Behind the Mask

Kim Larabee, Author Alyson Books $6.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-55583-151-6
This frothy debut novel bears the hallmarks of a formula romance in every way except one: the lovers here are women. Larabee uses 19th-century British high society and the calculated cunning of the marriage mart as the backdrop against which two young aristocrats woo and win each other. Characterization is Larabee's strength: penniless Maddie, who robs coaches because she does not want to marry for money, and the widowed countess Allie, who falls in love with Maddie at first sight, are charming in their eccentricities. As a stylist and storyteller, however, Larabee is unsophisticated, padding her text with adverbs and indulging in incidents that do little to further the plot; for example, Allie insists that she and Maddie raid a coach together. Larabee also disregards plausibility--a parsimonious victim fails to incriminate Maddie simply because she throws back his change purse at the last minute. But despite its flaws, this slight fantasy succeeds as a merry romp. Larabee even manages to foreshadow a major secret without giving it away in the process. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989
Release date: 06/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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