“Unmasking Miss Appleby” is the first book in Emily Larkin’s Baleful Godmother Series, and let me tell you- if the other books in this series are anything like this one, I am IN! Larkin is a new author to me, and, to be honest, the book description is what particularly caught me with this one. Read on…
Charlotte, in a very Cinderella-type set up, has been mistreated ever since the death of her father. On her 25th birthday, Charlotte is visited by a fairy “godmother” of sorts, and is offered one magical wish. She chooses metamorphosis, which means that she can change into any living creature at will for the rest of her life. Charlotte decides to use this new gift to live as a man so that she can be employed as a secretary to a prominent man. So much craziness ensues.
I could not put this book down. I expected it to be interesting, based on the description, but I didn’t expect to be completely captivated by the story. The writing is very good, and the pacing is just right. There is a great side mystery which helps the plot to click along, as well as allowing for character development along the way. I especially enjoyed the reactions of Charlotte as a guy, being exposed to things that a woman of that time-period normally wouldn’t be exposed to. I thought the author handled the whole “woman in a man’s body” well with realistic reactions. I wish that the intimate scenes had been from Charlotte’s perspective so that we could have a better understanding of the effect they had on her and future decisions.
Marcus is a great character, especially because he is a very real man. There are acknowledged flaws and weaknesses, as well as goodness and kindness, sweat and tears. He came alive on the page for me, and I wanted nothing more than for him to end up with our heroine. I also liked how Charlotte was not a great beauty; she’s just an ordinary girl with some ambition and creativity. She’s so easy to identify with, and allows any woman who reads this book to picture what it would be like to peek behind those “male only” doors.
The Bottom Line-
While not perfect, this book was so enjoyable and intriguing that it will stay with me for a long time. I will be waiting for the rest of the series with anticipation. This was such a nice departure from typical historical romances: just a dash of fantasy thrown in to make it interesting. 5 stars