Unmasking Maya coverI first met Libby Mercer at our event in September at Book Passage in the Ferry Building. There was something about her – something in the way she speaks and carries herself that I knew I’d love her writing. I can’t help but picture her when I imagine what leading lady Maya Kirkwood looks like in Mercer’s second novel “Unmasking Maya.”

Mercer’s writing is quick, funny and believable. The characters and the settings ring true, with just enough mystery to keep me turning the pages.

Maya Kirkwood is an up and coming artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. After she meets a Silicon Valley executive at her showing he commissions her to do a huge installation for the company – despite the fact that he seems to hate her work. But with a payday of $10,000  she can use to leave her cramped apartment, she’s ready for any challenge.

Then comes the twist. Slowly, we see Maya isn’t really Maya at all. And perhaps she’s not as new to the art world as she seems. With a dark past peeking through, it’s hard not to keep reading as fast as possible to see what her secret could be.

Add a layer of romantic intrigue with her new boss and I’m sold. The descriptions of the fabrics used in her installation, the flirty remarks Incancto Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio photointerwoven with descriptions of the city, and the hints toward Maya’s real identity all add up to a fun read and a great gift for anyone who might need just a little escape this holiday season.

If you can find a stocking large enough, pair this gift with a uniquely shaped bottle of 2011 Incanto, a mix of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. The notes of apple and pear in this medium bodied white mirror Maya’s bright new entry into San Francisco’s art scene. With 84% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Grigio, the flavor is complex. The Chardonnay is evident on the first sip, much as the reader expects to know Maya from page 1; but as you continue reading and sipping so much more is revealed as Maya’s past – and the Pinot – expose themselves.

Cheers,

Syrah

PS – for a great interview with Libby, check out Isabella Louise Anderson’s blog Chick Lit Goddess!