Sunday, March 10, 2019

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

All the Beautiful Lies Cover

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

I needed to escape into an engrossing read this weekend to both take my mind off unalterable life circumstances as well as reintroduce myself to reading, something I seem to have stopped doing very frequently. There's a host of reasons for that I will probably discuss at some future distant time, but I am glad to say this weekend I was able to complete a whole book! Even though it was mostly a book read for the pleasure of reading and of escape, it stills feels like a huge accomplishment.

Peter Swanson describes his book, All the Beautiful Lies as a gothic novel with a monster at the heart of it and that's a pretty accurate way of describing it. The book starts with a death and with a young college student, Harry, returning to the small town his father lives in to grieve his death. His mother died long ago so the visit home only reunites him with his stepmother, a woman he has an uncomfortable relationship with due to her younger age and attractiveness.

His stepmother, Alice, is another character we get to know through flashbacks to the past. Alice has an unhappy family life until her mother remarries and then Alice starts to see her new stepfather as her savior.

Meanwhile, in the present, Harry learns that his father's death was likely not an accident and an investigation ensues in which he learns more about his father's life and the many things he didn't know before.

It's been cold here and this book was the perfect way to curl up lose track of the present. I can't say any of the characters were particularly likable but the book does make you think a little in its own way about the many ways we use one another and the stories we tell ourselves about our lives and the people we love. I haven't read any of Peter Swanson's other books, but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another in the right circumstances.

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