By Georgette Heyer
Harlequin, 2004. 409 pgs. Romance.
In The Masqueraders, Heyer takes the classically unbelievable plot-line of gender-swapping and gives it at least a twinge of reality, and more than a good dose of humor. Prudence and her younger brother Robin travel to London to meet their adventurer of a father. This seems simple enough, but because the siblings are escaped Jacobites, an offense punishable by death, they must masquerade as each other – namely, large Prudence poses as 20 year old Peter, while tiny Robin makes a charming Lady Kate. The problem comes in when each of them falls in love with a member of the London high society and must skillfully reveal themselves to their intended partners.
For me Georgette Heyer is the comfort food of books – I read her when life seems wobbly and uncomfortable because she is a constant. While her plots and characters, and even period language, may change, the tone and atmosphere of her regency-era quasi-romances stay immutably the same. Each of her books, and this one in particular, are charmingly elegant, humorous, and playful. You will not be able to help yourself from smiling the whole time – your cheek muscles may hurt by the end, but your spirit will inevitably be in better condition.