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book review: Beautiful Lies

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“Anyone in her right mind would have kept her distance, asked him to leave, but I think we’ve sufficiently established that I wasn’t anywhere close to being in my right mind.”

If you’re anything like Ridley Jones, you’ll agree that a mysterious sexy stranger sounds fantastic… until you find out he isn’t who he says he is. Oh. And until he disappears. But you’re not Ridley Jones, and you don’t know what happens yet. And I’m willing to bet that you don’t want spoilers for this book. You signed on for a review. Not the sparknotes version.

So let me ask you this. Have you ever had to take a break from the book you’re reading because it’s just too intense?

This is exactly what happened to me when I was reading Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger. The book centers around Ridley Jones, a New Yorker and freelance writer, who happens to perform a noble deed. And (since no good deed remains unpunished), it turns her whole life upside down.

I like Ridley’s voice in this novel. I can relate. She says that she doesn’t believe in coincidences. (I don’t believe in them either.) She is tough and strong. And she talks to me. No, not in the I-get-the-character way, but she literally addresses me (the reader) at times. It’s like we’re sitting right here on the sofa, and she’s telling me a story about herself. It’s riveting and girl-friend like, all at the same time. It’s like the best gossip you’ve ever heard if gossip was able to keep you in bite-your-nails suspense.

Oh, and I love her opinions on love. She says, at one point, that “when you really connect with a person’s inner self, any physical imperfections disappear, become irrelevant.” Yes, girlfriend, I agree! (And I wish upon a star to connect with an inner self of a man I find handsome inside and out.)

I realize I’m giving you very few details on the story. Let me remedy that (yet keep this review spoiler free). Essentially Ridley’s fame over her unintentional good deed leads to press she isn’t expecting and press she doesn’t exactly welcome. And the fame also leads to meeting the mystery man and learning details of her past that some people think best remain hidden.

But Ridley is a ┬ábull-dog type woman, and she doesn’t much like following orders. She likes answers, preferably the kind she finds herself. This, of course, leads to trouble, and beautiful lies spill out all over the place. (See how I used the title?! Clever, huh?)

At one point she learns that “it’s not blood that connects us but experience.” And as her world rights itself again (in some way or another), she is as brave as I wish I could be.

I understand there is a follow-up book, and I’m putting that on my to-read list. I want to hear more from this girlfriend.

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