Review: 'Your Beautiful Lies' by Louise Douglas (2014)
Annie Howarth is living a restless life in a restless town. It's 1987 and for a mining community in South Yorkshire, the strikes mean tensions are running high. Then a murdered girl is found on the moors and the anxiety levels are pushed to a dangerous breaking point.
Married to the Chief of Police, Annie should feel safe – William can be secretive, though surely whatever he's hiding is for her own good.
But Annie is keeping her own secrets. Ten years ago the man she loved was ripped from her life in a scandal that still haunts the both of them, and now his return will put her family, her marriage, even her life, at risk.
'Your Beautiful Lies', which was released on the 14th of August 2014 by Transworld, is author Louise Douglas' fifth novel and I was pleasantly surprised when I found a review copy of the book on my doormat! I love receiving unexpected review books and I wasn't familiar with Louise Douglas' work before picking up this novel. I had heard positive things from other readers, though, and after doing some research I discovered her stories are often described as 'love stories with a dark twist.' I can't get enough of love stories and have to admit a dark twist often manages to intrigue me, so I was looking forward to sitting down with my first Louise Douglas novel and the chance to be introduced to her work!
Set in Yorkshire in 1984, 'Your Beautiful Lies' tells the story of Annie Howarth, who is married to local police chief William and from the outside, their life seems pretty good. They own a beautiful home called Everwell and while William works hard, Annie takes care of their daughter Elizabeth and her demented mother-in-law Ethel. Annie is unhappily stuck in the basic routine of life, but that is all about to change. When the man she used to be head over heels in love with, Tom Greenway, returns to town, Annie's life is turned upside down. What happened in the past is still haunting both of them and Annie knows it'd be best to stay away from Tom. But before she knows it, she finds herself keeping secrets from everyone in her life and risking everything she has.
'A love story with a dark twist' is definitely a good way to describe this particular Louise Douglas novel. Before picking up this novel I was not familiar with this author's work, but I'm really glad I was given the chance to be introduced to it. It took me a bit of time to really get into the story, but as soon as I was I just wanted to keep on reading until I knew how everything would eventually work out. Louise Douglas' writing was well-paced, a pleasure to read, and I was impressed by how she managed to build the tension, coupled with a real menacing feeling, throughout the entire book.
The characters in the novel are well-drawn and realistic, but I didn't end up really warming to any of them. I became involved in the main character Annie's life and wanted her to find happiness, but the darkness of the story and the characters kept me at a certain distance somehow. The story had me intrigued, though, and I am definitely planning to check out more of Louise Douglas' work in the future. Overall, 'Your Beautiful Lies' is a dark, tangible, captivating read which I am sure many women's fiction fans will enjoy, and I personally look forward to reading more of Louise Douglas' stories in the near future.