Book Detail

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Excerpt

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Historical Notes

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All Romance

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Mask of Night ImageA glittering ball, a whisper of intrigue, and a couple with secrets…

Regency London’s most glamorous couple, Mélanie and Charles Fraser have hidden their pasts from aristocratic society– and each other — to become the envy of the ton. But, when attending a 12th night masquerade, a mysterious masked man is found stabbed to the heart, and all their misdeeds and secrets may be dragged into full, merciless light. Mélanie’s previous ties to the Empress Josephine — including a promise to her desperate daughter Queen Hortense–and Charles’s secret work for the British government thrust them both into the search for the killer, taking them from Seven Dials to Mayfair, from viperous thieves’ dens to candlelit ballrooms, where the glitter of diamonds can mask the gleam of a knife…

134 Responses to “The Mask of Night”

  1. srb Says:

    When will this book be out? I loved the first 2!

  2. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for posting, srb! It’s wonderful to know you loved the first two books! Unfortunately I don’t have a contract for “The Mask of Night” and subsequent books yet (though “Mask” is finished). It will have to do with how the trade editions of the first two do. So I should know something soon. I’ll post about it on the site as soon as I do.

  3. Donna H. Says:

    I just finished rereading Beneath a Silent Moon and enjoyed even more than the first time, although I confess I still end up going back to the family trees to remember where each person supposedly belongs. Best of wishes in gaining a contract for Mask of Night!

  4. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Donna! Great to know the book held up and even worked better on a second reading! Hope you enjoyed the new extras. Yes, it definitely is a book where family trees are a necessity :-).

    Thanks for the good wishes!

  5. Ashley Says:

    I just finished reading Beneath a Silent Moon and couldn’t put it down. I can’t believe I missed out on the first book – I won’t be able to get my hands on it fast enough. Your creativity, plot twists and attention to detail have inspired me…I can’t wait for the Mask of Night to be released.

  6. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Ashley! I’m so glad you enjoyed “Beneath a Silent Moon”! Do let me know what you think when you read “Secrets of a Lady”–I always love hearing people’s reactions depending on the other they read the books in. It sounds as though you are a writer yourself? What kind of books do you write?

  7. Christian Says:

    Hello,

    Any news on when the next book and subsequent books will be published? I loved the first two books!

    Christian

  8. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Christian! I’m actually hopeful of having news soon on the next books but don’t know anything definite yet. As soon as I do, I’ll update the site. Meanwhile, there are now detail pages on the site for the next two books (and links to excerpts from “The Mask of Night”).

  9. Donna Damon Says:

    Hi Tracy,
    Loved your books. I read Beneath a Silent Moon first, didn’t know it was supposed to be the other way around. I really don’t think the order mattered. Please tell me you have more information on the next book. I really can’t wait to read more about Charles and Melanie.

  10. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Donna! “Beneath” was written second, but there’s no set order for reading the first two books. I tried to write them so you could start the series with either book, and each reinforced the other and added shadings without a lot of spoilers. I’m always curious when people start with “Beneath”–what was it like reading that book and then learning about Mélanie’s past in “Secrets”? Did it change your view of the events of “Beneath” at all in retrospect?

    Still no definite news on the next books–will post as soon as I have some!

  11. Donna Says:

    Hi Tracy,
    I think reading Beneath first gave me a better sense of the strength of both Charles and Melanie. Then when you move on to Secrets I think you see that strength which ultimately helps them overcome the new events. Afterall, their relationship isn’t about romance it goes so much deeper than that. I think that’s what draws women to Charles – you gave him such a respect for women. And you made Melanie so strong without making her Ramboish. Excellent job.

  12. Tracy Grant Says:

    That’s a good point, Donna. I do think the events of “Beneath” add texture to their relationship which explains both how painful Mélanie’s betrayal is and how they are able to past it. At least I hope that’s how it comes across :-). Thanks for nice words about Charles and Mel!

  13. Monisha Says:

    Hi Tracy

    So glad to hear that The Mask is in progress…loved reading the excerpts. Hope you’ve got contracts for Book 3 & 4 …any idea when they’ll be out?

  14. Donna Damon Says:

    Tracy,
    Any news on when the new book will be out.


  15. […] who has only been mentioned in the published books so far but who plays an important role in The Mask of Night along with his wife, Lady Isobel (David’s sister). Thinking back over my earlier books […]

  16. starr Says:

    What I love best of these books are how layered and interesting the characters are; the dialogue plays a huge role in this. For everything that is said by a character, the reader gets a sense of what is being held back and not said–there seems to be so much backstory that isn’t mentioned that makes you want to know more about the people in the books.
    I think my favorite piece of dialogue is between Melanie and Raoul, when he says something like, “How dreadfully sentimental” when she figures out who the lock of hair on his watch fob belongs to. Just for that scene alone I’d love for the books to be adapted for a movie.
    Not sure who would be best cast in the movie. I saw your choices; based on looks (don’t know about her acting ability) Elizabeth Hurley could be a good fit for Melanie, but I’m not seeing David Duchovney as Charles. I’d say Matthew McFadyen (except that he’s imprinted in my brain as Mr. Darcy from P&P so that might be a bit too weird).

  17. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for posting, Donna! Your lovely words about the books were the nicest present to come home to after Thanksgiving dinner with my family. It’s great to know you think the dialogue works so well. I love that exchange between Mel and Raoul–it’s one of my favorite scenes in the series. It alone makes me so want to write a book (or books) in which Raoul plays a more central role. I would love to see that scene filmed. I thnk Matthew McFadyen would make a great Charles (he less totally imprinted on my brain as Darcy because I first saw him in MI-5/Spooks). Who would you cast as Raoul?

  18. starr Says:

    Good question. I’m having a hard time thinking of somebody!
    However, an even better possibility for Melanie has occurred to me–the actress who played opposite Daniel Craig in his first James Bond movie (Eva Green, I think?).
    The problem with Elizabeth Hurley (as well as many A list actors or celebrities) is that they are constantly on magazine covers, etc. that when you watch them onscreen it’s hard to lose sight of the fact that it’s Nicole Kidman or Matt Damon or whoever that you are watching, rather than just seeing the character in the story.

  19. Tracy Grant Says:

    When I saw “Casino Royale,” I thought Eva Green would make a great Mélanie. She has the right look and (at least in that part) the right manner, with a bit of an edge. It can sometimes be hard to forget one is watching a well-known actor. Though I saw Nicole Kidman on Broadway in a play called “Blue Room” in which she played several different character (five or six, I think, it’s a David Hare retelling of “La Ronde”) and she disappeared amazingly into each part. During the curtain call, she suddenly stood a little differently, and I thought “oh, now, she looks like Nicole Kidman,” and I realized she hadn’t looked or acted like Nicole Kidman for the course of the play. I actually picked Elizabeth Hurley as my image for Mel because when I was first writing “Secrets of a Lady”/”Daughter of the Game,” she was doing a lot of Estée Lauder ads so there were lots of different images of her in different roles, from ingenue to sophisticate, and Mélanie needed to have that ability to transform herself. Also, Elizabeth Hurley played a very Mélanie-esque character in one of the “Sharpe” episodes on television.

    Do post more casting ideas if they occur to you!

  20. Angelique Says:

    Hello Tracy,

    First off, just wanted to say how much I adore the first two books. Picked them up on a whim last week, and once I started I didn’t stop reading for 3 days (other then pesky interruptions like work and a social life) until I finished both. I simply fell in love, especially the “real time’ pace and details that let you really sink in. Both times I was amazed at the end, realizing after all that plot only a few days had actually passed in the world of the story. I hope that will continue to be a staple in the series.
    Plus, reading the first few posts on this thread, I realize how spolied I am as a series reader. Most of the authors I am loyal to already have a huge following, or have elements that make them very sellable very quickly. Such as being displayed in a section of the bookstore that caters to a specific audience like romance, or mystery . Usually when I am impatiently waiting for the next installment it’s because it’s not finished yet. Never before was it due to contracts, marketing, and waiting to see how re-releases do finanically. I can’t think of anything more funstrating (for your fans and for you) especially since your stories are wonderful, and deserve a loyal audience! Wow, sorry, got a little passionate with my rant there. Obviously I feel very strongly about your work :)

  21. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Angelique! Your comments were the nicest Monday morning present to wake up t0 :-). I love writing books with compressed time frames–“The Mask of Night” also takes place in a few days, and Book # 4 and subsequent books in the series will follow suit.

