Wednesday, October 3, 2012

GIVEAWAY and Blog Tour: Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark

Beautiful Lies by Clare Clark
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: September 18th
Source: Publisher
Rating: I liked it
London in 1887. For Maribel Campbell Lowe, the beautiful, bohemian wife of a maverick politician, it is the year to make something of herself. A self-proclaimed Chilean heiress educated in Paris, she is torn between poetry and the new art of photography. But it is soon plain that Maribel's choices are not so simple. As her husband's career hangs by a thread her real past, and the family she abandoned, come back to haunt them both. When the notorious newspaper editor Alfred Webster begins to take an uncommon interest in Maribel, she fears he will destroy not only Edward's career but both of their reputations. Inspired by the true story of a Liberal MP's wife who lived a double life for decades, "Beautiful Lies" is set in a time that, fraught with economic uncertainty and tabloid scandal-mongering, uncannily presages our own. Praised by Hilary Mantel as "one of those writers who can see into the past and help us feel its texture," Clark has created a brilliant, riveting novel of late Victorian England.

The Skinny: A beautifully written historical that drips with vivid imagery

When I am having particularly rough day, I often wonder why I wasn’t born in Victorian England. I have intricate fantasies about my would-have-been life in the 1880s. Somewhere around the 10-minute mark, I remember that indoor plumbing was not around and that usually shatters the daydream. In Beautiful Lies, I could live out my dreams without worrying about little things like tuberculosis. Beautiful Lies is just beautiful. I was hooked from beginning to end, and I feel that my desire to live in the land of corsets has been satiated.

The characters in this book are complex and realistic. My initial impressions of Maribel were that she was an ordinary society wife who enjoyed entertaining and navigating political parties. It becomes clear that Maribel has great depth and is unafraid of challenging social norms. I love that she does not conform and lives her life freely in a world that constricts the roles of women. One of the most interesting aspects of the story, for me, was that Maribel’s secret has the potential to ruin not only her life but also the life of her husband. Lies are often inconvenient in their insistence at being exposed. I eagerly anticipated how the characters would handle the changes that are forced onto them.

Clark’s writing is as rich and decadent as a chocolate soufflé. I wanted for nothing after I finished the book. So much description is provided that readers will have no trouble creating colorful images of scenes. I loved the historical details that were included in the story. Everything felt authentic and real, and I admired Clark’s dedication to accuracy.

Overall, I liked Beautiful Lies. The writing is strong and the characters were interesting enough to keep me intrigued. I am already interested in this storyline, but I am confident that the book will appeal to those readers who do not usually find themselves enthralled with historical fiction. 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has generously offered to give one US reader a copy of Beautiful Lies. Comment on this review with a way for me to contact you (blog, twitter, etc.), and I will randomly select a winner in one week.

Clare Clark is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and was named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2010. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London. 

Be sure to check out the other tour stops!

Thursday, September 20th: Unabridged Chick
Friday, September 21st: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, September 25th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, September 28th: Seaside Book Corner
Saturday, September 29th: Doing Dewey
Monday, October 1st: The Written World
Tuesday, October 2nd: Oh! Paper Pages
Wednesday, October 3rd: nomadreader
Thursday, October 4th: Broken Teepee
Sunday, October 7th: What She Read …
Monday, October 8th: Gone Bookserk
Tuesday, October 9th: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, October 10th: missris
Wednesday, October 10th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, October 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller


  1. I've noticed that novels about women destroying the strictures of society can sometimes be very melodramatic and/or unrealistic, so I'm very happy to see one that isn't. And that thing about wanting to be born in Victorian England sometimes? Saaaaame.

  2. This sounds really good it's the first time I hear about it. I love how the characters and history details seem very realistic that's definitely a big plus. Great review!!

  3. Great Review! :)) Really like the complexity this book brings and The Cover!! 0.0 :D Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    Happy Reading :)

  4. Don't count me in as I am overseas but thank you for a great review.

  5. Wow, what a wonderful review - I love the imagery! I'm really looking forward to reading this book myself.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  6. Thank you for your SHORT synopsis and your "skinny." That's all I wanted from you. Most reviewers say too much about the story and spoil things for me. I want to hear about characterization and writing, which is exactly what you did in your "skinny."

  7. Very nice review. This sounds interesting.