by Pat Laurie
A novel of social and sexual discovery in 1960s England.
Set against a background of nursing, Masked fully captures the atmosphere of this iconic time. Change, manipulation, confusion and abuse are countered by recovery, rescue, loyalty and love, in this heartening tale of two intertwined families.
Masked: A Novel of Sexual Discovery in 60s England
- "Didn't want to end it, especially as it finished on a new beginning like all the best books do. Tell Pat to write a sequel of all the characters 40 years on."- HD"Rooting for Minky and Wendy. Go girls!" - LK
- lease note that this is a publisher/author review, and as such is necessarily biased. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t tell the truth.Do support Scott Martin Productions, a small, new publisher, and read our publications - you can do this for free on Kindle Unlimited. A review would be so gratefully received and would really help us to build up our business. So, go on, think small (publisher) and give us a little bit of a helping hand.I first read this manuscript when its author presented it to me as a thick sheaf of type-written text. It had clearly been produced on a real typewriter, in what we now call Courier font.I enjoyed my read through very much, and learnt from the Pat, the author that Serpent’s Tail had shown interest in the 1990s, but had eventually decided against its publication. I asked to read it in 2016, and in 2018 when I founded Scott Martin Productions, I asked if Pat would be willing for me to publish it.Almost inevitably, with a document of this kind and age, I had a nightmare extracting the text from the page and converting it to a Word document. Because there were so many markings, edits and blemishes on the pages that arrived with me, wrapped in bubble wrap, the pdf OCR maker was finding them all and converting each to letters, numbers and special characters.For a few, short moments I considered giving up. But I didn’t give up. I really enjoyed the book and wanted Pat to be able to finally share it with others.The story is of two intertwined families - a mother and her daughter (M1 and D1), and a father, mother and daughter (F2, M2 and D2). Mother 1 becomes intertwined with Father 2, and Daughters 1 and 2 embark on a lesbian relationship (eventually) while Mother 2 attempts to murder Father 2. Yes, the plot sounds complicated, but it isn’t really.It is in many ways as simple love story, set against a nursing background. But in other ways it is so much more – it is an exploration of gender politics and emerging sexuality in the 1960s and 1970s. It is about the confusion of teens and the manipulation of a narcissistic parent. It is also about a baby girl who doesn’t seem to be developing as she should and the importance of appearance for many women like M2. Her pamper salon experiences are almost grotesque in their descriptions of women gossiping and preening themselves.I love this book as much as I love the author. It’s rich in conversation, rather than passages of description. It’s full of well-rounded and strong characters, and of a few terrifying situations – mainly at the hands of M2 and her attempted murder of her husband and attack on her daughter.I hope you’ll enjoy reading ‘Masked’. It is available free on Kindle Unlimited, so what have you got to lose?