    What other series do you read?

  22. Angelique Says:

    The full list would go on forever… I often start series or trilogies when I’m in between books and feel honor bound to finish them out. But as for the ones I tend to advance order…
    Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Amanda Quick. Some of her books are mini-series, many are not but take place in the same world and mention previous characters.
    Jayne Ann Krentz writing as herself. Same description.
    Nora Roberts. Ditto. Also lots of trilogies.
    Julia Quinn. Ditto. Lovely sense of humor.
    The Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries by Carrie Bebris. Not usually a big fan of the flood of Jane Austen sequels etc, but it’s quite a bit of fun.
    The Thursady Next series by Jasper Fforde. Quite Abstarct and full of references to classic british novels and the “rules of writing”. A series specifically for readers, or you won’t get the jokes, which are quite sharp.
    I’m sure there’s more, but that’s off the top of my head. Oh, and books I think I’ll be waiting for till the day I die becuase they will NEVER come out..
    The next promised novel by Audrey Niffenegger author of The time traveler’s wife. Simply my favorite book of the last 10 years. And the sequel to Hugh Laurie’s The Gunseller. Successful authors simply should not be allowed other full time jobs. JK :)

  23. Tracy Grant Says:

    I love the way Amannda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz, Nora Roberts, and Julia Quinn have a wide world of characters they return to. I haven’t read the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy books, The Thursday Next series, The Time Traveler’s Wife, or The Gunseller, though I’ve heard good things about all (and I’m particularly intrigued by the Thursday next books because of the literary references).

    It is hard waiting for the next book by a favorite author, particularly when it’s part of a series. I read Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles when they were all written, and I could devour them over one summer. At the time I thought “it would have been really hard to read these as they were written and wait for the next book.” Then she wrote the Niccolo series, and I had to go just that. But speculating about the books with other readers along the way was very fun.

  24. Angelique Says:

    First, can I just say what a fantastic experience I’m having right now. It’s surreal enough having the author of a book I couldn’t put down just yesterday writing me back, but responding so quickly is extreamly generous of you. I know you must be busy.

    I would definitly recommend the Thursday Next series, which really goes all out by book 3. Also The Time Traveler’s wife, which reminds me of your books in tone now that I think of it. It’s not time compressed as a whole, it takes place over about 20 years, but each scene and moment is. In real time and highly detailed. Plus the romance/relashinship is a fantasy but also realistic with all it’s problems. Even the “not traditionally happy” yet not completely tragic ending either.

    Next, I am going to check out the books you mentioned above. I also appreciate any recomendations, especially from someone whose taste I obviously like :) It makes waiting easier, plus I may love it just as much as what I’m waiting for.

    Third, you were right about disscussing with others helpful in-between. I had a friend from school who introduced me to many of my favorite authors, and our taste was very alike. We eventually parted ways for many reasons, but I still think of her often. Unfortunatly, I somehow ended up with very few readers in my life, or not with the same taste. No clue how that happened. I have a co-worker who reads some of the same books but not for the same reasons. I’m trying to convince her to hurry up and finish the 5 books she’s in the middle of and read yours. I want her take on them. I know online chats are avalible, and I may look into it, but I’m the computer a lot as it is so I hesitate.

    Last, I have a question if that’s alright. Part of the fun of mysteries and relationships in books is second guessing what’s coming, and looking for clues. With that in mind, when I first read Beneath I was surprised how it went back in time. I wasn’t sure I could enjoy it knowing Mel was lying, and that it couldn’t conclude with them completely opening up to eachother. I was so pleased with how you managed it, since it was after she had quit, but they hadn’t told eachother how they really felt. Yet, I did notice something strange. They never say I love you. At the start they are in the “before”, she almost says it once but catches herself, and then at the end when you expect it to be part of the conclusion all they say is I need you. So is there a plan for another flasback, taking place between the second and first book, where during the intrigue they get to the next stage of their relashinship and first say the L word? Just wondering.
    Okay, that’s it. I’ll give you some breathing room now. I really do appreciate it.

  25. Tracy Grant Says:

    Believe me, Angelique, it is a total thrill for an author to be able to discuss her books with readers! Thanks for the further recommendations of the Thursday Next books and The Time Traveler’s Wife–I definitely need to seek them out.

    Based on the books you like, I think you might like Dorothy Dunnett. I also recommend “Freedom & Necessity” by Steven Brust & Emma Bull. It’s set in the mid-19th century, with adventure, romance, intrigue, mystery, and a bit of paranormal. It has a fabulous hero and heroine and a wonderful plot. One of my favorite books ever. I did a “summer reading” blog a few months ago in which I mentioned it and other favorites, including Dorothy Sayers’ and Laurie King’s mysteries.

    Thanks for your question about Beneath. I’m so glad going back in time ended up working for you. I posted a video clip about why I wrote it as a prequel a while ago. I felt I needed to go back in order to set up things for later in the series. I wanted to show Kenneth and his relationship with Charles, and I wanted the reader to see Charles’s family and Charles’s world through Mel’s eyes as she’s first meeting them. I didn’t consciously make a decision that they wouldn’t say “I love you” in the book. But they’re at a stage in their relationship where they can’t quite define it, even to themselves, so using “love” when they think or speak to each other didn’t seem right. And in the last scene it almost seemed too “easy.” What’s between them is almost too complicated to be summed up by “love,” though they definitely do love each other. One of the things I think is interesting about their relationship is that they skipped over the young, ardent, head-over-heels phase. The “Romeo & Juliet” phase they talk about in the book. They can quote Romeo & Juliet to each other, but they have a harder time verbalizing their feelings for themselves. I think they’ll always have a difficult time putting their feelings into words, but they definitely have said “I love you” to each other (before Secrets of a Lady). Atually, in “The Mask of Night,” Mélanie thinks that the first time Charles told her he loved her she thinks he only said it because he thought one or both of them was about to be killed and for days she wasn’t sure if she’d heard him correctly over the sound of the gunfire. Though my plan is to go forward in time in the series, I would like to explore the earlier years of their marriage more, either in complete books or in flashbacks in books set in “forward time.” So maybe I will dramatize their first “I love yous”–thanks for the good idea :-).

    Thanks again for posting and do ask more questions!

  26. taryn Says:

    Hi Tracy,
    I accidently discovered Secrets of a Lady – what a fortuitous find! Major kudos for creating the most complex and compelling couple in Charles and Melanie! I could not believe they would weather the trials they encountered – but through their unflinching and painful journey, they found a way to forgive. It was an amazing process to watch unfold – and it was so unexpected that you didn’t give Melanie an easy excuse for her past. I’m reading Beneath a Silent Moon now and it’s so intriguing going back in time, only to discover that their marriage is equally complex without all those difficult revelations.

    Anyway – all gushing aside – what can I/we do to encourage your publisher to *get on with it* and publish The Mask of Night?? Or – you can self-publish and we’ll all use PayPal to get the next installment in the Charles and Melanie saga!! (I’m willing to proofread for you…)

    Best wishes and happy writing!

  27. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Taryn! Knowing people are discovering Charles & Mélanie is the loveliest New Year gift! I’m so glad you’re enjoying going back in time and learning more about them in Beneath (and you know it was very fun to write them before the revelations and explore that dynamic of their marriage).

    Publishers definitely listen to reader feedback. So posting about my books (or any other author’s books you’d like to see more of) on internet discussion sites is definitely helpful, as is writing/emailing the publisher.

    I have considered self-publishing if there’s no other way to go on with the series, but I’m still hoping to find a publishing home for the books. Thanks so much for the proofreading offer!

  28. taryn Says:

    Ok, I’ve written a glowing review on Amazon. What’s next? Who at your current publisher should I write to, and have you considered other publishers besides AVON? (because right now I’m not that impressed with their foresight – they published two amazing books but gave up now that you have people hooked? I’m thinking the folks that publish Elizabeth George would be a good company to target, they obviously can market really smart writing…Maybe it’s the back-of-the-book blurbs (I only bought the first through Amazon because of the glowing recommendations, and I wasn’t sorry).

    Really, what more can I/we do?

  29. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Taryn! I can’t tell you how much reader support means to authors. My agent has approached other publishers. There’s been some interest. I’m not as hopeful now as I have been at times in the past, but I haven’t given up. Publishers are even more cautious than usual in the current environment.

