Title: Beautiful Lies
Author: Jessica Warman
May Contain Spoilers
Wow, this book left me reeling several times, as the painstakingly developed twists and turns began to unfold. I don’t know how to review this without major spoilers, but I am going to try, so if I am vague, it’s so I don’t spoil any of the suspense. I finished this yesterday, and I am still trying to decide how I feel about the book. It was hard to put down, but because the author was keeping me on my toes and only revealing bits and pieces about Rachel and Alice, I didn’t feel that I ever got to know the twins. I learned about their history, as life-changing events in their past were slowly picked apart, but I never felt that I got to know them. There was an emotional distance around them that I couldn’t breach. I also hated the ending. Hated it! It is dark and brutal and unforgiving, and it made me uncomfortable and depressed.
Alice and Rachel are identical twins. They also know when something happens to the other. If one of them is injured, the other is as well. They look so much alike that even their aunt and uncle can’t tell them apart. Their parents were killed when they were young girls, and their mom’s sister and her husband stepped up and took them in. There is a history of mental illness in the family, and because of her tenuous grip on reality, their aunt refused to allow their grandmother to have custody of them, even though the girls often spent time with their grandmother. Due to their personality clashes, their mother and aunt hadn’t spoken to each other in years, and the girls hadn’t even met their new guardians. After a rough adjustment, they settled into life in their new home, but they never felt that they were part of their aunt and uncle’s family.
When one of the twins disappears, the other is frantic to find her sister. One second, she felt her sister’s familiar presence, and the next, she was gone. Like she had never existed. The problem, Alice was a troublemaker, always finding herself on the bad side of a situation and forbidden to see her boyfriend because of his bad influence. The adults in her life, including the police, are skeptical that Alice has been abducted, and they all think that she’s only run away. She does this often, so nobody is in a hurry to try to find her. They all expect her to come home in a day or so, because she always does. Only this time, she doesn’t.
Beautiful Lies is an engrossing read, and it was very hard to step away from the suspense. I almost turned down lunch at the Indian buffet so I could stay home and keep reading, and if you know me and how much I love food, you’ll understand what a big deal that thought was(my stomach did win out in the end). I was always wondering what was real and what was a figment of the protagonist’s imagination. Her grip on sanity was questionable, and it was difficult to tell whether she was seeing something that was really there, or whether she believed that something was there. This back and forth between questioning her sanity and taking everything at face value kept me turning the pages. I had to know! Was she nuts? Had her sister really been abducted, or did she have something to do with her disappearance. To add to the tangled web, both sisters kept secrets from the other, and some of those secrets were huge! As each was unearthed, a very real and understandable sense of betrayal and hurt permeated the pages.
I loved being off balance and not really knowing what was going on. It is only the ending that keeps me feeling reserved about this book. Though it is a fitting end, it is not easy to read, and it disturbed me. I did not want the story to come to this end. If you read the book, how did you feel about the conclusion?
Review copy provided by publisher