Until last weekend, I had never read a book by Colleen Gleason, or by Colette Gale, her erotica pen name. In truth, I must’ve heard of Gleason a few times before, but no one had ever recommended one of her books to me, so when I read her posts in an author’s invitation on her group, I got some of her books, but my eye strayed to one of her erotica novels, Unmasqued, which is her take on the Phantom of the Opera story.
So I bought the book and despite it being over 350 pages (remember, I am swamped with work), I read it in two days, because once I started reading it, I simply couldn’t stop myself until it was finished.
Stopping at the genre is a mistake
This, here, is not something that I do. I seriously read of anything and everything, even though there are things that I will end up overlooking out of preference, such as horror and dystopian. Not to mention that I about never read YA, with very few exceptions.
This was, mostly, my way of saying that people laughing at me or anyone for enjoying a good erotica is a mistake (and an insult). Christine and Erik’s story being a case in point, written masterfully by Gleason/Gale, with characters of a depth that people would never notice if they stop at seeing the word “erotica”.
Because yes, there is sex (duh!), but there is also a mystery, action, and characters which bring the story to a whole other level, increased by phenomenal storytelling, to the point where, yes, I got completely hooked, and this, from the start.
A whole other take
What if Christine and Erik do fall in love with each other, but have an exclusive love for one another, rather than seeing Christine marry Raoul? What if Christine doesn’t get killed? What if Raoul is not a really good guy?
There is this and so much more in Colette Gale’s book! It is, really, a whole other take on a story which has been told and sung for many decades, a take that is as compelling as the characters feel real in a way that transcends the story as we know it.
It is, as in the original story, the tale of a tormented musical genius, who finds his muse in his secret pupil. In Gale’s story, she becomes his light in a world of darkness, and he and Christine end up being so irrevocably in love that together, they find a way to get over their respective loneliness.
However, the lovers are not at the end of their pains, taking the form of Raoul and his brother, Philippe, who will stop at nothing to make the young singer theirs in more ways than one.
Unmasqued is a completely riveting and, yes, incredibly hot take on a story which had been told many times, only making me want to read the other takes from the author on other well-known stories. And that is why stopping at a book’s genre can be a complete mistake.
A riveting, hot, five stars! ✰✰✰✰✰