Prepare to feel love, loss, terror, and ultimately be swept off your feet in this hauntingly romantic novel! What Lies Beneath The Mask, by Laura Greenwood, is a truly captivating story. There is a profound sense of realism webbed throughout the plot and within the trauma the main protagonist Annabelle endures. The parallel between Annabelle’s love interests and her own growth in relation to her self identify is a perfect reflection of life’s journey through experience and maturity. Annabelle has gained a sense of self respect and has learned to assert herself in a way that was evidently lacking before her trauma. Annabelle’s ex is also a polar opposite from her current love interest. Her journey of self development is not only well incorporated into her character, but it is also universally relatable.
Another wonderful component to this novel is the imagery. Greenwood demonstrates a talent for providing subtle detail that is extremely effective as to not overpower and intrude on the reader’s own imagination. There is also variation in how the imagery is presented. Instead of choosing to always tell the reader through narrating thoughts, the author uses many creative methods to share Annabelle’s past. Imagery is portrayed through dialogue between characters, flash backs, her best friend’s point of view, and even light story telling that is added between a relevant scene that is also showing. By using variation, the reader does not become bored through narration or overwhelmed with a prologue of information.
Greenwood also seems to incorporate a vast amount of knowledge into her novel when referring to the theater process. Most of the story takes place within the theater and the entire setting is definitely centered around Annabelle’s production. The author allows the reader to feel as if they are not only a part of the play’s process, but also educated within the field. From costumes to props, this specific knowledge definitely becomes a part of the reader. Once again, parallelism seems to become a reoccurring theme. There is a mirrored theme between Annabelle’s play and Annabelle’s character. Greenwood does a beautiful job when symbolizing this throughout the novel.
Annabelle’s character is likable and relatable to many readers. While Annabelle is vulnerable, she begins to demonstrate this inner strength and bravery throughout the novel. Maturity and self awareness is an essential part of human development and it is both interesting and relatable to see Annabelle progress in that fashion. While Annabelle appears to be very internal and studious, the author does allow us to see glimpses of Annabelle’s humor throughout the novel. Greenwood connects with her reader’s through Annabelle, such as when Annabelle shares her thought process during a moment of embarrassment stating that by blushing she must be clashing horribly with her hair color. The reader can appreciate the this moment of human humility. Annabelle is a character with strengths, weaknesses, and insecurities. Humans are complex and Annabelle is no different.
Overall, this novel is a wonderful read. It certainly gravitates towards specific genre lovers, including those who prefer romance, young adult, drama, and perhaps even those who normally gravitate towards darker romantic or paranormal romance novels. Even though there aren’t any supernatural elements within this book, there is a similar atmosphere surrounding the story. Mystery, fear, and uncertainty are a large part playing into the theme. Although all readers can appreciate and enjoy this novel, it may seem that Annabelle’s character may be most relatable to the female majority.
Three years ago, Annabelle escaped from the man that had been abusing and controlling her life from the age of seventeen. Now, Annabelle guards her heart fiercely, from everyone except her best friend, Hayley.
As the assistant director of an amateur performance of the Phantom of the Opera, Annabelle needs everything to be perfect. When strange events and notes start to plague Annabelle’s time at the theatre, the true extent of her ex-boyfriend’s obsession begins to make itself known.
Then, there’s Jack; the charming leading man determined to break through the walls surrounding her heart – even if he doesn’t know why they’