    Publisher websites should have contact info for feedback. Word of mouth is key to the success of any book. So posting reviews of books you like is great thing to do, as is talking about the books on messages boards, blogs, websites, my space, facebook pages etc… (editors do browse the internet).

    Now I have a question for you (which may come in handy if I sell more books :-). What elements in the books would you emphasize in the back-of-the-book blurbs?

    Btw, I love Elizabeth George’s books too!

  30. taryn Says:

    Ok – Facebook and Twitter I can do – will look at publisher sites to beg them for mercy – I need to know what happens next, and the teasers you’ve posted just make this need more intense!

    I’d like to think about the back-of-the-book question a bit more but my first thought (for Secrets of a Lady) is yes, you convey time (Regency) and place (seamy London), and secrets, which are always tempting. For Beneath a Silent Moon, it’s closer to making me want to buy, but…seems to focus on Charles and less about Melanie, who is one of the most interesting heroines since Scarlett O’Hara or even about them together and how complex they are. And also the theme of forgiveness – but not heavy-handed, maybe in the form of a question – could you find a way to forgive the love of your life after you’ve learned they have betrayed you? This seems like it might be a direction to consider…don’t know, maybe have a small focus group from visitors to your blog!

    This might be also a bit of a positioning problem – is it a murder mystery, a spy novel, a romance? Not that it can’t be and isn’t all of that, but although I’m not in publishing, just a passionate end-reader, often I think the marketing is an afterthought and they don’t always trust their audience, so they want to “dumb it down” to make it “one thought.” Your work is so textured that it isn’t easy to distill – for me this is what has me staying up way too late trying to find out what happens!

    What makes me buy – spies, tortured war veterans (male and female) as i am intrigued by the parallels to the 21st century version. Relationship is a big part of what makes me buy (cover art attracts (although I hate those men with no shirts, *where* did those shirts go, anyway??)). I picked Secrets up through romance so I was expecting relationship stuff – wow, those revelation scenes early on *blew my mind* – and that kind of inter-personal drama really delivered! Even if it was not a typical romance book, it delivered the best of romance – a strong set of characters with real problems that they need to solve together. Unusual that these are married, that also added to the “I’m intrigued – I think I’ll buy” moment. So often in the romance category, we’re stuck with simpering virgins (yawn). Adding the sense of urgency about Colin would have brought it into “novel” territory and out of romance (again, not sure that is a bad thing…) but I think I’d like to mull a little more before my final answer.

    And a question: Do you want to be positioned in the murder and mayhem section or the sex/romance section? Or is this dark fiction? I’m not sure and maybe that is a problem. Not a big problem as the work is so amazing, it is just a little more work polish it a bit to let more people know about it.

    Why I mentioned Elizabeth George is she writes relationship-based murder mysteries with luscious language like you do, so make an effort to take tea with her publisher the next time you run in to her/him. :-) Hey, maybe I will make this a challenge – through LinkedIn.com, to make an introduction of you to Elizabeth George’s editor/publisher! :-) They say we’re only 6 degrees of separation from anyone…hey, it could happen!

    so, more later, after I can make my thoughts a bit more coherent. But thanks for including me in the conversation!

  31. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments, Taryn! I think the fact that the Charles & Mélanie books cross genres has made it hard for publishers to figure out how to market them. I don’t think it’s so much that readers don’t like books that cross genres as that marketing strategies are book store shelving tend to be based on slotting books into genres. The books have been described in myriad ways by readers and reviewers–historical fiction, historical mysteries, romantic suspense, psychological thrillers, literary mysteries, historical thrillers, to name but a few. I tend to call them “historical suspense fiction” when asked how to describe them.

    Elizabeth George is a big influence on me as a writer. I went to a fabulous workshop on characterization that she gave at a mystery writing conference just before I started “Beneath.” I started using her system of character profiles for “Beneath.” I’d sort of describe “Beneath” as “Elizabeth George meets Jane Austen” if I had to do a movie-pitch style tag.

    Do post further thoughts–it’s extremely helpful. Not to mention fun for me to talk about the books and characters :-).


  32. […] a Lady, Steven Brust, The Mask of Night, Tracy Grant   Taryn had some wonderful comments on Mask of Night page recently–wonderful both in the sense of making me as an author, very happy, but also […]

  33. taryn Says:

    I recently sold a bunch of books through Amazon, and recommended Secrets of a Lady to everybody! Guerilla marketing is on the move!! And while I do agree that having a familiar place in the bookstore to find my favorites is a good thing, if I am going to the store for something particular and it isn’t in a “genre” I will either look in other relevant areas, or ask for it. I am often shocked at how frequently marketers don’t trust their audience, so you will have to help show them that you already HAVE an audience! :-)

    (By the way I just read one of your previous books A Touch of Scandal – George is one of the most devious and malicious scoundrels I’ve come across in a long time. Kudos to making him so memorable – what a corrupt monster!)

  34. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Taryn! Word-of-mouth is the one of the best types of marketing, but I don’t think anyone (publishers, authors, book stores) quite knows how to make it happen. It’s something that takes off with particular books that strike a chord with readers. I’ll look round a store as well, but I sometimes think I miss books because they aren’t in the areas of the store I check frequently.

    So glad you enjoyed “A Touch of Scandal.” George was a very fun villain to write–glad you found him memorable. And I remain very fond of Gideon and Fiona all these years later. That book was sort of a breakthrough for my mom and me, as it was much darker than our prior Regencies.

  35. Tracy Grant Says:

    p.s.

    Hope you saw my blog post from last week inspired by your comments!

  36. Dana Says:

    Ok so I’ve been reading these messages since forever it seems to see when The Mask of Night will come out and it still hasn’t come out! That makes me so sad! I loved your first two books and i have been anxiously awaiting your next. So… haha I took some of your suggestions to I think Taryn(?) and emailed the publishers with all 3 of my email accounts! I hope it helps if not I’ll email them everyday until they publish!

  37. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, Dana, and for your good wishes–and for contacting the publishers. I can’t tell you how heartening reader support is! It is taking longer than I had hoped, but I haven’t given up.

  38. Ellen D'Astous Says:

    All I have to say is I absolutely love these books. I hope you get a contract soon because I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I’ve read both Secrets of a Lady and Beneath a Silent Moon multiple times and love them more each time I read them.

  39. Tracy Grant Says:

    That’s so much, Ellen! Your comments were a lovely Valentine’s Day present! It’s particularly nice to know my books hold up on rereads. I hope I have a new book out for you soon. It’s a difficult publishing climate right now, but I have definitely not given up.


  40. […] Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. A while ago, in the Mask of Night thread, Angelique asked if I ever planned to have a flashback in which we saw Charles and Mel first […]

  41. Courtney Says:

    Just finished Secrets of a Lady last night, burning the midnight oil of course!
    I just want to let you know how fabulous I think this series is and I can’t wait for the next one-Its hard to believe such a great books don’t have a permanent home.

    Wish you the best of luck! I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  42. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Courtney! It’s so heartening to know that new readers are discovering Charles and Mel! And hearing someone burned the midnight oil finishing one of one’s books is one of the best compliments an author can receive!


  43. […] characters in a never-published book I wrote with my mom if they ended up getting married. The Mask of Night began with my wondering what would happen to Charles and Mélanie after the events of Secrets of a […]

  44. Crystal Says:

    Hello,
    I just happened to see Secrets of a Lady on my local bookstore’s shelves and thought it looked interesting. I read the back and thought I’d like to read it so I added it to my ‘list’. Later I came across Beneath a Silent Moon and thought I’d like that one too and added it to my list. I got a gift card to my local bookstore for my birthday and bought these books (and a slew of other books – I’m an avid reader!).
    I kid you not when I say this – I only now realized that the two books were about the same people!! I have just finished (as in about an hour ago) Secrets of a Lady. It was one of the most magnificent books I have read. I do not know how else to say this: I LOVED THIS BOOK!!
    I just posted this on my facebook profile: “The problem with really good books is that you read them too fast and then once they are done you wish you still had more to read.” :)
    Then I headed over to google to search you. I had realized that the two books were by the same author (I have yet to read Beneath A Silent Moon), but I had no idea that they were both about Charles and Melanie!! – I feel ridiculous. But I am so happy that I can continue on reading about them. –
    Your writing and the story are just so alive and I feel the anguish, the pain, the love. It’s quite simply amazing. I laughed, cried, and felt heartbreak and shock all through the book. I was reading it so fast and couldn’t put it down. I have so much school work to finish (I’m in my 3rd year of college), but I just couldn’t put your book down! I really have no idea how to express in words what this book was like for me. You did a marvelous job.
    I loved the plot twists and turns throughout the whole book. I gasped out loud in several places (Melanie’s true identity, Charles’ father – that one got me big time!)
    As soon as I get my assigned paper done (I can’t put it off any longer!!) I will definitely be diving into Beneath A Silent Moon. – I can’t wait.

