Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Mask of Love

The Mask of Love is #29 in the Bantam series and was published in December 1975. Francis Marshall paints 2 similar covers for this book, which takes place in Venice during Carnival. The Marquis of Melford is visiting Venice on a secret mission for the Prime Minister while he meets Caterina, an English girl who is homesick. What happens after he leaves Venice and finds her as a stowaway is the plot of this story!!

These covers are interesting because Francis Marshall gives us a feel of the city with the canals, boats, bridges, and the townspeople dressed up! The hero wears a mask with his formal wear, but our heroine wears a long cloak over her white ball dress with a red mask and black tricorn hat! Masks are an important and popular part of carnival and mask making shops were prominent, while the makers had their own laws and guild, according to Wikipedia.

Carnival was popular from the 1200's until the 1800's when Austria took over Venice. It declined into the 1900's until the revival of a mask shop in the 1980's invigorated it again!

Some of the popularity of Cartland's books are the fact that they were plotted in different places around the world. You could "travel" without ever leaving your house! She was a stickler for history and correct facts and herself traveled to most of these locales to make sure to write a correct book.

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