Masquerade by S N Williams

We all hide behind a mask of sorts but when a naive Julia attends her first masquerade ball in Venice none the less at the tender age of 15, she has her eyes opened to the world that she and her family reside in. She has learnt from her mother even at her tender age how to appreciate the finer things in life.

So when this young girl returned from the ball and proudly hung her mask on her wall, she could have no idea what and where her future would like and what mask she would have to wear to get  through it.

Life teaches tough lessons namely that things are not always what they seem, people are good at building up defences and barriers that prevent you from seeing what they truly are and what their motive is.

Julia will learn this all too well and it is an ethos to bear in mind while reading the book.

The story flits around a bit in the beginning, dropping in and out of Julia’s life. Following the ball we jump forward to Julia’s senior year in high school. We get a snapshot of a fleeting romance with Jason the young guy next door before he vanishes from her life, almost as quickly as he appeared. Safe to say that following her attempt to track him down, she is life is irrevocable altered.

Next we pick up with her two years later and she is trying to fit in at college. Once bitten and twice shy, we are guided through Julia’s trials and tribulations as she struggles to keep herself on an even keel.

All that changes when she meets Alan and as much as I have to say that I liked Alan, I was reluctant to fully commit to him, I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was but I had a reservation that wouldn’t leave me alone. I suppose I was looking at the twists and turns that were following Julia and struggling to make sense of them and his place in her life.

When Chris entered the picture I couldn’t help but get the feeling that it had all become a little too muddied.

I mean Chris and Alan were friends, and I didn’t want a convoluted situation for Julia, I just wanted her to have her happy ever after and I couldn’t see where it was going to come from. But then again, was Julia playing them at their own game and hiding her true feelings?

The story is a minefield of twists and turns and deception. Just as you feel you have a handle on what is going on the goalposts are moved and everything is turned on its head. But the only thing that kept me turning the pages was the fact that I wanted, no scratch that I needed to know Julia’s fate, what could and would she discover and how would that impact her.

This was a book that will have you scratching you head and trying to decide not only if you have actually made sense of the plot but if you like the characters involved, the author wrote some difficult situations and introduced some characters that required absolute attention as you read their story but that was a positive in my book, this was not a flighty read, it required my concentration and in that respect I found it was a good read.

I would recommend this to anyone but would give the proviso that you need to have the opportunity to concentrate, so make time, to give the book the time and consideration requires.