May 16, 2017

REVIEW: Behind the Curtain

Behind the Curtain, by Beth Kery
Publish Date:
May 2, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) There’s something about this woman…

On a break between overseas jobs, journalist Asher Gaites returns to his hometown of Chicago—and allows his friends to persuade him to check out a hot new singer. At a downtown jazz club, he’s soon transfixed by the lyrical voice and sensuous body of a woman who performs behind a thin, shimmering veil...

That could bring a man to his knees.

The veil gives Moroccan American Laila Barek the anonymity she needs since she has never been able to reconcile her family’s values with her passion for music. But one man is inexplicably drawn to her. And when Asher confronts her on a subway platform after a gig, he’s shocked to recognize the woman who walked away from him nine years ago...

Laila has never been able to forget the touch, the feel, the taste of Asher. And despite the doubt and fear that wind their way into their lives, they must trust the heat of their desire to burn down the walls the world has placed between them…

Behind The Curtain is a book that takes the trope of the forbidden romance to a whole new level. Because the relationship highlighted within its pages truly was forbidden on a very personal and profound level. And it asks the reader to think about exactly how far he or she would go in order to be with the person he or she loves. Would you forsake your family? Your culture? The fabric of your makeup? 

Laila and Asher meet one fateful summer in a beach town in Michigan. They were both on vacation and in very different places in their lives. Nineteen-year-old Laila was just starting out in life, and although a college degree in business isn't what she would've picked for her life, she understands the value in it and is excited to finally get to college and be on her own for a change. Asher is done with college and ready to start his first job, but it's not the job his father wants for him. Asher has bucked tradition and, rather than take over the family business, he's becoming a reporter. 

Asher's rich, society-conscious family would never approve of him dating a Moroccan-American Muslim girl. And Laila's very traditional family would never approve of her dating a white rich boy. Laila is set to start college in Chicago in a month. Asher is set to start a new dream job in Lost Angeles in a month. The timing and the situation could not have been worse for these two, but still, they fell deeply in love. And, when things came to a head and they had to part ways, it was devastating for both of them. 

Now, eight years later, Asher can't believe his ears when he hears Laila's beautiful singing voice coming from a veiled singing sensation named Yesenia. He has a second chance with Laila, but really nothing has changed. Her family still wouldn't approve. He is a week away from taking a new job in London. But, they have hindsight and maturity on their sides this time. Maybe that will make a difference this time. 

A little more than half of Behind the Curtain is told in the past. It's all told in one chunk, rather than switching back and forth between the past and the present as many books do in the case of a second chance love story. I prefer to get the whole story all at once like this. It's much less distracting this way. 

The thing with Behind the Curtain is that there is no completely happy ending. Both Asher and, particularly Laila, need to make some really difficult choices. It's so easy to say that you would do anything for love, but would you give up a family that you love and that loves you in return? Would that be an easy choice for you to make? It's definitely not an easy one for Laila. And that made for some delicious angst. And a not entirely clean ending, either.  

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