    Also, I would love to help in any way possible to get the next Charles and Melanie book published – please let me know if I can do anything!

    Also, please excuse my horrible grammar and writing — I’m no where as eloquent as you are!

  45. Tracy Grant Says:

    Oh, Crystal, it was so wonderful to read your post! I’m thrilled you enjoyed “Secrets” and that you want to reach more about Charles & Mel. Do let me know how you enjoy “Beneath a Silent Moon.” And I hope I can get more books in the series published soon! Telling your friends about them and posting on Facebook and elsewhere is a great help. Word of mouth is wonderful for books.

  46. Angelique Says:

    Some replies to this thread I meant to make a long time ago.

    First off, when trying to think of ways to advertise your wonderful series my mind went in a different direction then everyone else. Instead of reader reviews I thought about other authors. I’ve gotten a number of suggestions from the websites of writers I enjoy and some of them have a posting board on their site (or did once upon a time). I checked around to see if I could recommend on any of them and ended up laughing because Julia Quinn has “Secrets of a lady” prominently displayed.
    That discovery made me think of my favorite bookstore advertising gimmick, the choosing of the pen name. When Julia Quinn first began writing she said her name was chosen specifically so she would be shelved next to Amanda Quick. I must say it worked because that’s how I found her. Plus if you look at the “A” shelf there are dozens of Austen prequels and sequels with names chosen to be shelved next to Austen herself. Which brings me to my first question; I know you’ve published under different names. How and why did you choose them?

    Next, speaking of author recommendations, I wanted to tell you I read “Freedom and necessity” and was completely blown away. You were right on the mark. Art first I wasn’t sure how much I would like it but was intrigued. By the time I was half done I was stunned and addicted. It was such a surprise and one of the only worthwhile things I’ve read since yours so thank you soooo much. Also I wanted to ask how much it influenced you. Something about the tome made me wonder.

    How to explain what I mean by tone? Well, when this thread was referring to how hard it is to categorize your books I thought it was matter of percentages. Like a recipe. That’s what made your series so different. A lot of books I love have the same elements but not equal. It’s a romance first, a mystery second (as an activity to bring them together and drive the plot forward) and historical third (to give it setting, costume, and social context). Yours, on the other hand, seems to be those same ideas more equally balanced. Although I have not yet your earlier works I imagine them to be more “romance novel”. If so, I wondered why you veered from that path. What inspired you to do so? What books influenced your new direction? Or am I mistaken?

    Also, did your previous work (like so many romance novels) include love scenes? If so how did you feel about eliminating them? I have never minded them, yet they are so totally unnecessary in your series. Perhaps because they haven’t just met and it’s enough to know they have always had a fulfilling love life in bed. That, as you say< has never been their problem. I think those scenes are only important when it’s the beginning of the relationship (one entered into for more romantic reasons) and you (as well as the characters) are wondering how that will go.

    Last (thank goodness I’m sure) I never trust first pages when flipping in the bookstore. I assume they know people are looking and are trying to catch your attention right away with a first sentence. I flip to a random part in the middle, it will tell you more. Also covers. I DID pick up your books on a whim because I was looking around and was caught by the cover of “Beneath”. I thought the title and lovely painting suggested something intriguing. Then came back cover and inside look. I only took secrets because it was clearly the first in the series.

    There. Done. Whew!

  47. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments, Angelique!

    Julia Quinn is incredibly nice besides being a very talented writer–it was so great of her to post a recommendation of “Daughter” and then “Secrets”!

    Regarding pseudonyms–when my mom and I wrote together, we thought it would be better to have one name. “Anthea” and “Malcolm” were the hero and heroine of an unpublished historical fantasy series I wrote in my teens, so we wrote as “Anthea Malcolm.” When we moved from Regency romances to Regency-set historical romances, our publisher wanted us to have a new pseudonym, so we chose “Anna Grant.” “Grant” because it’s our last name, “Anna” because it was my grandmother’s (mom’s mom’s) name, and because it provided a link to “Anthea.” After my mom died, when I started writing on my own, I started writing under my own name, which is Tracy Grant.

    I’m so glad you read and enjoyed “Freedom & Necessity”–it’s a fabulous book! I think it influenced me quite a bit, but I think the tone of my writing was already fairly set by the time I read it (I was finishing “Rightfully His,” the last of my historical romances, at the time). Even when I wrote romances, I always tended to put a fair amount of emphasis on the plot (invariably some type of suspense) and pull focus from the love story, to the despair of my editors. I think “Freedom & Necessity” may have helped convince me of the possibility of writing a book that balance all the elements, though. Also, Brust & Bull have, I think, talked about being influenced by Dorothy Dunnett, as I certainly am, so we share some common influences.

    Yes, a number of my previous books included love scenes–all the historical romances, and several of the Regencies. With “Secrets of a Lady,” it was obvious that two people desperately searching for their child, and with so much poisoned between them, wouldn’t be stopping to make love. So I knew from the beginning that the closest it would get to a love scene was the interrupted one at the beginning. When I was writing “Beneath a Silent Moon” and got to the first scene where they start to make love, I automatically faded to black, without even thinking about it. It just didn’t seem appropriate to go into detail. Perhaps because, as you say, Charles and Mel already have an established physical relationship. Perhaps because I like the bit of mystery that leaves about them. I’m not saying I’d never have a love scene in the series, but it would have to be a scene where showing what went on in detail was integral to the plot and moving the characters forward.

    Now one question for you–when you opened “Beneath” to a page in the middle of the book, do you remember what page it was? (Not the exact page number, but the scene?).

  48. Angelique Says:

    No, I’m sorry! I’ve read and re-read it so many times by now it’s difficult to remember. But to try and answer I just took out my copy and flipped as I would in a bookstore to try and jog my memory. I know I tried for the very middle and that I scanned a few pages until I hit a spot almost entirely dialogue. I think it’s the theater in me; I skip the stage directions and look for the lines. It was definitely a scene between Mel and Charles only. Discussing clues or facts of the case. I remember liking that because my fear with anything overly action or historical is more facts and figures that character work. So to see them (and by that I mean you) taking the time to sit and discuss what just happened or will happen relieved me. Hope that helps!

  49. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks, Angelique! It’ll be cool if you ever remember which scene it was, but just knowing it’s dialogue is interesting (it’s Beneath, not Secrets, right?). I have a theater background too, and my earlier writing tended to be mostly dialogue. I had to work at doing description and inner monologue, both of which I now like to write.

  50. Diana Doyle Says:

    I have been very eager to start reading Secrets, as it sounds so exciting! However, after starting the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon before it was complete…I have promised myself never to start a really good series before I had all the books in the entire series. I may have to make an exception (unless you’d like to send an unpublished copy of the rest of the books anyway). Anyhow…I’m very much looking forward to reading your books. Any update about when book 3 will be published?

  51. Tracy Grant Says:

    No update unfortunately, Diana. I haven’t give up, but things don’t look as promising as they did last fall, unfortunately. I also don’t see “Mask of Night” as the end of the series (I’ve started work on the fourth book, and I have notes for books beyond that). Meanwhile, any new readers definitely help me make the case that there’s a market for these books.

    Thanks for the support!

  52. Peggy Says:

    Hello,
    I first learned about your books from the History Hoydens site and they sounded interesting because I am a sucker for anything set during the Regency period. I was particularly struck because most books ignore the pre-Waterloo battles in Spain and Portugal (except for the Sharpe series, I guess!).After going on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites to peruse the texts (as much as they allow!), I was hooked and had to run right over to my local B&N to buy both of them this week. I read both of them concurrently this week and could not put them down, to the dismay of my family and the detriment of my sleep, chores, laundry, dinner, etc. – I LOVED these 2 books. Your plots are fascinating and the characters are complex and a bit flawed, which also makes them more unexpected and interesting. I love the correspondence, which also helps flesh out the story. I, too, am eager to see the rest of the series in print and will tell my friends and contact the publishers as well. You have done a masterful job and have given us tremendous pleasure. Thank you!

