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N Webster it is up to Maribel to make use of the illusions possible in photography to protect their liesThis book is a multilayered and always entertaining expose of society of the time It s skillfully written and is a very engaging story This is the first historical fiction by Clark that I have read and I will be on the lookout for books by her I don t know what to say about Beautiful Lies It is so vivid with Victorian images in the late 19th century London It played like a movie I loved the author s style of writing Her writing is so poetic I could picture Trafalgar Suare in LondonThere is so much packed in this novel it goes everywhere At times I think it ust is too much what was the author thinking But it does works with Beautiful Lies There is lots of underlying mystery of smoking Maribel What a scandal a high society woman working as a photographer and a chain smoker Her husband Edward charming sophisticated member of Parliament Always thinking of trying to make the right of the hard working man in the industrialist EnglandThere is a political mess that has been caused by Webster a newspaper man The best part of the book was the end when the roles were reversed Webster had the rug swept under him from Maribel Now he is begging her to have sympathy for him I loved it Because he was ruining her husband Edward s political career and reputation Once you did that is very hard for people to forget But now the Arthurian Romances Unrepresented In Malorys Morte Darthur joke was on him Sound familiar with the politics of today Using the newspaper for his own benefit of the poor or any politics Isn t that what all newspapers and politicians do The book as I was reading made me dizzy too many things happening There is suspense mystery scandal lots of them There is even a wild west show with Cody and Indians and the golden Jubilee celebration of the ueenA family scandal that Maribel s family and herself would rather forget and not see each other But something happens that both sides have no choice but ask a favor This opens up Maribel s memories to try to reconcile with her favorite sister Ida Ida was always the understanding sister and her other sisters were not so understanding when they were young It is ironic later on that Ida is stubborn and won t forgive MaribelI will say originally there wasust too much things going on in the story It was a bit over the top I was wondering what was the author thinking But for some reason it still worked in the story I was thinking this was too ridiculous I still enjoyed the ride very muchIf you love historical fiction loosely based on historical characters and lots of action going on you will enjoy reading Beautiful Lies I love the time period I was given this novel to review by TLC Book Tours and I would like to thank them for allowing me to review You can follow me and read the other s book stops at my blog at Victorian HistoryI m a Victorian fiction lover both classic and recently written Clare Clark has written a wonderfully researched semi mystery in Beautiful Lies I didn t love it but I sure liked it a lot I was reminded of the Anne Perry s Thomas Pitt series both in Clark s writing style as well as the setting and the unusual for the times marriage The main characters are Maribel and Edward Campbell Lowe She s an aspiring poet and a somewhat successful photographer and he s a radical member for Parliament They re upper class but financially strapped They share a passion for the West of America a passion for living large and a need to have impact in their of America a passion for living large and a need to have impact in their They also have a secret that could ruin themIt s set during the tail end of the British recession that took place from 1884 through 1887 when the working classes who d lost their obs set up camp in Trafalgar Suare to protest how they were been treated It was a time when there were no social safety nets and the lower classes were subject to the upper class whims with almost no recourse Socialism was taking hold There were protests Maribel and Edward plunge themselves into such causes as they still cling to their status Theirs is not a story that will warm your heart but it will feed your brain concerning the United Kingdom in 1887 Don t miss the section in the back called author s notes which outlines this social and historical period in detail Right The main character is a selfish reckless woman who can t understand that her actions have conseuences and not ust for herself She disdains things that are other and wonders why everyone else isn t grateful and appreciative of her heartacheMost of her characterization is tied to her smoking which could have been interesting if athe details of it weren t so excessive though I guess the cover of the novel foreshadowed this and b if it wasn t her only uniue traitIt may sound harsh and I m actually okay with a sort of anti hero if it s done right but Maribel is too narcissistic to root on If only she hadn t been at the heart of the book or if she had grown She reminds me of another heroine I absolutely "Cannot Stand Scarlett O Hara Meh If Maribel Had Not "stand Scarlett O Hara Meh If Maribel had not I m guessing that this historical fiction would have been a good 25 pages shorter But Maribel smoked and we read about where she got her cigarettes how she felt before during after smoking how the ashtrays overflowed how the smoke and the tips of the cigarettes looked much than I ever wanted to know about this particular habit of hers Not only did she smoke obsessively the author described it obsessivelyMaribel was the wife of a late 19th century liberal politician capable of making strong enemies Unfortunately she came across as only a foolish woman who despite

beautiful lies was 
lies was particularly interesting or even particularly likable She and her husband were both multi faceted but her friend Charlotte was too good to be realWhat I liked about the novel is the information on the politics and attitudes of the period and that the major characters although fictionalized were based on real people I liked that other real people such as Oscar Wilde appeared under their own names I like reading about the Victorian eraThe first book I read by this author The Nature of Monsters left a very favorable impression on me although it was a dark book The second I read by her The Great Stink was much less interesting to me and there were parts of it I didn t care for at all This one lies somewhere between those two I enjoyed it for a summer read but I didn t love itI was given a copy of the book for revie. Nly destroy Edward’s career but both of their reputationsInspired by the true story of a politician’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 ow. ,

