance Reader Copy (Uncorrected Proof) from the author.

This book was fantabulous! The prologue starts out with a duel between Armistead (Armie) Mason and Jack McCarty. We don't know exactly how the duel ends until closer to the end. The book then tells us the stories of both of these men - their families, their loves and the discontent between these two men and what led to their duel.

The descriptions and story-telling are so rich that you feel as though yo
Feb 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-arcs
What an opening scene! The atmospheric setup for the duel between Armistead Mason and Jack McCarty set the tone for the rest of the novel. It's the intro that hooks you and the prose that keeps you rooted. You can see Virts' well researched knowledge flowing through the pages as the rivalry between these two men escalates. I found myself intrigued by the underlying issues but also caught up in their personal affairs as well. I am not one for politics and still found myself captivated by the unde ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Selma Mansion and hear a preview of the book. It got my attention quickly and I cannot wait to read the entire book. Learning more history on the Historic Selma Mansion always gets my attention. This book is definitely for the history loving fans. Go reserve your copy now!
Feb 09, 2021 added it
Sharon Virts truly brings history to life in this meticulously researched retelling of the 1819 Mason-McCarty duel. Her characters leap off the page in vivid detail as she recounts the events that began at the tail end of The War of 1812 and culminated in the ultimate challenge on the “field of honor.”

The backstory to this book is really interesting. Virts purchased the Mason plantation manor home, Selma, and became interested in the man who built it, General Armistead Mason. Mason is the man w
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
At the end of the book in the epilogue I discovered that the author based this story on historical stories, papers, and researching after purchasing the historical home she bought.
Even thought the book had a few slow moving spots, the story line was very intriguing, made even more so when I found out that it was partly based on facts.
Amazing. Those who are interested in history but prefers fiction this book is for you.
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2021
Masque of Honor⁣
by Sharon Virts ⁣

Masque of Honor based on historical events of the 1819 Mason-McCarty duel.⁣
It starts with family trees; it was so exciting to go over the names. Armistead and Jack are descendants of George Mason IV. They both are trying to achieve respect and love on their own, but they end up in the dueling ground. Through the story, you get to know each man and their family. ⁣

I really liked how the writing and detailed description pulled me into the era and made me feel I wa
Jason Richards
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was provided an early copy of the book by the author. I was immediately pulled-in by the characters and the dramatic story that unfolds. It was a hard book to put down as I was taken to "another time" and the detail of the characters and depth of the story kept me fully engaged from beginning to end. The story builds to an incredible crescendo that you will think about long after you have finished reading the book. I strongly recommend this book. ...more
Scott F
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the prologue, this novel compels you to keep reading. The main characters and all the supporting are developed in a way that it’s hard to pick a favorite. Compelling. Beautifully written.
Crystal Cheryl
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was given the chance as one of the first to read the book. I have followed Sharon and Selma for a few years on her Facebook pages and visited Selma for an early reading of the book last Christmas. I am a proud Virginian and couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I loved everything about the book from the first glance of the cover with the grand Miss Selma standing proud on the cover with her towering columns. Sharon was very descriptive throughout the entire book. I could perfectly imagin ...more
Richard Dominguez
Set in 1816 Virginia, Sharon Virts weaves a marvelous story (based on true events) of 2 aristocratic brother-in-laws Armistead Mason and John Mason Mcarty who are willing to fight to defend their own dreams and their own futures on their own terms.
Sharon does an amazing job of recreating the past and dropping her readers right into the middle of it. Her description of Selma Manor is staggering in it's detail, while her characters are alive with style, passion and conviction. Settings, customs,
Linda McCutcheon
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Through the blizzarding snow, he fixed his eyes on Armistead's...Adrenaline released into his veins. He tightened his grasp on the musket's stock. There was no turning back."

Author Sharon Virts can write a tension filled duel scene like no other. I literally sat up in bed my heart pounding as I read the above passage.

The Masque of Honor by Sharon Virts is the epic tale based on the very real 1819 Mason - McCarty duel. It is a story about dreams, bravery, family, sacrifice and, above all, honor.
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are a fan of historical fiction, this new book by Sharon Virts is for you. It is based on the historical events of the 1819 Mason-McCarty duel. You might be like me and say what/who is this about? This is the reason why I love historical fiction. You learn a part of history through factual events mixed with a slice of fiction to make reading about something historical a pleasure, and not something that feels like homework. The novel will bring you back to a place and time where dueling, y ...more
Booksandchinooks (Laurie)
Feb 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
In writing this historical fiction novel the author has chosen interesting characters and an unique point in time. Focusing on Virginia’s aristocracy in 1819, we get to meet men where their honour is everything. We begin with a duel between the two men. These men are brothers-in-law and descendants of founding father George Mason. This is a beautifully written well researched book and I enjoyed the time period. Historical fiction fans will definitely enjoy this one.
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great historical novel this was and my first one I have ever read ! Love this whole time period so intriguing this book was ! Love , love lost , love found and love always winning in the end ! Truly admired this novel so wonderfully written with history and passion and politics ! Definitely a must read for sure ! Loved the hero and heroin in the book the story of Lucinda and Jack ! The rivalry between Armistead and Jack until the bitter end ending in a duel where only one man can come out ...more
Suzy Quinn
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2021
I’m not generally a huge fan of historical fiction, but absolutely loved this mesmerizing page-turner. The complex characters come alive through the pages of this compelling story, and I’ve found myself thinking about them ever since I turned the final page. As I do when watching The Crown, I found myself Googling to find out which parts were imagined, and which were ripped from the headlines of history. I learned a lot along the way and really enjoyed the journey—highly recommend!
Debi Salanitro
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I'm a bit of a historical fiction snob. I have a few friends who are indeed well-published in the genre and I thought I was quite happy.
I found Sharon Virts and her new book purely by accident, scrolling Facebook one night.
Once I found the novel was based on her historical home, I knew I had to read it.
I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN. The characters are well developed and engaging, I found myself actually talking to them through the book.
Historical details are deftly woven throughou
Alana Bowen
Jan 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Masque of Honor was my first historical fiction and I LOVED IT. The story and characters are INCREDIBLE and I couldn't stop turning the pages. ...more
Margie Martin
Feb 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written, good story, intriguing history!
Valerie Fazio
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-giveaways
A historical fiction novel based on one of the greatest untaught events in Virginia/colonial history.

I’ve lived in the northern Virginia area my entire life, 20 minutes from George Mason Uni, and never in my life have I leaned about this historical event in any classroom. I am extremely blessed to have received an advanced readers copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I love historical fiction novels, especially when they are about Virginia’s history.

Definitely worth a read when this
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed the book, great historical fiction! The author does a great job bringing the characters and events to life. Living in Virginia, close to where the duel took place, makes it even more real. Her website has lots of interesting background information on the people and events in the book - make sure to check that out too -
Tina Armstrong
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I received the first 4 chapters of this book and could not wait for it to come out.

Now it's here!

Started to read it again last night....and this book has me hooked! These characters just pull you in.
Don Kimball
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Like an inspired artist with a multi-colored palette, Sharon Virts paints the vivid scenery of her novel in a manner that makes its early 19th century setting come to life. We see the historical characters “in situ” and they appear as the real people they were, filled out with the personality and passions that only a great fiction writer can produce.

While some authors of historical fiction use history as incidental to the story, a part of the blurry background, “Masque” is different. It is deep
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