  53. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thank you so much, Peggy! Your post was a lovely surprise to come home to from Saturday errands :-). It’s wonderful to know you found my books through the History Hoydens site. It’s such a fun blog to be part of and such a wonderful group of writers to work with. I’m so glad too to hear you enjoy the Fraser Correspondence. I work hard on the letters (and have a lot of fun writing them) so it’s great to know readers are reading and appreciating them.

    Now I have a question for you–you said you read the books concurrently. Did you literally go back and forth between the two? Which did you start first and which did you finish first? How did that work in terms of the order of revelations? I’m always fascinated by how readers react to the characters in terms of the order in which they read the books.

    Thanks again for your wonderful support!

  54. Peggy Says:

    Thank you, Tracy, for your reply.
    I confess, I did, in fact, read the books totally out of order and go back and forth between them. I am the worst kind of reader from the standpoint of an author, because I often read ahead, or worse, read the ending first. If I decide I don’t like a book at that point, I will not hesitate to stop reading. Of course, the reverse is also true; if I am enjoying the book, I keep going. Obviously, with your books, I kept going!

    In the case of your two books, since I had already read parts of both and most of the correspondence on-line, I had already read ahead even before I started to read them properly. Initially I thought I would read “Beneath a Silent Moon” first, as it was set earlier, and even started to do so. But then, I decided to switch to “Secrets” because I wanted to understand the characters better. Being me, I read ahead even then and would go back and forth to “Beneath a Silent Moon” or the correspondence of both to consult on other parts (especially the parts relating to Lady Frances or Raoul). However, I think that means that I ultimately read both books more carefully.

    From the standpoint of an author, that means I know some of the revelations early when I read, but until one has read the whole book, the total implications of a revelation will not be fully appreciated. For that reason I often immediately reread a book again, this time in proper order, and fully savor the characters and the plot twists. Even then, I will go back and reread certain segments, particularly dialogue between main characters, to look for shifts in the relationship. In the case of your books, I have also gone back over the Fraser correspondence several times, including the correspondence on-line.

    As an author, this must make you crazy, but I think it is a tribute to your skill that your characters/stories are so vivid that they stand up to this kind of disorderly reading and scrutiny! Your plots are so complex and your characters have so much to digest about each other and themselves, that the books really call out to be reread several times to be fully absorbed. As a reader, I really like Charles and Melanie and am rooting for them to find their way forward. I hope we readers will get a chance to see if trust and love can replace betrayal and duplicity (Books 3 and 4!!!).

  55. Tracy Grant Says:

    Actually, readers reading my stories out of order doesn’t frustrate me at all, Peggy. In fact it fascinates me. I also end read (I confess I looked at the end of “Checkmate” before I even started the Lymond Chronicles). And I frequently skim ahead in books and then go back. I also often read series out of order. I started Laurie King’s Mary Russell books with “The Moor,” which is the fourth book in the series. I rather enjoy reading that way, perhaps for the same reason that as a writer I enjoy jumping about in time, with flashbacks and prequels as well as sequels. I loved the chance that the letters in the trade editions of both books gave me to flesh out the stories. And I love writing the Fraser Correspondence online. It’s a great way to explore Charles and Mel’s world and to look at events from the perspective of different characters.

    You’re the first reader I’ve talked to who read the Fraser Correspondence online before the actual books. That’s very cool, and I think would lead to a whole different (or at least enriched) reading of the books. Particularly the letters between Lady Frances and Raoul, which include information that isn’t in any of the books so far (such as the fact that the two of them are in communication at all). Btw, there’s also a revelation in the letters about the parentage of Lady Frances’s youngest child, Chloe, which no one has commented on so far :-).

    So having read the Fraser Correspondence online first, when you “met” Charles and Mélanie and the other characters in the books did they match up with your impressions of them from the letters?

  56. Peggy Says:

    Hmmm, Tracy, of course I had to reread all the Fraser correspondence to figure out why I did not focus on the reference to Chloe’s parentage earlier! Since I read the correspondence first, I think that I was totally focused on the bits relating to Charles and Melanie, that I did not absorb info relating to other characters.

    When I finally read the books, I definitely felt that the characters of Charles and Melanie were consistent with the correspondence. However, I was bemused that Charles, who is supposed to be so emotionally restrained, is the partner most able to express his love. This seems to be especially true in the correspondence, even after he learns to “truth” about Melanie’s past. I found myself wondering about Melanie’s reticence; does she have a harder time saying I love you because she feels unworthy of being loved, in addition to guilt over her duplicity? The fact that they do express their love in the letters gives one hope for a “happy ending”, eventually. (Sigh.)

  57. Tracy Grant Says:

    It’s so fun getting your reaction to the Fraser Correspondence, Peggy! The reference to Chloe’s parentage is very small and throw away–I’m not surprised so one’s commented on it. But it’s fun for me to work things like that in.

    I feel like *I* need to look over the letters again to compare how emotionally reticent Charles and Mel are :-). I do think Charles has a very nurturing side (as Lady Frances points out in Secrets of a Lady). And, particularly after the revelations in Secrets, he’s at great pains to show Mel that he loves her and isn’t holding the past against her. I think Mel has a hard time expressing her feelings early in their marriage because of the duplicity and because she hasn’t yet even admitted her feelings to herself. Later, I think she may be afraid that by expressing her own feeling she’s putting some sort of emotional demand on Charles, asking for something he may not be able to give and something she isn’t sure she has a right to. (She thinks, in Beneath, of just how much of a declaration she wants form him, and she also recognizes the “selfish, desperate depths” of her longing for it).


  58. […] Secrets of a Lady, The Mask of Night, Tracy Grant No Comments  This week, Peggy posted on the Mask of Night page about discovering the Charles & Mélanie books. I’m always thrilled to know new […]


  59. […] They do confront the issue of infidelity and their different expectations going into marriage, in a scene in The Mask of Night: […]


  60. […] David’s father, Lord Carfax, is an interesting character. He features prominently in The Mask of Night. He actually started out much more as a stereotype of a bluff English gentleman and got much more […]

  61. Suzanne Says:

    Any more news on publication dates for the next novels in this series? I picked both up in London where I was living at the time they were first published, and feel as if I’ve been dangling in mid-air since then! (At least you know what happens to your characters…) I heard that Crown is looking around for more HF to publish… I tend to be a fan of HF and historical mysteries; less so of romance (too many ripping bodices and heaving bosoms become a bit too predictable for me after a while). I did love the setting of your novel — very Pimpernelesque, without ever borrowing too overtly. Pushing it into post-Revolutionary/post Congress of Vienna territory is also interesting. It’s as if the years 1815-1837 never happened, based on how much HF is written. I suppose it must have been like living through the 1950s in England, after all the intensity of the war, having to confront dreariness and rationing and bombsites.

  62. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for asking about future books, Suzanne! I’m actually hoping I’ll have something definite I can post fairly soon. Keep an eye out for updates.

    So glad you see Pimpernel overtones in the books! That’s a huge compliment, and TSP is definitely a major inspiration for the series. I love the Regency/Napoleonic era, but I find the post-Napoleonic era particular interesting because there are so many wonderful tensions between reaction and reform (the powers that be in so many countries trying to turn the clock back while the demand for reform bubbles under the surface). I’d even love to do a book some day about Colin at the University of Paris in 1832.

    1. Suzanne Says:

      In addition to 1832, it would be intriguing to get some input into the events of 1848 from Colin’s POV — or even take it into a third generation. Another French monarch unseated, another revolutionary fever sweeping across England…

      1. Tracy Grant Says:

        1848 would be fascinating. Colin and Jessica would only be in their early/mid 30s. I was going to say I wasn’t sure I want to deal with Charles and Mel getting that much older, but maybe I will as I get older myself. They’d only be 61 and 55, which actually doesn’t sound that old at all :-).

  63. Donna Says:

    Sigh, I keep hoping and checking that you have good news from your publisher. It is always enjoyable to come to the site and read your notes and the Fraser correspondance It is like keeping up with friends while they are gone on a trip. You don’t hear about everything but you have tantalizing glimpses of what they are up to. That said, I join everyone else in hoping you have good news soon!
    Donna

  64. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Donna! I have a lot of fun writing the Fraser Correspondence, so I love hearing that readers enjoy it.

