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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Masks by Nataly Restokian is a contemporary romance with a unique twist, a story of love that explores a woman’s unrelenting search for happiness and inner freedom. Anna had never been beautiful or attractive in her younger years. She once was the nerd who got bullied at school, stifled by the norms of society and religion, but she is the woman who broke free and went after pleasure and fame, eventually getting into the circle of Arab celebrities. As her fame grows so too does a disturbing emptiness, a void that inhabits her. Anna is determined to find fulfillment and meaning and neither wealth, sex, nor fame seem to offer her what she deeply desires. When she meets a young Canadian, her heart opens in ways she’d never experienced before. Is she ready to leave her unfaithful husband and the world of glamour and risk all for a man across the ocean with nothing to offer?
Nataly Restokian is an author who knows how to build emotional tension, developing a protagonist whose journey allows readers to understand the world she comes from. There is a striking sensuality in the language that reflects the beauty of the soul of the protagonist. It is interesting how she juxtaposes the sacred with the mundane, societal taboos with the quest for freedom. Her characters are not just enjoyable but real, and she captures the dilemmas of the modern woman in an Arab setting with intelligence, skill, and wisdom. Anna is one of those characters that modern women will root for. I enjoyed the elegant prose, the enticing setting featuring religious and cultural elements, and the winding plot, but above all, the deft character handling got me. Masks is a novel that is bold and that explores the masks most of us are forced to carry. It’s a story of how one woman dares to throw off her mask and face her innermost desires. A must-read!