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I really couldn t stand this book I flipped through the last 200 pages as any references to smoking would cause me spontaneous human combustion It s been a long time since I ve read something uite so horrendous I heard about this book on the blog wwwcornflowerbookscouk and it sounded like the kind of chunky neo Victorian novel full of scandal and secrets that I would love Set in the late Victorian period the story is told from the perspective of the beautiful Maribel Campbell Lowe the bohemian Chilean I ve read The Nature of Monsters and The Great Stink by Clare Clark and thought they were both excellent novels both are well written with engaging characters believable relationships and plausible dialogue I highly recommend them for readers who enjoy historical fictionI also tried to read Savage Lands by Clare Clark and found myself giving up without finishing which is what happened with Beautiful Lies I read over 200 pages of this book and wasn t compelled to continue Part of my lack of interest was the way the mysterious secret was revealed or concealed it was alluded to but in a way that created confusion rather than suspense I also didn t feel any connection to the main character it was difficult to get a grasp on who she was I thought the author was able convey a clear picture of the period and the politics during the time in fact the period seemed like a character to me than the protagonist didOverall I was disappointed that this story never pulled me in but I will continue to try Clark s books because I know when they are to my taste I like them very much I admit that I was than a little intrigued when I heard of this book The cover was a killer London in the 1880s politician with a bad reputation and even worse bank balance a newspaperman ferreting out any private detail and the politician s wife conveniently having one makes for a compelling plot line Or so I thought The books runs on for 500 pages and does touch upon all the above but in a totally unsatisfactory fashion Maribel is front and center of this book and the reason the book is a failure for me She s strong of course the way women in women s fiction are strong which means she is an arrogant opinionated harpy but many people in the book love her The only people who don t like her are unspeakably evil Must be nice to be a woman in a book Maribel hates other women She scoffs at the bad fashion of feminists She thinks everything that she doesn t know is charlatanry and people who do believe in those things as nothing than fools not worth her time She calls every person she goes to dinner with tedious and boring never once thinking how smug and boring she herself is She complains that it is too hot in London but when she gets to Scotland it s too rainy and boring and village y She thinks politics has become boring now because they talk about starving people in Trafalgar suare while before they would talk about beauty and poetry She contends that cigarettes makes her think and write but the only things she comes up with are trite lines not worth the paper they re written on In fact cigarettes get their own 50 pages or so the way Maribel goes on and on about them you would think they are the holy grail and the fountain of youth Cigarettes I think are a way to show she s strong because she smokes in all places without respecting anyone s opinion She smokes in the sick room of her best friend even after her friend s husband has asked her not to She smokes in the parlor of her sister without asking for permission while her sister looks on shocked at the discourtesy Why should she respect other people They are beneath her superior intellect Never mind that she s not so good at anything she does It gets worse She used to be a prostitute but she contends she is shocked that some people would stoop so contends she is shocked that some people would stoop so as to sell a photograph to "A NEWSPAPERMAN NEVER MIND THAT SHE ONLY PRESUMED THIS "newspaperman Never mind that she only presumed this poor lady has only lent the photograph and is too poor to sue the newspaperman She ran away from her family because she wanted to make it big on stage She failed at that and when she becomes a politician s wife her family is careful to not cause any scandal for her even though she has not bothered that her disappearance has caused a scandal for them She calls two of her sisters foolish leeches whereas the sister in uestion that we see on the page is nothing but genuinely happy to see this witch Her favorite sister takes pains to tell her that she does not want to see her but typically Maribel does not care for that Never mind that thirteen years have gone by without her making the slightest effort to inuire after this darling who now Maribel cannot live without In the end she leaves her alone not because of any sense of wrongdoing on her part but because Ida is too stubborn to reason with I see this review is short on everything else but that is also the problem of the book I contemplated giving this two stars because there are things I did like but then I realized that everything else is a backdrop for the Maribel show Subplots are introduced and dropped without a everything else is a backdrop for the Maribel show Subplots are introduced and dropped without a when it doesn t suit Maribel to remember them The Wild West is a backdrop for Maribel to first complain then photograph nothing much comes out of it The socialist politics of Edward is a backdrop for Maribel to first complain then Stand Staunchly For without much sincerity The riots of Trafalgar Suare is another backdrop it sends Edward to prison but we are concerned about the fact that Maribel foolishly faces off with her enemy who she first flirted with then he got too insane and then to send her to Spain on a wild goose chase Do the starving multitude get another penny s thought after that Ha She lost her son who is supposedly roaming around her house as a spirit but that s only to give her something to do in Spain That s dropped too as soon as she gets back to Britain How could you drop something like that Her best friend Charlotte supports her throughout her various real and imagined ordeals and what does she get for her troubles A fractured arm when she is heavily pregnant because dear Maribel was in a hurry to run away from an unpleasant meeting Charlotte seems to have her own trouble she hides from Maribel while she is moaning about something or other But does Maribel care Ha She saunters off with the lightning strike realization that Charlotte too has secrets and then we never hear from her again Let s not even talk ab. London 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 Ma. ,
