Get the books

Summer 1566. A glittering royal progress approaches Oxford. A golden age of prosperity, scientific advances, exploration and artistic magnificence. Elizabeth I’s Protestant government has much to celebrate.

But one young Catholic courtier isn’t cheering.

Conflicting passions—patriotism and religion—wage war in his heart. On this day, religion wins. Sir Edward Latham throws away his title, kin, and country to serve Catholic monarchs abroad.

But his wandering doesn’t quiet his soul, and when Europe’s religious wars threaten his beloved England and his family, patriotism prevails. Latham switches sides and becomes a double agent for Queen Elizabeth. Life turns complicated and dangerous as he balances protecting country and queen, while entreating both sides for peace.

Intrigue, lust, and war combine in this thrilling debut historical novel from Loretta Goldberg.

Book Excellence Finalists Award 2019

International Firebird Book Award 2023 (Historical Fiction)

Available from Amazon and all good book stores

Paperback: 542 pages
Kindle: Yes
Publisher: Madeglobal Publishing (December 3, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-8494853951
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches

default image

I have to say straight out: Loretta Goldberg’s The Reversible Mask is one of the best-written books I’ve read for a very long time. It’s billed as a historical mystery but it’s much more than that, the journey of a soul in troubled times. Edward Latham is a Catholic at the court of Queen Elizabeth I but, unable to reconcile his beliefs with his service at court, he flees to Scotland to offer his service to (Catholic) Queen Mary. But Scotland is as unstable as England is unsafe and it’s only the beginning of Edward’s adventures. As he careers around Europe in the service of various Catholic powers we learn about his life and his loves, his good side and his bad. The portrayal of the battles between his heart and his head, his faith versus his inherent allegiance to his country, all make for a sensitive and, in the end, compelling portrayal. 4/5

Jennifer Young ARC Review NetGalley July 29, 2019

default image

"This is my first Loretta Goldberg novel, and it is a winner.  In fact, it is Loretta’s debut novel.  The reader is transported back to the summer of 1566 introducing us to  Elizabeth I’s Protestant government.  The story encompasses religion and patriotism and Europe’s religious wars.  This is a wonderful way to learn about history and the past, by being introduced to characters that not only burst off the page, but ignite our imaginations.  If you are interested in the way of the “royals”, “The Reversible Mask’ is a must read for you.  We shall enjoy this book for now and wait anxiously for another historical tale from Loretta Goldberg."

Cathie Martin Entirely Women, WGRT Radio Port Huron, MI March 5, 2019

default image

"The book has some amazing battle sequences, especially the battle of St. Ghislain. The descriptions of fire boats (boats loaded with gunpowder and sailed into naval battles, then blown up) and flyboats (fast freshwater ships adapted for naval warfare) give the reader a better understanding of the Armada battle tactics."

Alison McMahan International Thriller Writer's Association, Fearless Blogger Florida November 25, 2018

default image

"Her story shimmers with the detailed specificity of, say, Proust’s A Remembrance of Things Past, while its roots bring to mind the embedded sensuality that drives Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude. Goldberg’s protagonist, Edward Latham, a dashing Elizabethan double agent, personifies the nerve-tingling tension between passionate patriotism and a tormented Catholic conscience. For all its scholarship this tale of derring-do rollicks along at a terrific pace."

Caroline Thomas Total Theatre Lab, Director New York, NY November 25, 2018

default image

“…The Reversible Mask held me from start to finish. I loved the span and scope balanced with the individual rhythm of each character. You weaved a story so engrossing that I’m feeling a touch of mourning now that I’ve finished. Thank you for this novel.”

Doug Shapiro Actor, AEA/SAG-AFTRA New York, NY October 10, 2018

default image

“This is a glorious novel! Rich in detail and atmosphere, jewel-like in its creation of Elizabethan England, it’s the best kind of historical fiction, transporting readers to a captivating time and place and story. Goldberg does a magnificent job of conveying the intrigue, passion and sometimes sheer sumptuousness of Elizabeth I’s  court and politics. I loved it.”

Jeanne Mackin award winning author of fiction and non-fiction. (The Beautiful American; forthcoming A Lady of Good Family; Dreams of Empire; The Queen’s War; The Sweet By and By; and The Frenchwoman. Penguin, St. Martin’s Press.) Rochester, NY October 3, 2018

default image

“Goldberg has created a richly detailed world, brought to life with a brilliant cast of engaging characters. The Reversible Mask is a true delight.”

Adrienne Dillard (Cor Rotto, A Novel of Catherine Carey, Catherine Carey: History in a Nutshell Series; Raven’s Widow. MadeGlobal Publishing.) Portland, OR October 3, 2018

Coming in June 2024

New Guinea, 1941.Heroism, sacrifice, and ultimately hope, transcend the horrors of war.

Two men preparing for war, both with secrets they are determined to keep. Jake Friedman, an idealistic young Jewish doctor from Melbourne, is haunted by the death of a colleague he thinks he caused. Alex Whipple, a Catholic from Melbourne known as Wip, is a soul-scarred veteran of the First World War. Wip is an enigma who fights bullies on behalf of their victims yet has a chequered past in the wild side of post-war Paris that he wants to forget.

Both are posted to Lark Force, a lone and under-resourced battalion defending the strategic port town of Rabaul. It’s not long before Jake and Wip feel a deep pull of attraction. When the Japanese invade Rabaul, their battalion is abandoned by the Australian Government. Improvising a desperate jungle retreat, fighting rain, insects, disease, and vengeful Japanese pursuers, Jake will face the ultimate trial of his courage and Wip struggle to find the will to live.
This meticulously researched and richly textured novel is set in a lesser-known battle of the Pacific War. The strength of the human spirit and bonds of love are tested against the backdrop of these battles. “Beyond the Bukubuk Tree” is a gripping saga of courage and resilience of diverse communities in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Here’s what people are saying…

Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille and The Boy in the Rain, American Book Award 

“Gripping and sensual love story between two officers in Australia during World War Two, one a doctor driven to heal, the other an officer with a past he is determined to forget.  Horrified by the news of Hitler’s massacres, the young Jewish doctor Jake joins the army and leaves his Melbourne family with its artistic, intellectual conversations, shipping to Papua New Guinea where they grimly await the imminent attack of Japanese forces. Amid the worlds of army camp and hospital, the native Tolai, and the fight against fungus sores, malaria, and polio, Jake falls in love with the enigmatic Wip, love which was then against the law. The two men’s spiritual and physical bond will face even dire challenges as the first enemy bombs fall.

Author Loretta Goldberg brought me into a world I had not yet encountered, of a hot, humid, tropical climate, insects and snakes, strange fruits and native customs, live volcanos spilling fire and ash and the precious cinchona trees yielding quinine, the only way to fight malaria when commercial quinine runs out. BEYOND is an utterly fascinating novel in a whole new exploration of the fierce endurance of human love against the evils of ignorance and war. Magically done. Very hard to put down, impossible to forget.”

Tolai researcher Angelique Guranah, Director, Niugini Sindauk Ltd.

“You convey so well in your writing that Tolia people while very respectful are also a very proud lot.”

Roger L. Crossland, retired US Navy SEA officer, author of The Abalone Ukulele, winner of the Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Book Award in naval fiction.

“Exquisite battle sequences with complexity, train of thought, detail, and skads of utter chaos. Readers can taste the feel of being outnumbered with antique WWI ordnance, all communications cut off, and no place to go. I particularly like the relationships built around the medical aspects of tropical disease. Homage to James Michener, Herman Wouk, and James Jones.”

International Firebird Book Award 2023 (War Fiction)