I recently finished a romance novel with a plot based on a hot anonymous encounter between two old friends. The heroine was masked, and despite the fact that the hero had known her forever, and kept encountering her as her “real” self, he never made the connection. To this, I say, “Faugh!” I’ve been to a few costume parties in my time, and never once was I ever confused as to anyone’s identity. I believe I’d be highly insulted if someone failed to recognize my full, pouty lips and breathy voice just because I wore a feathered mask. But I realize this improbable masquerade scenario can be found in countless romances.

We generally suspend belief when we read fiction, but I fear the masked ball pushes me into severe rationality. As much as I would like to misbehave without getting caught, I’d be the one in the corner saying, “Oh, that’s George—see his weak chin? Look, it’s Lady Glum. She’s still laughing like a hyena.” So this plotline is not one that automatically makes me plunk down my hard-earned cash.

Read or written any good masquerades lately? What plots bore you to bits or strain your credulity?

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. ~Oscar Wilde