As a huge fan of historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading Beautiful Lies with the promise of an insight into Victorian London, Queen Victoria’s jubilee celebrations and the politics of the era. Unfortunately I found it hard to get in to right at the beginning with many names being mentioned without introduction and the protagonist Maribel being described very vaguely.
There are lots of different plot lines, which do not seem to link together very well and we never truly know Maribel’s past or her real character. The descriptions of historical events such as Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, Queen Victoria’s jubilee celebrations and ‘Bloody Sunday’ are covered very fleetingly and feel very detached. The vibe that I personally got from the book was more 1920s than Victorian.
The novel follows Maribel throughout and it may have been interesting to find out more about some of the other characters. There were some passages that were more interesting and would grab my attention, but unfortunately these would fade away again and the story would carry on plodding away with over long descriptions and pointless activities, for example a sudden trip to a Spanish mine. The author’s notes at the end were very interesting and I felt that the character of Maribel is wasted and could have been explored so much more.
From reading other reviews, which have described the book as 'gripping', 'juicy' and 'compelling', it may be that I just didn't 'click' with this book,however this is not one that I would be recommending to friends.