Book review: 'What is Hidden' is a charming twist on a classic fairy tale

By Angela Carter

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 10 2014 3:15 p.m. MDT

"WHAT IS HIDDEN," by Lauren Skidmore, Cedar Fort, $16.99, 288 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

In Venesia, masks are integral to society; they determine a person's rank and identity. Evie, a talented young mask maker, knows this more than anyone. But when an infamous bandit, dubbed the Chameleon, steals her masks and destroys her home, Evie is forced to hide in the palace as a server in the novel "What is Hidden."

But she's not going to hide from the Chameleon forever — she's no damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued from unfortunate circumstances. Her plan is to keep a wary eye out for his inevitable return so she can expose him and reclaim her life. Evie soon realizes that it's not just the Chameleon who hides his true identity behind a mask, though — even those she thinks she knows aren't who they seem.

Lauren Skidmore's "What Is Hidden" is an enchanting story of friendship, romance and loyalty, complete with royal balls and a prince in disguise. While there are several nods to the classic fairy tale "Cinderella" throughout, "What is Hidden" is a strong story all on its own. Rather than spending the whole book checking off the parallels between this story and the original "Cinderella," readers can enjoy the story in its own right, recognizing a few "Cinderella" tidbits as they go.

While there are some brief combat scenes, there is no profanity or sexual innuendo in this book.

"What is Hidden" is Skidmore's first novel. Skidmore is a graduate of Brigham Young University, where she earned a bachelor's in English teaching with an emphasis in teaching English as a second language and Japanese, and she lives in Utah.

If you go ...

What: Lauren Skidmore book signing

When: Tuesday, May 13, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, laurenskidmore.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Angela Carter is a writer and editor. When she's not absorbed in words, she enjoys going on walks and playing the piano. She blogs at palydudeman.blogspot.com.

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