Fantasy literature, like other types, takes on the aspect of a conversation, one I'm especially happy to have with Sherwood. She writes deeply and knowledgeably about a variety of historical and literary topics, and has a gift for encouraging newer writers and generating thoughtful discussions on history, manners, story-telling, and a host of related topics. Even when I feel inundated by things to read -- online and in print -- I find her work rewards a second reading, and "The Art of Masks" is no exception. Every story element is precisely balanced, with an interplay of nuance and detail that enhances the sense of the greater world beyond. The good news is that if you, like me, have fallen in love with that world, there is much much more to discover.
And really, what more can one say about a woman who participates in the SFWA Musketeers, enjoys watching The Three Stooges, and reads the letters of Jane Austen?