4.0 out of 5 stars  There are times when you come across a cover that leaves you shaking your head wondering WTF was the publisher thinking anyway and this is definitely one of them. I promise you, there is nothing like that scene in the book anywhere.

The Masked Prince picks up right where book #1 left off (review here) with Marianne recovering from the shock of the oh-so-surprising return of someone long thought dead from her past – but he’s disappeared and not even Napoleon’s secret police can find him. And if that’s not enough, Marianne has to face the fact that her beloved Napoleon is going ahead with his plans to marry Marie Louise of Austria and get himself an heir.  I’m thinking you can guess that this doesn’t go down very well at all, especially when Napoleon is too busy sparking his new bride to give her much attention at all – and  eventually does a few things in retribution that really set off the imperial temper. 

Never fear though, our intrepid heroine will soon find other things to keep herself busy, including but not limited to being blackmailed (I can’t tell you without giving away the ending from book #1) and a marriage of necessity to a very mysterious Italian prince – what disfigurement could be so horrible that he’ll let no one see him, not even his new bride?

I found this one just a wee bit slower than the first, but still darn near unputdownable, and I have to tell you her new husband and his home in Tuscany is one spooky place and there’s plenty of things that go bump in the night. I think some readers might find Marianne’s actions regarding Napoleon at bit self-centered (she is still only seventeen), but you’ll see how in the end she gets a rude awakening in the path to true love that brings a new maturity to her character. 4/5 stars and I’ve already placed my hold on book #3 Marianne and the Privateer. From the jacket description I think we’ll be seeing more of the American Jason Beaufort. Woo hoo! These books are out of print but don’t forget to check your library and/or Interlibrary Loan.