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Masks

Narrated by: Nicole Renè
Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

Masks is a dark fictional tale, based on true-life events. It narrates the adventures of a young Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the '70s. She dreams of fame and power in Lebanon and the Arab world and shows resilience and motivation beyond her years.

The novel delves into the world of the protagonist, Anna, who is surrounded by social, religious, and sexual taboos. She fiercely breaks the chains to enter the world she has striven to reach, in a seemingly conservative society barely emerging from a civil war. She builds her success on her remaining values, challenging her fate and sparing no means to attain her goals.

As a disappointment to her parents, she walks the challenging paths alone, making her way toward fame and fortune despite lacking the support system to do so. Doors begin to open for her, and she enters the world of Arab celebrities. She is now a public figure in the Middle East, living an immoral married life in a materialistic world surrounded by influential business people and royal family members. She tries, in vain, to fill the void in her soul with sexual adventures and controversy by taking a wide variety of lovers.

Her adventures invariably end in misery, doing nothing to awaken her from her numbness. Still, her vivid, out-of-control personality helps her move forward while simultaneously getting her in trouble. In the early stages of her life, she has suffered the unthinkable, being bullied and raped, with the civil war a constant backdrop throughout most of her childhood. The novel delves deep into Anna's mind as she has flashbacks of the trauma she has suffered, offering the listener a hint of an explanation for her behavior.

In a society in which men dominate women, she is one of the few who realize that fashion, social status, plastic surgeries, and bright smiles are not the answer to happiness. She lives in a world where a girl is only worth as much as her virginity, where women do not dare to ask for a divorce, where the fear of retribution keeps them locked in a cage that is very rarely gilded.

As fame, money, and power slowly eat at her soul, the arrogant Anna falls in love with a total stranger - a young, single bachelor from Canada - after a night of secret passion. That is where the story begins to unravel as she returns home with a scandal in her back pocket, her eyes and ears and heart tuned to this man instead of her husband. Anna realizes that neither her marriage nor her achievements have ever made her happy, so she decides to throw it all away. The lies and deceit that fill the so-called glamorous life she has been leading are floating up to the surface, including her husband's infidelity and the critical steps she has taken to reach the top.

Marriage, family, career - all destroyed to be united with the stranger. She starts a new battle, this time struggling to change her destiny for someone she barely knows, who lives oceans apart and offers her nothing except his heart.

She risks everything, turning her whole life upside down. Anna realizes that her happiness, inner peace, and love are found worlds away from her own, with someone she would never have expected to be her soul mate. Still, Anna's sacrifices are not behind her, and the struggle has not yet ended, although she has found what she has needed all her life: redemption and unconditional love.

The stranger enigmatically hints at emotions in Anna that have been hidden for a long time behind the masks of her dark and shallow lifestyle.

The characters in the story are the voices of so many who do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that behind closed doors have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of life.

©2018 Nataly Restokian (P)2019 Nataly Restokian

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An amazing and enlightening coming-of-age story

In this engaging audio book, the author through the wonderful narration of Nicola Rene, takes her listeners on an incredible journey of discovery. It is fiction yet based on a world which is very real, yet hidden from many. It is harrowing and yet uplifting as the listeners are taken on a rollercoaster ride through Anna's life. Full of a myriad of emotions, I found this this wonderful audio book totally engaging and have no hesitation in recommending it.I was given a free copy to review by the author.

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  • Shellcat
  • 21-12-19

This is the book the world needs right now..

Masks is a beautiful fictional story, based on true events. Which made me enjoy the audible so much more, there was so much strength and courage and raw emotions that after hearing this your life will be forever changed. Nataly Restokian, is an incredible author and truly inspirational.
I will follow Nataly with anticipation, and listen or read anything else she writes in the future.
Nicole the narrator, did a great job. She brought the characters to life.
I don't like to give too much away when it comes to spoilers. So all you need to know is this..
I stayed up all night listening, once I started I couldn't stop, I was so engrossed in the story. Even after I was finished and I had tears running down my face because of this beautiful story..I stayed up thinking about it. Love is what matters in life.
If you are wondering what audiobook to buy, definitely Masks!!!
This was a true honor and pleasure to listen too.  I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-12-19

A captivating story


Anna shares her difficulties and the sacrifices she had to make, as she worked her way up in the entertainment industry in Lebanon. Her strong will, confidence and sheer determination got her through any obstacle she faced in achieving her dreams. Her ambitions came at a cost though, some she regrets and others she’s not proud of, but she chose to share them regardless, which is incredibly brave.

