Fiction - Womens
270 Pages
Reviewed on 05/11/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Ruhara for Readers' Favorite

UnMasked by Julie Cadman is the story of three strong generational women named Kylie, Patti, and Jen. More often than not, Kylie finds herself sandwiched between Jen and Patti since the two do not get along with each other. Despite loving them, she has learned to live with them, even though it bothers her. At the moment, the three have different expectations and goals. Kylie can't wait for lacrosse season to start, and Jen is stressed out from trying to balance work, family, and her parents. Lastly, Patti is bored and wants her children and grandchildren to visit. Unfortunately, the pandemic has spread throughout the world, paralyzing all activities. The women have to go through lockdowns, layoffs, and terror as they witness close friends dying and almost losing a (close) family member. Shockingly, the pandemic is not as big a blow as the secret that Patti has been keeping from Jen. Patti discloses the secret to Kylie and asks that she does not tell her mother. Is this the reason why Patti is always harsh to Jen? The secret digs deep to uncover old wounds she never intended to expose. Patti's already strained relationship with her daughter will require a miracle to mend.

What I loved about UnMasked by Julie Cadman is the use of multiple narrators. This allowed me to experience each narrator individually and from their narration, I could resonate with each of the character's feelings, thoughts, and emotions. I understood why they acted the way they did and what made them think the way they did. This helped me connect with each character and made the experience enjoyable. I also liked how well the characters were developed, with each playing their role perfectly to make the storyline entertaining and realistic. I recommend it to readers who love family dramas; it will keep you enthralled and leave you wanting more.

Rabia Tanveer

UnMasked by Julie Cadman offers a focus on relationships and how secrets have the power to destroy relationships. Kylie is a 16-year-old high school student whose social life is affected. Thanks to the pandemic, she cannot meet her friends, and her beloved lacrosse season is put on hold. Her grandmother, affectionately called Granda, along with Patti’s love and her mother Jen’s support is the only thing keeping her going these days. However, Kylie is caught up in a drama all too soon and there is nothing she can do to stop it. Granda has a secret. She doesn’t share it with her daughter Jen, but with Kylie, which puts Kylie in a tough spot. With each passing day, all three women learn to count their blessings and accept their relationship before it is too late.

I don't usually enjoy novels written in the first-person narrative because most of the time it feels a little forced. However, this is not so in UnMasked. Julie Cadman breathes life into each of her characters and makes sure the narrative style feels like a conversation with a friend. Patti is a little hard to like, but she has her reasons. Kylie, the poor girl, is stuck in a bad situation while Jen is simply overwhelmed. The story uses the COVID-19 pandemic as a background but also as a driver for the story. It changes how our protagonists look at things and try to work their differences out. The lockdown is almost treated as a blessing for the Blake family. The secret is not so much a secret but a catalyst for how it will all play out for these women from three different generations.

Manik Chaturmutha

Unmasked by Julie Cadman follows the lives of Patti, Jennifer, and Kylie, three generations of women in the same family. Patti and Jennifer are mothers who are looking after their families. They are similar but simultaneously different from each other as we dive deeper into their everyday lives, feelings, regrets, and dreams. It's an ordinary book about real-life people living with their families, describing their relationships with others, their careers, and the challenges of life.

Julie Cadman effectively highlights the small events that happen in people's lives that may not be significant but still have considerable impact. All the characters' stories are diverse to provide different perspectives and viewpoints. We see how Patti, a woman in her seventies, views the world and cares about those around her, Jennifer is in her forties, and Kylie is in her teens. When Covid-19 hits, it affects all the family members differently and details how each of us copes in different ways.

Unmasked is solely based on the characters and their lives and shows us their growth and lessons instead of focusing on a complicated plot. The characters learn small things about themselves and become closer than they were at the beginning as they strengthen their bond. Each character's story will be relatable to different age groups. Written in the first person narrative, the style of this literary novel is optimistic and thoughtful. I recommend it to those who love to read about life events and enjoy a family focussed approach. The ideologies presented may differ from that of the readers but it will help by providing a different perspective to consider.