Queen of Tarts Review of
by Nicole Flocton
When I finished reading Masquerade my stomach was a bit in knots from the last few intense scenes. I loved it! I loved Sophie and how brave she was when she met Alex and chose to act on their connection for a night of magic. That she was holding that memory close and then to find out she would be working with him! lol I connected with the emotions of the heroine and hero and I was wrapped up in their drama…
Sophie, works hard as a emergency nurse and is very good at her job. She’s just earned a promotion and is worried about failing her responsibilities. She’s also rebounding from breaking her engagement to a coworker that she discovered was lying to her and just wanted her for her father’s money. I immediately connected to Sophie and related to her hopes and fears.
The adventure starts when she’s all dressed up and attending a New Year’s Eve Masquerade ball to represent her property tycoon father’s support. She is uncomfortable with the position that places her in, her friends from work are sitting at another table relaxed and having fun and she is placed at a table with the wealthy sponsors and feels like a fraud. But she always tries to do the right thing and it’s just one night. And it’s New Year’s Eve.
Alex is new in town and attending the hospital’s masquerade fundraiser ball is one of his first outings. He’s seated at Sophie’s table and they introduce themselves. There’s an immediate connection between them.
“She couldn’t believe she was feeling this way after only meeting him a couple of hours ago Maybe it was the mask that was heightening her emotions and reactions toward him.
She’d often heard people refer to flirting with eyes, but she’d never experienced it herself. Right at this moment, she didn’t care what he looked like. She even wondered if the spell would be broken once the masks were removed.”
They share the last dance and Alex tells her he’s been drawn to her evening but he can only offer her one night… One night. They share a New Year’s Eve kiss and Sophie decides to throw caution to the wind and enjoy one night with Alex.
I could see why she would, Alex is yummy! He’s Italian, so there’s the accent He also demonstrated respect for her feelings and didn’t assume where the evening would lead…He just hoped. And later as more is revealed about him, I loved his sense of purpose, humor and determination.
Poor Sophie! She starts her new job as the emergency room nursing unit manager and Alex, Dr. Scavoni, arrives to begin his new job as the emergency room director! I ached for her and was proud of the way she performed her duties and earned Alex’s professional respect.
“Her fantasy lover, the man she’d pushed aside her inhibitions for. He wasn’t meant to turn up for real in her life. He was meant to stay as a memory. One she pulled out of the recesses of her mind when life got too much to bear. He especially was not meant to turn up in her professional life.”
I enjoyed watching them deal with this complication in their lives and decide if they could or should pursue a relationship outside of their one unforgettable night. Sophie’s not the only one with baggage and insecurities. Alex doesn’t think he can be successful at a long term relationship because of the demands his job puts on his life and his first marriage’s resulting failure. He doubts that anyone would love him enough to put up with his stressful responsibilities.
“He closed his eyes and savored the moment. He never thought he would be able to hold Sophie in his arms again. After their night together, he consigned the yearnings of trying to find her to the depths of his sould.
He had to remember the vow he’d made to himself after his marriage collapsed. A relationship would never work with the hours he committed to his job.”
The hospital activity felt real to me and I enjoyed reading about the emergency room and seeing them work together on a professional level. And the scenes when they eventually reconnect on an emotional (and physical!) level were delicious! I loved the secondary characters too. Sophie’s best friend Phoebe is a darling. She made me laugh and recognize a true best friend. I raced through this story and couldn’t put it down.
Here are a few more fav lines.
♦”Since that moment you’ve been everywhere I look and you keep chasing when all you wanted–no, all you said you could give me–was one night. One night, Alex. So why are you still chasing?”
“Because one night was not enough.”
♦ “Sophie layed her head on his shoulder. It felt so right to be in his embrace. To be held by him…”
I recommend you pick up Masquerade and get swept up into dance of two relatable people struggling to find a balance with work and life and falling in love despite their best intentions. I was rooting for them the entire book and I love reading sweet, emotional stories like this where I end the book feeling happy.
The Queen of Tarts
PS. Oh! I have a fun interview with Nicole, click HERE to see it + a chance to win this book!