There is a very strong message within this story 'Never forget where you come from'. Anna shares her home countries rich history and her patriotism is very clear. It adds an extra layer to her already intriguing storytelling.
It is hard not to fall in love with Anna. She is so vibrant and full of so much passion. Compassionate and inclusive, her growth throughout the book is evident. Her journey shapes her, her experiences change her values , enrichening her overall goals.
After Anna has worked so hard to achieve so much success, she willingly gives it all up for love.

This powerful story really captivated me, opening my eyes to a culture I knew very little about. She touched my heart and inspired me to always believe in myself and my dreams.

We all have a past, some may be darker than others but we need to learn from our experiences, change our paths, and look towards the future.

I listened to the audio version of Mask- narrated by Nicole Rene. The audio quality was clean and professional. The narrator did an excellent job of getting into characters and performing individual trates for each.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Henry Roi
  • 19-11-19

Perfect Story for an Audiobook

From the opening scene I felt the authenticity, smiling and wondering how much of this was not just based on actual events, but a play-by-play. Nataly's story is one written from experience - the best kind - and her ability to build drama and cut into it with humor and wonder and heartache is done like a pro. Brilliant book. I hope this becomes a movie or television series. People will love it.

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  • Mireille
  • 15-11-19

Super smooth to listen...

Enjoyed listening. The story is interesting, the narration is superb, put them together and you got a great entertainment piece!

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  • #@¿?vidal
  • 06-11-19

Wow!

Excellent Narration! I love the story, and was impressed with the performance! Definitely a good read!!

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  • Leigh
  • 05-01-20

An Eye Opener

I was given a free copy to review!! It was very different from what I usually read but it was so good. I could relate to so of the things Anna went through it really opened my eyes. I really enjoyed this story and I hope that Nataly Restokian keeps writing cause I keep reading.

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  • Randa
  • 26-12-19

Five stars

I was captivated when I listened to the audiobook ” Masks ”. I live in the USA yet my origin is from Lebanon. As a woman the courage of the author Nataly Restokian amazed me, she had written in an extremely fluent way, the story is so interesting, I never thought I could be listening to an audiobook as if I am watching a Movie.

Nataly Restokian has the ability to describe events, facts even taboos that most of us hear about but never dare to discuss openly. She was able to overcome and talk about these topics without concealment.
It’s a romantic, adventurous & a light erotic tale that brings tears, chills, fear, surprise and moreover hope and bravery .
It inspired me a lot .

Nicole Rene is a very talented narrator she was able to give voice to every character in ”Masks”, I loved listening to her voice, I never wanted the story to end .

Nataly Restokian is not only an author but also an inspiration to all women and even men who dare to choose bravery .
I hope it would be adapted into a movie because it’s one of a kind story that everyone would enjoy watching.
I highly recommend you guys to listen to the audiobook.
I was given a free copy of this audiobook.
I definitely give it 5 STARS.

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  • Pamela Langhorne
  • 23-10-19

Fascinating insight into life in Lebanon

This book provides a window—albeit a very personal one—into a culture that is staggeringly foreign to most Americans and Europeans. It's hard to listen to this book without becoming intensely frustrated and also confused about questions of moral relativism. Restokian tells her story beautifully, and is able to enlighten us on not only the what, but also the why, of the extreme gender inequities of Lebanese society. The author has taken a very complex society, with a very complex history, and made it easier to understand for us non-erudite types. The themes in this story are: love, relationships, family, divorce, tradition, ambitions, power, war, and heartbreak. I loved this book. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.