My goal is to eventually make my way through all of these must-read titles. These books have been around for so long and read by so many that another generic review from your average reader seems unnecessary. Instead, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of the experts have to say about the stories that paved the way for their own success… and how their perspective compares to my own reading experience. Today, I’m looking at Gayle Lynds’s Masquerade.
What do you do when you gaze into the mirror – and find a stranger looking back? Whom do you trust when your only link to your identity is a stranger who claims to be your lover? Where do you turn when violence explodes around you, when nothing makes sense, when nobody – including you – is whom he or she appears to be? As Liz Sansborough unravels a series of lies, she begins to suspect that the truth she encounters might be far more sinister – and deadly – than the original deception…
Masquerade is only noteworthy because it was written by a woman… or at least, that’s the focus of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s essay.
It is interesting to read about what was going on behind the scenes. Stories like these are important, to recognize where we’ve come from and where we’re headed. “Lynds is an accidental icon. She insists her objective was telling a good story, not breaking barriers. But when she got push-back from the publishing world, she became as stubborn as one of her heroines.” And breaking barriers is great… but the fact is, it is a good story, and that’s obviously worth talking about too.
On the surface, it’s similar to The Bourne Identity… so I was predisposed to either like it or be disappointed by it, and I’m glad it ended up going the first way. International espionage, conspiracies with global implications, and memories that can’t be trusted all make for a great mix.
Ryan calls Masquerade “a contemporary and authoritative espionage thriller – written by a woman.” It also stars a woman. In fact, most of my favorite secondary characters are women as well. That can’t be a coincidence. Not only was Lynds determined to break into the genre, but she brought something fresh to the genre as well. She wanted to prove that a heroine could be just as brilliant and resourceful as the “Walther PPK-toting, tuxedo-sporting, code-breaking, martini-drinking alpha males.”
I’d say she succeeded. Masquerade deserves its spot on the must-reads list… not because a woman wrote it, but because that woman wrote a great story.
Nineteen down, eighty-one to go…
Next month I’ll be reading John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.