Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas

Annie Howarth is living a restless life in a restless town. It's 1984 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 by Louise Douglas is published on 14 August 2014 by Black Swan (Transworld) and is her fifth novel.

The Love of My Life (2009) and Missing You (2010) were both published by Pan MacMillan. I adored both of these books, I read them way before I started this blog but I remember the pleasure that I got from reading them and the excitement at finding such a talented new author. You can read my thoughts on her last two novels; The Secrets Between Us (2011) and In Her Shadow (2012) here on Random Things.

Your Beautiful Lies has a dark, brooding, almost menacing feel to it and is set in South Yorkshire during the miner's strike of the 1980s.  Annie Howarth is married to William, the local police chief, they have a small daughter and live in one of the largest houses in the small mining town of Matlow.

Annie grew up in Matlow, her Dad works down the pit and her Mum cleans. As a youngster, Annie would look over at the house that she now calls home and imagine what it would be like to live there. Ten years ago, Annie was seeing local lad Tom, until he was found guilty of the manslaughter of an elderly lady and sent to prison.

Tom has served his time and been released, he's now back in Matlow and Annie is struggling with her innermost feelings, and then a young woman is found murdered on the nearby moors, and all eyes turn towards Tom once again.

Louise Douglas has cleverly created a woman who lives a fairly mundane, quite tedious life. Annie's day to day routines; the school run, caring for her increasingly frail mother-in-law, visiting the shops and entertaining the local vicar and Mayor become as familiar to the reader as they are to Annie, and her level of restlessness grows with each chapter.

The reappearance of Tom into Annie's life fires her up and her character becomes more rounded, although it's fair to say, she doesn't become any more likeable.

The Yorkshire setting and the 80s era are so familiar to me, and Louise Douglas has caught that small-town, everyone knows everyone else's business feeling so very well, and the reader is transported into the lives of the inhabitants of Matlow in an instant.

Your Beautiful Lies is a story of lost love, injustice and corruption. It is also a complex and multi-layered tale that deals with family dynamics and how choices and decisions can impact lives and communities for many years.  The setting is bleak and cold, the characters are flawed yet authentic and the ending is shocking and unexpected.

Once again, Louise Douglas has written a book that engrossed me from start to finish. I am hugely impressed by her writing, and by her ability to produce such stunning novels - all so very different, but all so wonderful.

My thanks to Harriet from Transworld, who sent my copy for review.

You can read another review of Your Beautiful Lies over at Being Anne.

Louise Douglas is a copywriter. She has three sons and lives in north Somerset with her partner. Your Beautiful Lies is her fifth novel. Her first novel, The Love of My Life, was longlisted for both the Romantic Novel of the Year Award and the Waverton Good Read Award, and her second, Missing You, won the People's Choice Award at the Romantic Novelists' Association Pure Passion Awards 2010.

For more information about Louise Douglas and her books, visit her website www.louisedouglas.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter @LouiseDouglas3

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