…With a captivating mixture of espionage and intrigue, the novel explores different perspectives on religion, individual motivation, ruling classes, sex, favors, and the era’s complex political and social landscape.

Reviewed by Toni Woodruff Independent Book Review, March 2024


Goldberg is a master storyteller…Lovers of history will appreciate the detail within the book as it is well-researched and steeped in historical accuracy, while those who love a great spy story will find just that within its pages. Whether a fan of one or both genres, this is one not to miss.. Kat Kennedy

RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books


Goldberg has created a flawed character, perfect for the challenging role of international espionage in a Europe with rapidly shifting, national alliances.

Reviewed by Christine Childs, Historical Novel Society


…Loretta Goldberg does an exceptional job of depicting Latham’s uncertain balance between loyalty and belief…Sit back and enjoy the cat-and-mouse games which play out in 1500s Europe. It’s a story that will prove as engrossing to newcomers to the times as those already well versed in its culture and setting.

The Midwest Book Review, Diane Donovan Literary Services, October 2021


Lush, inspired, and provocative… A spellbinding tale.

…Intricate, tight plotting, richly drawn atmosphere, and an unpretentious but literate writing style make it a page-turner.

The Prairies Book Review, August 2021


Meticulously researched and delightfully balanced with narrative and action. An astonishing feat…Most of all I enjoyed Latham’s slow questioning of spiritual certainties that are still relevant in today’s world. I would certainly read anything Goldberg writes.

Nev March, author of Murder in Old Bombay, winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Award for Best First Crime Fiction Novel 2021. November 2021


There is a great deal to like in this book. The author’s knowledge of war, weapons and deployment is sufficient to lend authenticity. Recommended for those who like stories of war and the religious turmoil of the 16th century.

Helen Hollick, founder of Discovering Diamonds Reviews



Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2018

Disclaimer: I was forwarded this book as an advance review copy. I have to admit that that didn’t matter, as I would gladly have paid for it–“The Reversible Mask” is a really good read. I’m not going to summarize; there too many spoilers, I don’t want to ruin it for you, and other reviewers will, I’m sure, tell every detail. I’m a Tudor period historian, and love spy stuff and mysteries, and this book left me happy and wanting more from the author. The plot is tight and moves very, very fast. The writing is quite talented and characterization so real that I felt I was right there in the action myself. The main character, Edward Latham, makes that a real plus: he’s hot, he’s smarter than Walsingham, and his libido is very active and varied. If this ever becomes a movie, I have many casting suggestions. For a first published novel, this is insanely good!
Stephanie Cowell

Reviewed in the United States on November 30, 2019

What joy to discover this marvelously intelligent, exquisitely-written novel of a 16th-century Englishman who, torn between serving his protestant Queen Elizabeth and his Catholic faith, ends up as a spy for BOTH Spain and England…Written with a vast knowledge of the period and poetry, Edward Latham is a true Elizabethan man, seeing the world as a philosopher and rash idealist, an unforgettable character…


Susan Wands
Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2019

From the opening ceremony at Oxford attended by Queen Elizabeth to Edward Latham impersonating a camel in Constantinople, the sweeping scenes of The Reversible Mask are compelling…a must read for those intrigued by spies and Elizabethan history.


Clog Dancer

Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2019

This book kept me glued to it from the opening pages. Its subtitle “An Elizabethan Spy Novel,” while accurate, doesn’t begin to describe the richness and complexity of the story, or its sweep. Loretta Goldberg has the rare ability to describe historical events with so much immediacy that while reading, I felt as if I were living in 16th century Europe, caught up in the tangle of its politics and identifying first with one character, than another. Sequel, please.

Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2020

I love historical fiction and spy stories. This is the first time I’ve been able to read one that combines both! While the time period is not one that I have ever had much interest in, I was fascinated to learn more about it through this story. The conflict between Catholic and Protestant kingdoms and how the main character picked his path between religious and patriotic choices was done believably and intriguingly. The goals that the espionage addressed were realistic, giving a real sense of the vast background of details involved in politics of the Elizabethan era. Even more so, I loved the tour across Europe as far as Turkish Instanbul, seeing the characters react to different cultures and innovations of the time. I highly recommend this book!


Loved it and can highly recommend. It is obvious lots of research has been done of the times, politics, war, people and European countries.

Linda Amos, A LoveReading Ambassador

Here’s what people are saying about The Reversible Mask…

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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

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“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

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“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

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"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

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"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