Behind the Curtain by Beth Kery
Released: May 4, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
If you like angst, emotional young love, and a books that give you “all the feels” Behind the Curtain is for you. We start in present day, with our hero Asher returning to Chicago for some relaxation before he starts his new job in London. Asher has been traveling the world as a reporter, stationed mostly in the middle east. His family owns a large media company and it was assumed he would work for his father, but Asher wanted to travel, and make his way on his own. He gives up his trust fund to live his own life, and he is happy for it. The only thing that still haunts him is the girl he fell in love with one summer eight years previously.
Laila is that girl, and she still thinks about Asher as well. Laila is Moroccan-American, born in Detroit and raised with very traditional values. Laila’s dreams include writing and performing her own music, something she knows her parents would frown upon. After graduating college with a business degree, she moves to Chicago with her cousin, and secretly pursues her musical passion. She starts performing at a night club under the name “Yesenia”, behind a shimmery veil, so no one can really see her face, but they can hear her voice and she becomes very popular. Asher and two of his college friends go to this club, and Asher is shocked to realize that the woman behind the veil could be his lost love.
“Yesenia performs behind a curtain,” Rudy continued as if Jimmy hadn’t spoken. “It’s a sheer curtain, so you can make out her smoking body and the way she moves and everything. But you can’t really see the details of her face. Her performances and lyrics are supposed to be off-the-charts sexy, but in an understated, unique way. The press has taken to calling her the Veiled Siren.”
Then we head back into the past for a lot of the book, when Asher and Laila first meet. They both are vacationing in Crescent Bay, Michigan for the summer. Laila is nineteen and I think Asher is a couple of years older. They meet by chance as Laila is swimming in “her” secret lake and Asher arrives at “his”secret lake (aka the same lake) and they have an instant connection. Asher falls hard. Laila falls hard but their romance is not easy. Laila’s parents are very strict and protective when it comes to Laila seeing boys, and they want her to marry a Moroccan man. She has to start sneaking out and lying to her parents to meet with him. Laila loves her parents dearly and it’s a struggle for her to follow her heart, and obey her parents.
Because of this, when they do meet, it’s so intense. They don’t know how much time they have, and there is always the threat that Laila could be caught. With the help of her two cousins whom she is very close with, Laila and Asher are able to have a love affair that summer.
Asher is also struggling with his parents but for different reasons. He has to tell them he isn’t going to work for the family and this pressure really weighs on him. He also doesn’t always understand Laila’s parents and their strict rules. He never pressures Laila though and is always kind and thoughtful. He encourages her to pursue her dreams – he opens up her smaller world and allows her to see what her life could be in a bigger picture. She trusts him so much, and even tells him her biggest passion in life is writing and performing music:
“I’ve never told another soul that before.”
“You haven’t?” he asked her slowly.
She shook her head.
“Because it’s a stupid, childish obsession.” The words burst out of her throat. “I don’t even know why I do it!”
“Yes, you do.”
“I do?” she asked, stunned by his confidence.
“Yeah.” He squeezed her hands under the water. “Think about it for a minute.”
“It makes me happy,” she whispered, a tremor of feeling going through her a the realization.
This book is super sexy – maybe could even be classified as erotic. Their love and passion for each other worked so well for me – both in the past and present. I just adored Laila and her discovery of romance and learning things about herself. I love that she respects her parents even though they make it difficult for her to pursue Asher.
Eventually we head back to the present, where Asher and Laila meet once again – after years apart – after that fateful summer. It’s intense and emotional…and you will have to read to see how it all works out in the end.
Beth Kery has an absolutely beautiful voice in this book.