Summer is nearly here and the lovely book people (yes, this means the delightful authors, book publishers, book publicists extraordinaries) have lined up a bevy of amazing, fantabulous books for all of us book nuts to enjoy.
Simon and Schuster in particular have some amazing offerings this season and one of them is Tara Bond’s ‘Beautiful Liar’. I must say the cover of the novel did intrigue me, it got me thinking could this be one of those Fifty Shades of Grey inspired novels? I must say I am not into those, apologies to those who are, I definitely do not judge you, its just not my cup of tea!
However, I was very, very wrong. Beautiful Liar is a New Adult novel, however I feel that all of us chick lit fans with enjoy this tremendously as well. This is my first foray into reviewing a novel aimed at the ‘tweens’ and I was definitely impressed with the author’s writing, plot and well fleshed out characters.
This story is about Nina Baxter, a nineteen year old girl with the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders. Her widowed, single mother is an alcoholic who keeps getting into trouble and one day when she accidentally sets fire to their apartment, her world comes crashing down as her 14 year old sister April is taken into care. Nina who feels like the responsible one is their dysfunctional family, sets about trying to get back the custody of her sister and the only way she can do this is to find a way to earn money…..lots and lots of it.
Now before you start getting any naughty ideas, Nina has a plan. She approaches her dead father’s old employer, the filthy rich Duncan Noble for a job and he gives her one in his private, exclusive members only club Destination. Enter the enigmatic, handsome and riske’ Alex Noble, the black sheep of the Duncan family and his older, straight-laced brother Giles Noble.
Nina knows Alex is bad news, as he is no stranger to recreational drinking or drugs and he definitely does not play by his father’s or brother’s rules. Nina fights her growing attraction to Alex, while sending her alcoholic mother to rehab, adapting to her new job and trying to console her sister April who is stuck in a foster home. To further complications, Nina’s mother took a loan from a local thug and it falls upon Nina to repay this.
Nina has a hidden talent, she is great at playing poker and one day Alex Noble discovers this. He offers Nina a rolling job as dealer at his secret Poker parties which the rich and the suitably rotten frequent and offers her a handsome sum for her efforts. She grudgingly accepts as she needs to return the loan money. As Nina begins to work for Alex, he learns more about Nina’s tough past and the current problems that she is facing. One day when thugs ransack the dinghy room that she is renting, he offers to clear the loan and a room to stay in in his own apartment until she fulfils all her dues to him. Nina accepts reluctantly and from there on we see a fiery, tumultuous and at times beautiful relationship between Alex and Nina develop. However, all is not straightforward and there are many secrets in Alex’s past which have the power to hurt Nina and drive her away from him.
No spoilers here, as I would like you, my blog post reader, to go and read the novel. However I can promise you this, you will not be disappointed. What I like the most about this novel is that your hero is not a perfect, holier than though character. He definitely has some negative not so perfect traits to him. These make him very, very human. And he is willing change for Nina and change he does. There is a huge twist in the tale at the end which had me going ‘I so did not see that one coming!’. This novel also describes in great clarity the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. The contrast between Nina’s downtrodden, sleazy and downright creepy neighbourhood and the glitzy, shiny and glamorous world of Mayfair that the Noble family inhabit is stark.
Lastly, our heroine Nina is admirable. You can almost be forgiven for thinking at times, is she only nineteen. You root for her when she overcomes all odds and gets her family back together and wins the battle against the social services and provides her sister with a happy home and her mother with a new and improved life. Nina’s mother comes across as a selfish, thoughtless alcoholic who has put the lives of her daughters in jeopardy but the reason for her downward spiral into alcoholism is explained amply in the end.
A well-deserved four and half stars for this lovely gem, I urge you to read this novel.