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Masquerade by Anne Shade

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreakingly Beautiful

Celine’s life is turned upside down when a scandal means her family have to move to Harlem. There she meets Dinah, who enlightens her and awakens desires in Celine for love and life she hadn’t allowed herself to previously embrace but when the past catches up with both Dinah and Celine, a gangster sets her sights on Celine. Dinah and Celine are forced to make heart-breaking decisions for the sake of their love but are unsure of the consequences that could come as a result.

This story made me happy and at the same time broke my heart! It was filled with passion and drama that made for an exciting story, packed with emotions that take the reader on quite the ride. It was everything I had expected and so much more. The story was dramatic, and I just couldn’t put it down. I had no idea how the story was going to go, and at times I was worried it would all end in a dramatic gangster ending, but that just added to the thrill. It was a much an adventure for Celine into behind the glamour that sugar-coats some of the darker elements that surrounded that period of time, for women, different races, and classes. Not only did I learn from this story but I felt a great sense of connection, mostly emotionally to Celine, Dinah, and those that surrounded them and added to the story.

What Anne covers in this story is very sensitive, highlighting not only the indifferences between race but also sexual orientation as it was perceived in the 1920’s and that was quite the insight. Everything was handled sensitively but realistically and I very much related to it being as accurate of the times as my knowledge but also gave me further understanding and insight into that historic time, which I just love. Learning of experiences and seeing just how hard it was for two people to fall in love with who they wanted to, rather than what was expected, and experiencing these challenges with both Dinah and Celine was certainly more than I expected.

I really felt I could connect with them both. Celine was more reserved and had a lot to overcome if only she could embrace it, whereas Dinah was the experience, carefully guiding Celine and supporting her in becoming her true self. They were both terribly brave and I admired all they did, went through, and their morals. They were very admirable and they deserved all the happiness in the world, even if again that emotionally challenged them. I really felt I got to know Celine and Dinah quite intimately and going through all they went through with them gave me a great empathy for them both and their circumstances. In some ways it was quite tragic but I had a lot of hope and could hold onto it, even during the moments when my heart was breaking for both Dinah and Celine.

An amazing historical romance that I can’t help but recommend it. This was my first story by Anne Shade and it won’t be my last. I was completely moved by this story, it was so beautiful and emotional, I just couldn’t hope but become invested in supporting Celine and Dinah, wishing them all the happiness, and hope we may see Celine and Dinah again in future.

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Official LESBIreviewed Review Certificate for MASQUERADE:

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