Bethany Walker loves her new life in the New Orleans French Quarter with her young daughter Abby and Life's Illusions, the shop where she sells her extraordinary feathered masks. Only memories of Abby's father Justin Dumontier, the man who vanished from her life before her daughter's birth, cast shadows over Louisiana's bright sunshine.
Now one morning as carnival season begins and her work load increases, Bethany glances up to find Justin gazing at her. Hiding herself and the child he doesn't know about is no longer an option. She may have kept their baby a secret, but four-year-old Abby is all too clearly his.
Fate has reunited them, but so much stands between them still. Like one of Bethany's masks, will the painful events that separated them forever disguise what they feel? Or will they at last find a way to reveal what each of them needs most?
Mardi Gras day, a time to fling away inhibitions, is fast approaching. During carnival season in New Orleans, almost anything seems possible. Even love.
The Unmasking is one of my very first novels. When I was given the chance to turn it into an ebook I realized how much I still liked the story, but I also saw ways to change it for the better. I decided to edit and revise the book, to tighten the prose, remove the adjectives, change the love scenes and some of the dialogue, even to sharpen the characters.
But dare I change the dates? This is a pre-Katrina novel, and had I revised it to take place after the devastating hurricane that destroyed so much of the Gulf Coast, I would have needed to change too many things. I liked this story the way it was, set in a simpler New Orleans, but one that seemed real for its time.
Despite extensive changes so many things are still the same in the city, including most of the physical setting of The Unmasking. The French Quarter and St. Charles Avenue, where Justin’s mother lives, survived Katrina with far less damage than some of the outlying areas, including Gentilly, where my own house was located. We were gone by the time Katrina arrived, but if you’ve ever lived in New Orleans, you understand that you never truly leave it.
I am so glad to revisit the city I loved and will always love in this novel.