Out Arthur Webster much is made out of him but he has zero depth He s an unscrupulous man a zealot His father was a priest He considers nude photographs of women art and attends seances That s basically all we know or care about Webster Talk about a cardboard cutout There are so many dropped names Blavatsky Gladstone Oscar Wilde none of them get anything than a passing mention because they cannot be allowed to upstage Maribel Bottomline of this long tedious review I hated Maribel and since there is nothing in the book that does not in some fashion show her up I hated this book 1 star Words always fail when I m really in love with a novel a problem made worse when the novel in uestion is written in lush lovely dense tangled photographic poetic prose How do I compete Here s my trySet in the late 1880s the novel follows Maribel Campbell Lowe a stunning foreign beauty who smokes too much in an era when only loose women smoked is married to a radical Member of Parliament who supports socialism and reform who yearns for the passion and inspiration that comes from an artistic life while performing her social obligations as an MP s wife Inspired by a real life couple Robert Cunninghame Graham who was the first socialist MP and his wife Gabriela Cunninghame Graham Clark s novel is hefty and rich loaded with historical details about a Victorian London I m unfamiliar with Buffalo Bill Cody and his entourage are visiting loaded with tons of gravel and rocks to replicate the Rocky Mountains in their performances ueen Victoria s Jubilee is underway The government and public are wrestling with suffrage the right to assemble the values they wish to embody and legalize while remaining safe Initially I had a hard time getting into the book the novel opens with a game of charades with our heroine and other side characters but within forty pages or so I was hooked Maribel has a secret and I wanted to know what it was Clark s writing style is amazing I m prone to hyperbole I know and I m pretty gushy in most of my reviews so what do I mean by amazing The narrative is meaty with flavor wry sarcastic dry historical detailed emotional and the characters confusingly human There s so much loaded into every sentence but I wasn t aware of reading I was reminded of An Ideal Husband especially the lovely 1999 film version with Julianne Moore and Cate Blanchett those dresses and hairstyles the clever repartee and layers of secrets and I admit it I want this to be a BBC miniseries stat Maribel moves in Wilde s circle so the connection was likely intentional and I m sure there s numerous nods to literary and artistic influences of the era that I missed but others might seeThis is historical fiction for anyone who hates romantic historical novels there s a strong current of love here but it s not a bodice ripper and those who enjoy savoring strong women strong writing strong setting will be very very happy to dig in It s 1887 the year of ueen Victoria s Golden Jubilee England is in turmoil because of deep economic recession and unemployment with resultant riots and demonstrations There s deep political division between the liberals and the conservatives in Parliament and nothing is being done to help the nation s poor Sound familiar to anyoneThis national unrest serves as the background for Clare Clark s new "HISTORICAL NOVEL HER MAIN PROTAGONIST IS MARIA ISABEL CONSTANZA "novel Her main protagonist is Maria Isabel Constanza la Flamandiere an exotic cigarette smoking childless dabbler in photography and poetry married to Scottish laird Edward Campbell Lowe a Radical Liberal MP and dedicated champion of the lower classes in Parliament Edward is as interesting a character as his wife As a young man he had traveled widely to places such as the Argentine pampas Spain and FranceIt is when traveling that Edward met fell in love
with and married 
and married She is presented to English society as a French Spanish woman raised in Chile However Maribel is not what she seems The fictional past and persona that she and Edward have created for her must not be exposed as a lie since Edward s political career would be in eopardy In particular they must be careful of Albert Webster the almost fanatically Christian editor of the newspaper THE CITY CHRONICLE who does not champion causes so much as desire to sell newspapersThat s the main thrust of the novel but it is a multi layered story with much that is of interest about late Victorian life and other illusions and self delusions to be found there This is a time of decline of the upper classes in England although they continue to delude themselves that their position in society is relevantThis leads to the popularity of several escapes Spiritualism and seances are a prevalent interest Photography as an art form not necessarily representing reality is in vogue And American Wild Bill Cody and his Wild West Show are in the country and wildly popular So we have delusions and illusions about the afterlife disinterest in knowing what s real in photography and life and the huge popularity of an unreal depiction of Native Americans and the settlers conuest of the Old West as entertainmentEven Maribel and Edward a couple who seem truly to be in love even after than a decade of marriage have a few secrets from each other Maribel has told Edward almost everything about her past and who she really is but has kept back one major detail And Edward who seems much dedicated to his career than to Maribel and leaves her to an almost independent life while he is out day and night in the interest of his political career keeps his little secret about how he relaxes when the tension of keeps his little secret about how he relaxes when the tension of become too much Not only that but his little secret is guessed at by Maribel although she keeps it secret that she knows about itThere are many characters in the novel politicians influential people of the time people from Maribel s past Edward s friends and family members Of these in particular there is a happily married couple with many children the husband a longtime friend of Edward and the wife now an intimate of Maribel who may or may not be uite as happy as they seem Perhaps nothing is exactly what it seems and that s what makes for such great reading hereThe standout characters in the book of course are Maribel and Edward It is interesting to note that they are based on a real political couple of the 1890s who had a similar secret When our fictional couple s secret is in danger of being revealed by newspaperma. Ribel’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 not Beautiful Lies