4.5 out of 5 stars to (Un)Masked by Andrew Q. Gordon


SUMMARY: Jay Walker has two wishes: to perform the play of his dreams alongside his best friend at Wellington’s Downstage Theatre, and to meet that special someone. Someone he’d go to the ends of the earth for. Someone who might only exist in fairy tales.

When Jay meets accordion busker Lethe Cross, it’s like living a dream come true. Lethe’s music captivates Jay, and he resolves to meet the man who plays so beautifully. But then he discovers Lethe’s life is more like a nightmare. The phrase “down on his luck” can’t begin to cover it. Determined to help, Jay does some snooping for answers-and winds up on the wrong end of a centuries-old curse. The good news is there’s a way to break it. The bad news is it might cost Jay his life.

Let me start off by saying that I don’t normally go for paranormal romances. Vampires and werewolves just aren’t my thing. But there was something very intriguing about the summary to (Un)Masked – it talked about an ancient curse and not shape shifters or blood suckers. So I gave it a shot. And boy, I’m glad I did.

The “play within the book” actually sums it up better than I can: “Music of the Mask, by Jayden Walker, is a sensitively observed play about friendship and love. This romantic drama is at times warm spirited and adventurous but doesn’t hesitate to delve into the pains of guilt and grief.”

The book centers around Jay and his amazing, deep friendship with Gristle and Lethe, the mysterious young man that turns Jay’s world upside down. For Jay is the only person who can see Lethe’s true face, not the mask he is cursed with. Some people see Lethe as a loved one, others an enemy.

While the ancient curse is the driving force behind the entire book, there aren’t dark elves jumping out from every corner. The book is very much grounded in the real world. The other main theme of the book is love and loss and the deep emotions each represent.

Jay and Lethe have found their soulmate in each other, finally finding love and happiness. But when a horrible tragedy tears Jay’s world apart he can no longer see Lethe’s true face and it threatens to destroy their relationship. I have no problem admitting that I teared up more than once during the last third of this book. My heart was breaking for Jay and the sacrifice he was willing to make to save Lethe.

My only tiny quibble? I couldn’t help but wonder how Lethe even survived his childhood, since I doubt he could have hidden his face. Did the curse not take affect until Lethe hit puberty or adulthood? Would have loved a bit more backstory. Other than that, a very solid story.

So if you’re looking for a very well written romance with a touch of the paranormal, I highly recommend (Un)Masked.

Buy from Amazon HERE

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