Tuesday, June 30, 2015

REVIEW: Masque: Choices by Caridad Martin

Gaston Leroux Phantom of the Opera Romance Series Book One

Book Blurb: Erik is dying. Not once in his life has anyone ever loved him, not even his mother. Every day his heart fails him more and he is desperate not to die alone. He hides his face and past sins behind a mask. Erik is dying and has fallen desperately, obsessively in love.Christine Daaé, a rising star at the Paris Opéra is kidnapped by Erik, her voice tutor. When her childhood sweetheart attempts to rescue her, he gets trapped in Erik’s torture chamber. Erik gives her a choice, marry him or watch her lover die an agonizing death. Defeated, she agrees to the marriage in name only.
    The Persian has intimate knowledge of Erik’s bloody past. He followed him, across continents to keep a check on Erik’s sanity. Erik asks for his help to marry Christine.
    Erik doesn’t ask for much:
    “A living wife. A companion for a short while, before I die...A few months at most. We both know I am at the end...how long can my heart hold out? Pain grips my heart, threatening to shred it to bits. Even I,” he said after a slow, reflective pause, “even I, deserve a little joy before my wretched life comes to a close. The desolation alone is killing me.”
    The Persian's soft heart drives him to agree to support Erik’s last chance for love. Alone with Christine for a few moments, he feels he must warn her: “If he ever comes to believe that you have betrayed him, he will hurt you, Christine…If you ever need my help, wear red, as much red as you can find.”
    Erik finally has the companion he has always dreamed of, he cannot hope for more…but he does. His heart, though failing, dreams of romance and love. With her soft caresses and innocent brushes against his body—he thinks she desires the marriage bed as well as the marriage. Is he reading more than he should into her actions? Though he yearns for her love and lusts after her body, Erik knows they’re forbidden fruit for someone like him.
    Christine is determined to honor her marriage vows, though she’ll love Raoul forever and has promised herself to remain faithful to him. But, the more time she spends with her husband, the more she’s drawn to him, falling under the spell of his music and the tender wounded soul he desperately tries to hide behind his mask. An orphan for years, she longs to have a home of her own. Could she come to consider the house by the lake her home? Although she gave Raoul her heart and soul, can she put aside her past with Raoul and give her tormented husband the compassion he needs?
    Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, has loved Christine for years and refuses to let his title stand in the way of their happiness. He is even willing to defy his older brother to be with her. Despite his love, Raoul fails to save her from Erik. When Raoul meets Christine again, he tries to free her from the bonds of marriage. Raoul, dashing and impetuous, will not give up his quest to save his fiancé. He is determined to fight the Phantom himself, to be with Christine.
    Erik finds his mask cannot protect his heart from the anguish of unrequited love and he explodes in a jealous rage, his obsession spiraling out of control. His passion for Christine has brought him to the brink of insanity and threatens to destroy them both.
    Christine wants both men for different reasons, setting off a personal crisis, but she must choose: fight for her husband’s sanity, her marriage and the life they have made together in the dark or go with the handsome Raoul to live in the light
    This love story, is a Gothic thriller that explores the resiliency of true love, the dignity of the human spirit and challenges our perception of sanity and beauty.

My Review: This book starts off when Christine has to make a choice between saving Raoul or letting him die. Of course she saves him but in return she has to marry Erik and be his living wife. They marry in a secret ceremony with only a few in attendance. Erik treats Christine very well by constantly buying her the best of everything. Eventually she starts to fall for him. Meanwhile Raoul is planning to save her from the Phantom and makes plans to meet her at Madame Giry's and pretty much kidnap her. Erik happens to find her there with him while Raoul is forcing himself on her but he misconstrues the situation. This in turn causes him to burn all her clothes and possessions only leaving her a nightgown to wear. He locks her in her room for weeks on end only bringing her food and emptying the bucket he leaves her to relieve herself. Of course he ends up going off the deep end and by the end of the book the Persian helps her escape Erik. 

I loved this book. I'm very much waiting impatiently for book two to be released. This book is one of the better Phantom of the Opera variations out there and I highly recommend it. 

Rating: ★★★★★

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