    I should have an update of sorts to post by the end of the year, so do keep checking!

  65. Donna Says:

    I will. May it be good news for all! Take care, Donna

  66. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Donna!

  67. Joan K. Gehris Says:

    Just finished Secrets of a Lady and loved it! Hope you have good news about publication of the rest of the series soon.

  68. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Joan! It’s great to know new people are finding the series!

  69. Susan/DC Says:

    Having recently finished Freedom & Necessity, which I know you love, it would be interesting to get your take on the period around 1848, as Suzanne noted in her e-mail of 22 November. Perhaps not so much Hegel, however.

  70. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks, Susan. 1848 is an intriguing idea. I actually liked the Hegel in Freedom & Necessity–I’d read a fair amount of Hegel in college as well as Marx & Engels, so it was fun seeing how they fit in the book. In fact, it was the Hegel that inspired me to give the Freedom & Necessity to my friend jim who I went to college with. I still marvel at how Brust & Bull wove in that much philosophy and still kept the page-turning pace.

    Happy Holidays!!!


  71. […] learned some new things about them in the process, which I think will intrigue readers. As to The Mask of Night, it may be the second book on my two-book contract, which would be wonderful, but that isn’t […]

  72. Colleen/VT Says:

    I loved both your books I could wait to I finished the last page of each but now I can’t wait to read the next installment. When?

  73. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Colleen, that totally makes my day! My next book, Vienna Waltz, will be published in April 2011. It’s essentially the story of Charles and Mélanie’s adventures at the Congress of Vienna (the murder investigation there that’s alluded to in Beneath a Silent Moon), but Charles and Mel have different names–Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch–because that’s what my new publisher wanted. More information here:

    http://tracygrant.wordpress.com/2010/01/02/new-year-new-book-contracthttptracygrant-wordpress-comwp-adminpost-new-php/

    and you could also follow the Vienna Waltz tags in the Dear Reader column for further info on the book.

    I’m currently working on a follow-up book which deals with Charles/Malcolm and Mélanie/Suzanne at Waterloo. I’m still hoping to eventually publish “The Mask of Night” and move forward chronologically with the series (I’ve lots of ideas for further books :-).

  74. Ashley Says:

    I have recently discovered or I should say rediscovered, your books and read them both in a week. I love them, I admit that I bought Daughter of the Game when it first came out in hardcover, but never got into it. I was younger then and less understanding of Melanie. I rediscovered your books on amazon and am glad that I purchased and read them. Just sad that I have to wait until March for the third one. I love the complexity of your characters. I have read the excerts from The Mask of the Night and wonder if you have any idea if it will be published? I would love to read it. I want to know what happens after the revelations from Secrets. I am looking forward to Vienna Waltz, but would love a sequel to see how Charles and Melanie cope with the aftermath of all that has happened.

  75. Tracy Grant Says:

    Hi Ashley! How wonderful that you rediscovered my books and that you liked them better the second time. Do you know what it was that made you more understanding of Mélanie the second time around? I’m also so intrigued by readers’ reactions to my characters.

    I still hope “Mask of Night” will be published, hopefully by my current publisher, but I don’t have any definite idea of when. I’m working on a book set around the Battle of Waterloo that’s a follow up to “Vienna Waltz.” I’m really enjoying exploring Charles and Mel’s pasts (I always wanted to dramatize their adventures in Vienna and around Waterloo), but I also very much want to deal with them in the aftermath of the revelations of “Secrets.” And I have lots of ideas for subsequent books about them and plot twists…

    1. Ashley Says:

      Thank you for responding Tracy, I read a review on Barnes and Noble that said that you were wonderful about chatting with your fans, and I see it is true. I think I had a hard time with Melanie’s betrayal due to the circumstances in my life at the time. Plus with age comes the ability to see other people’s points of views and reasons. I like the part in Secrets where Charles tells Melanie that he realizes that her decisions were not about him. We all have a tendency to see things from our own perspective and how it personally affects us. I like that he was able to step back and realize that she had followed her own ideals and beliefs and that did not make her wrong. I love the fact that Melanie and Charles grow as lovers, parents and human beings.

      I am very much looking forward to Vienna Waltz and any other books that you publish. I have already pre-ordered Vienna Waltz. I have to say that I am having a hard time finding something that I want to read because I am still caught up in your stories. That only happens when the book I most recently read is an excellent one. I noticed on a readers list that you recommended “Mozart’s Blood”. I thought that was a truly wonderful book too.

  76. Tracy Grant Says:

    I love talking to readers! Writing is so solitary, it’s wonderful to be able to talk about my characters and plotlines to people who enjoy my books.

    Such a good point about tending to see things from our own POV. It’s really hard to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective. I think Charles manages to do that in Secrets, which is why I think he and Mel have a chance of making things work. So glad you enjoy watching them grow. They have a lot still to discover, about themselves and each other, which is why I’d ultimately like to go forward in time with them, though I’m having a lot of fun now exploring their past. Thanks so much for pre-ordering Vienna Waltz!

    And I take it as a huge compliment that you’re having a hard time finding a book to read after my books. I too find that when I’ve finished a book I was really caught up in. Thanks!

    I got to read an Mozart’s Blood in advance for a quote, and I thought it was marvelous. Fascinating, vivid story and characters.


  77. […] brings me to my last bit of news. Charles and Raoul’s relationship is an important thread in The Mask of Night. I’m happy to announce that my agent and I are going to release The Mask of Night as a Kindle […]

    1. Michele Tallack nee Baylis Says:

      When will this be? Does this mean it won’t come out in ordinary book format?
      These characters have developed so well we need to know where they are going to next. Also, historically, you have an interesting framework to use in the period up to 1830. How about Melanie’s views on the social upheavals in Britain post-Napoleonic war and later of the French 1830 revolution? I am sure she would have decided opinions on these! Romanticism in the arts might be useful too here, would love to see Melanie meet Lord Byron, she would definitely be a match for him!

  78. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks for posting, Michele! The e-book should be available by the end of the month. I’ll definitely post on the website and Facebook and Twitter when it’s up. Right now it will only be on Kindle, but we hope to expand to other e-reader platforms. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read Kindle books on a iPad, phone, or computer by downloading a free Kindle app.

    My agent says if the e-book does well, that makes it more likely a print publisher will pick the book up, so the goal is still print publication.

    So glad you’re interested in where the story and characters will go next. I totally agree there’s so much to explore for these characters in the post Napoleonic world. Ultimately, I’d love to do a book with Colin at the University of Paris in 1832, Raoul involved in the building dissent, and Charles and Mel having to go over to Paris to rescue both of them. But meanwhile, there are a lot of stories to tell about Charles and Mélanie navigating the 1820s and the risks of Mel being exposed.

    And there are also stories to tell from the past. “Vienna Waltz” which will be published in trade paperback on March 29, is essentially the story of Charles and Mel at the Congress of Vienna in 1814 (it chronicles events that have been alluded to in other books and reveals some new info about Charles’s family). My new publisher wanted different names, so they’re called Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch, but they’re definitely the same people.

  79. Michele Tallack nee Baylis Says:

    Thankyou for responding! Oh dear now a war between my impatience for “Mask….” and my 60 odd years of deeply engrained love of the texture and smell of real books! Tell your agent there are, I am sure, thousands of readers like me, not exactly technophobes, but with decided feelings about how their favourite authors should be presented to them. Good engrossing stories like yours with characters you feel you know intimately who inhabit a meticulously researched historical era deserve to be presented in ways that will appeal to all readers.

    As a retired art historian whose special period was France and England 1775-1850 I am delighted by your intimate knowledge of the period I love best. Keep up the good work.

    I may go for a Kindle, but it will be out of desperation!

  80. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Michele! If I’d known an retired art historian who specializes in France and England 1775-1850 was reading my books, I’d have been very nervous. I’m so glad you like the books and find the period detail convincing.

    My agent would love to see the Mask in print, as would I. The problem is finding a publisher. My agent says success for the e-book makes it more likely a print publisher will pick the book up. I hope you’ll read Mask in e-book form and then later enjoy it in print. As I mentioned above, you can download a free Kindle app and read the the book on your computer, which may not be ideal but would let you read it without purchasing a Kindle.

  81. Bryana Says:

    I can’t wait to read The Mask of Night! I don’t have a Kindle and would love for the book to be published in print one day, but I enjoy the Charles & Melanie books so much that I’m happy to break my “I don’t read books online” rule in order to read The Mask of Night.

  82. Tracy Grant Says:

    So glad you’re excited about Mask of Night, Bryana! I so hope it’s published in print, but meanwhile I’m thrilled you’re willing to break your online reading. As I mentioned above, you can download a free Kindle app that will let you read it on your computer or phone.

  83. Susan/DC Says:

    I don’t have a Kindle but several friends do. Once you announce it’s been released, I’ll ask one of them to download “Mask of Night” so I can read it. Counting the days . . .

  84. Tracy Grant Says:

    That’s great, Susan! I just saw that’s up:

    ttp://www.amazon.com/Charles-Melanie-Fraser-Historical-ebook/dp/B004TMLJNM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301026368&sr=1-1-catcorr

  85. Suzanne Says:

    Excellent — have just hit the “buy” button and it should be landing on my Kindle momentarily. I already have a pre-order in for Vienna Waltz.
    For those who don’t yet have Kindles, you can read Kindle books online — you don’t need the device in order to download the application either a PC or a Mac. Personally I do find it harder to read on a backlit screen, but at least that option exists… So anyone impatient and Kindleless has a plan B to turn to!

  86. Tracy Grant Says:

    Yay! So glad to know at least a couple of people have bought it. And thanks for much for pre-ordering Vienna Waltz. You’ll have to let me know what’s it’s like to read about Charles/Malcolm and Mel/Suzanne early in their marriage and then a few years later on. And thanks for mentioning that one can read Kindle books on other devices. I read Kindle and Nook books on my iPad.

  87. Suzanne Says:

    I think the biggest problem will be that it’s now been several years since I read the first two books (in hardcover, back to back) and I don’t want to go back and re-read them before reading the next two, so I’m hoping the character/plot details will come back to me… Should I read Mask of Night first and then Vienna Waltz?

  88. Tracy Grant Says:

    All my books are written to stand on their own. Though Mask references events in earlier books, the references are explained, so I think you’ll be fine. Since Mask is available now, yes, read that and then Vienna Waltz.

  89. lisa Says:

    PLEASE PLEASE get it released in EPUB or PDF form! I’m dying to read it after waiting all these years!

  90. Tracy Grant Says:

    So glad you’re excited to read the book, Lisa! I’m doing this through my agent’s e-publishing arm and right now they’re only set up to do Kindles, though they plan to expand. However, as others have mentioned, you can download a free Kindle app that let’s you read Kindle books on a phone, ereader, or your computer. Hopefully that will let you read “Mask of Night.”


  91. […] been an exciting few days leading up to an exciting week. The Mask of Night was released on Kindle last Thursday, and Vienna Waltz’s official release date is March 29, […]

  92. Jeanne Pickering Says:

    Hi,

    I’ve finished Mask! Well, sort of, because I’ve immediately started re-reading. I tried very hard to read slowly and lasted the entire weekend :-) It felt so good to be back in Melanie”s & Charles’ world. I enjoyed it very much.

    I have two comments with which to begin – one about this comment space and then one about history.

    1. Is this the place for the discussion thread? If so, could you ask your web designer to reverse the order of the comments so that the latest comments come first? It’s a lot of scrolling now to get to the bottom to find out if there have been new comments.

    2. One of my techniques for slowing down my reading was to look up the historical references that I didn’t recognize (btw, this is one of the reasons I love reading your books!) So I looked up “Peterloo”. Still horrifying and still happening today – innocent, peaceful protestors being wounded and killed while demanding basic freedoms.

    And now I have a question: if this is the discussion session – what ground rules do you want to set up about spoilers? I’ve refrained from any questions/comments about plot because I don’t know how much to not say.

    Thank you so much for e-publishing this! I would like to remind the non-Kindle owners that local libraries often have Kindles to use either in-library or to lend and Mask is so reasonably priced that it would make a nice donation to your local library!

  93. Tracy Grant Says:

    So great to know you’ve read the book, Jeanne! (And cool that you’re it again).

    I actually just started an open comment thread for Mask of Night (and Vienna Waltz for those who’ve read it and want to ask questions) as this week’s Dear Reader Blog:

    http://tracygrant.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/open-discusion-thread-for-the-mask-of-night-and-vienna-waltz/

    As to spoilers, feel free to ask or refer to anything, but perhaps put a spoiler warning in the post. I definitely don’t want to stifle discussion, and I’d love to get conversation going about the book!

  94. Monisha Says:

    Just finished Mask Of the Night….really enjoyed Charles, Melanie and O’Roarke’s continuing adventures but I think Secrets of A Lady is still my favourite! When is the sequel to this coming out?
    Love the interplay between these 3 favourite characters but I think Charles is quite my favourite

  95. Tracy Grant Says:

    So glad you enjoyed the interplay between Mel, Charles, and Raoul, Monisha. I think the shifting relationships between the three of them are at the heart of the book (all the major plot points in the book involve the three of them).

    Vienna Waltz, which is actually a prequel (set in 1814, two and a half years before Beneath a Silent Moon) was just released this week. Charles and Mel are called Malcolm and Suzanne, but you’ll find they’re definitely the same characters and other characters appear as well. A sequel to Vienna Waltz, set around the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, will be published next year.

    I’d love to write the book called “Charles & Mélanie Book 4″, but that depends on how Mask of Night does. Somehow, eventually I’ll link up the Charles & Mel and Malcolm books and go forward in time, because there are lots of stories I want to tell going forward.


  96. […] Vienna Waltz and The Mask of Night have several triangles. I don’t really want Mélanie/Suzanne to go back to Raoul, at least […]


  97. […] to the book (or to ask questions about the book if you haven’t read it ). And if you’ve read The Mask of Night,or have questions about it feel free to bring it into the conversation as […]


  98. […] me know you think. Also, feel free to post more thoughts and questions about Vienna Waltz and The Mask of Night here. Love the discussion that’s been going […]

  99. Tiffany Says:

    Is there a way to have “The Mask of Night” in a PDF so that I could print it off?
    FYI, one of the best series ever!

  100. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Tiffany! I’m thrilled you love the series. I’m passing your comment on to my agent who’s handling distribution of the book. I hope we can have it available in more formats eventually. I know you can download a free Kindle app that would let you read the book on your computer, but I don’t know if that would let you print.

  101. Tiffany Says:

    Hi Tracey, yes,please pass on my previous comment to your publisher, and also tell him/her this: that I will pay for a printed copy in advance if needed! I own all of the other books and need to add this to my collection. It’s strange, but it is really hard to find good historical mystery fiction that have a romance in them, but aren’t specifically labeled in the romance genre.

  102. Tracy Grant Says:

    Already passed the comments along, Tiffany. Will keep you posted. You great to know you like the series so much. I too love historical fiction mysteries with strong romantic elements, and I agree it’s hard to find them. Have you read Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander, and C.S. Harris? Also Andrea Penrose has the first book out in a new Regency mystery series that sets up a nice love story. And Lauren Willig’s books aren’t precisely murder mysteries, but they have mystery elements mixed in with great history and romance.

  103. Julie Says:

    I’m also waiting eagerly for a print copy to become available! (Or at least an e-book available through Barnes and Noble since I have a Nook.) I know I could download it onto my laptop with a Kindle App, but I don’t want to read a long novel that I’m looking forward to losing myself in on a computer screen (it takes away from the reading experience). Please feel free to pass my comment along to your publisher as well, Tracy!

  104. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much, Julie! I really hope there’s a print version and also that we can make it available in Nook format!


  105. […] Back to my own books, Mélanie/Suzanne was never a courtesan precisely. She was a prostitute, an experience she revisits in Imperial Scandal in light of another character who’s both a prostitute and a spy, and also when she and Charles/Malcolm go to a brothel seeking information in Secrets of a Lady. It’s clear, I think, that her time in the brothel was fairly horrific. As she thinks in Secrets, In the past ten years she had known anger and fear and self-hatred. But since Raoul O’Roarke had taken her out of the door of the brothel in Léon, she had rarely felt powerless. It was one of the reasons she would be forever grateful to him. Later, though she didn’t sleep with men for money, she did so for information. I think it’s fair to say her feelings about this part of her life and about sex in general are more complicated. As she says to Charles in The Mask of Night: […]


  106. […] historical characters, such as Wilhelmine and Dorothée in Vienna Waltz and Hortense Bonaparte in The Mask of Night. Hopefully there’s something universal in those character arcs, at the same time the story is […]

  107. Paloma Says:

    Hello!

    I loved both “Secrets of a Lady” and “Beneath a Silent Moon”, and would like to know if “The Mask of Night” and subsequent books have been (or are going to be) published in Spain.

    Thanks very much!

  108. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks so much for your inquiry, Paloma! I’m so glad you loved Secrets and Beneath! So far Mask of Night and Vienna Waltz and my forthcoming books are not contracted in Spain, but I hope they will be. I will forward your inquiry to my agent to pass on to my Spanish publisher.


  109. […] most of them probably won’t even believe he really does love her. But I do. And, at the end of The Mask of Night when Charles asks Raoul to stay because his presence makes Melanie happier, I realized that Charles […]

    1. Leslie Borrok Says:

      Hi Tracy,

      Have really enjoyed the first two books in your Charles and Melanie Fraser series, but can’t seem to find the third, “Mask of Night” in print, only digital. Was it released in hardcover for those of us who still like books and don’t have e-readers? How can I get a copy? Really want to know what happens next!

      Thanks so much,

      Leslie

      1. Tracy Grant Says:

        So glad you’re enjoying the Charles & Mélanie books, Leslie. Mask of Night has so far only been published as an ebook through my literary agent. I’m still hoping a print publisher will pick it up, but that hasn’t happened yet. You can download a free Nook or Kindle app to read it on your computer, phone, or tablet.

        Also, Vienna Waltz and my forthcoming Imperial Scandal are also part of the series. Charles & Mel’s names have been changed to Malcolm & Suzanne, but they’re the same characters. These books tell the story earlier, their time at the Congress of Vienna in Vienna Waltz and around the battle of Waterloo in Imperial Scandal. There’s more info on the connections to Secrets of a Lady and Beneath a Silent Moon in the FAQ, but also feel free to post more questions.


  110. […] romantic or otherwise. My mind tens to run to suspense when it comes to intrigue. My idea for The Mask of Night began with the image of a masked man floating, stabbed to death, in a fountain, and Mélanie in […]

  111. glenda doeden Says:

    Having read Secrets of a Lady and Beneath the Silent Moon, I am of course, anxious to read The Mask of Night. But alas, I cannot find in print form – can you – or anyone help me? Realized while viewing your website the chronological oddity – so will go ahead and purchase Vienna Walts- understanding nothings is sequential but I LOVE the characters – all of them. But please do not leave me hanging – awaiting The Mask of Night. Thank you

  112. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks for posting, Glenda! Unfortunately MASK OF NIGHT has been been picked up by a print publisher yet and so is only available as an ebook. You can download a free Nook or Kindle app that will let you read it on your computer, tablet, or phone. I know that isn’t the same as a print book, but it is one option. If a print version becomes available, I will definitely post about it on the website. Meanwhile, i think you will enjoy VIENNA WALTZ and the recently released IMPERIAL SCANDAL. In addition to Charles/Malcolm and Mélanie/Suzanne, Colin appears in the books as a toddler and David and Simon appear in IMPERIAL SCANDAL.

  113. Barbara Struhs Says:

    Hello Ms. Grant – Will “The Mask of Night” be published in a non-electronic book format? I really like this series. Please say yes! Thanks.

    Barbara Struhs
    barbara.struhs@imail.org

    1. Tracy Grant Says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Barbara! I’m thrilled you love the series. I really hope Mask of Night is eventually published in print, but so far it hasn’t been picked up by a print publisher. You can downloada free Nook or Kindle app which would allow you to read the electronic version on your computer, tables, or phone. I know it’s not the same as a print copy, but at least it’s a way to read the book. Also, hopefully you’ve discovered that my Malcolm & Suzanne books are part of the Charles & Mélanie series (with a name change). See the FAQ for more info, but also do feel free to post more questions.

      Thanks!
      Tracy

  114. Barbara Struhs Says:

    Dear Ms. Grant – Thank you for replying to me at 1:29 A.M.!! I hope you went to sleep soon after. Yes, I will also be reading Vienna Waltz and Imperial Scandal. Charles and Melanie are wonderful and complex, as is their relationship. Good stuff! Thank you for your prompt response. Barbara Struhs

  115. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks, Barbara! I often work late a night as it happens, and right now I have a five and a half-month-old,so that makes my schedule even more erratic (though she’s doing really well sleeping through the night). Thanks for the lovely words about Charles and Mel, and do let me know what you think of Vienna Waltz and Imperial Scandal.

  116. Aerin Says:

    I have read the first two books , which where fabulous!! Can’t wait to read “Night Mask”. Does this come in paperback or just an ebook? I’m not going to like it if you say it is only in ebook format. I don’t own a ebook reader and of the mind I really prefer a hand held book to turn pages on my own rather than on a computer. Thanks so much,
    Aerin


  117. […] By the end of this book, Malcolm and Suzette won’t quite be where Charles and Mel are after The Mask of Night (they’ll be rather more raw), but I should be able to right the book I planned to write after […]

  118. Tracy Grant Says:

    So glad you enjoyed the books, Aerin! Unfortunately, Mask of Night is only at ebook at present. I would love for a print publisher to pick it up, but that hasn’t happened yet. You can download a free Nook of Kindle app that would let you read it on your computer, phone, or tablet, though I realize that isn’t the same as holding a book in your hands. Sorry! Also, I don’t know if you know that Vienna Waltz and Imperial Scandal are also about Charles and Melanie, though they are called Malcolm and Suzanne. You can read more about this and how the books fit together on the fAQ page.http://tracygrant.wordpress.com/faq/

  119. Jodi Says:

    I love your books! They were recommended to me by Goodreads (based on my sleuth shelf featuring the likes of Deanna Raybourn, C.S. Harris, Charles Finch and Tasha Alexander). I live in The Netherlands and bought all your ebooks through Kobo (www.kobobooks.com), all but Mask unfortunately. Will there be a Kobo ebook release for Mask in the future? I cannot buy through Amazon or B&N due to geo restrictions. I have no idea what kind of decisions or protocols determine a publishing decision (I would assume selling books is a major one!) and I know it’s probably not up to you, but if you could drop a hint to your publisher/put in a good word or do some magic I would be very grateful! In the meantime I will just have to make do with following your wonderful blog to keep up with all the latest news and the interesting tidbits of extra information!
    Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    1. Jodi Says:

      Just replying to let you – and other (international) fans – know that I did manage to buy Mask through All Romance (I never heard of AR before and somehow missed the link, my fault). They accepted my Dutch address plus creditcard and I was able to buy both Mask and – a very pleasant bonus – also the entire Lescaut Quartet (also not available through Kobo) for about 11 euro’s total (at Kobo your other books are about 8 euro’s each, so I struck a pretty good bargain). Just wanted to share the good news! Off reading now…

  120. Tracy Grant Says:

    Thanks, Jodi, that’s great to know! Let me know how you enjoy them.

  121. Tracy Grant Says:

    p.s.

    I’m thrilled you found me on Goodreads through connections to some of my favorite writers! Do stay in touch!

  122. Cynthia Says:

    I am thrilled to discover you have written more books! I read Daughter of the Game when it first came out, found Beneath a Silent Moon as soon I could, and was then at a standstill until now. I didn’t know you had a reprint with a different title, and then since you changed the characters’ names, just now I was somewhat disappointed that there was a different series. I’m so glad I read these comments to find that it is actually the same series. I will buy the e-books for my iPad, though I prefer print copies. How I look forward to meeting these characters again! Thank you for writing such fascinating novels.
    By the way, if you appreciate Jayne Krentz and Nora Roberts, I would hope you have discovered Elizabeth Lowell/Ann Maxwell, who is easily their equal.

  123. Tracy Grant Says:

    I’m so glad you’ve found the Malcolm & Suzanne books, Cynthia! Do let me know how you like them. I think you will find they are still very much the same characters as Charles & Mélanie.


  124. Tracy,
    I’ve read all your books up to this one and love them all. When will Mask be published as a book? Hope it’s soon.
    Thanks for great reads,
    Gloria


  125. […] Charles was – that was actually starting to be the case for the Beneath a Silent Moon and The Mask of Night Charles. Charles is Daughter/Secrets didn’t even like to use the word spy. So Malcolm was going […]

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