NetGalley Review and Interview: The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells
Date to be published: July 26, 2016
Publisher: Kensington Books
Review: ebook provided by NetGalley and publisher
Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon.uk
"I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . ."
So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose--and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.
While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April's name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.
Or so everyone believes. . .
Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.
I received this book via NetGalley to give an honest review.
When you start this book you need to make sure you pay attention especially when you go back and forth between years.
The reason I say this is there was a chapter that started off with one year and we learned what happened during that year then we came to the present then there was a flashback to 1990-something and I had to go back to make sure I didn't miss something. Which I didn't it was just different years.
As I started reading this story I wondered where it was going to go. Especially when we started to get introduced to Ella, I kept wondering why are we getting a character named Ella into this story. It all came together towards the end and I was literally like WHAT!!!!
Noah has always had a crush on April since he first laid eyes on her, but April has secrets that she holds dear to herself. She doesn't get really close to anyone. They go their separate ways and often end up seeing each other years later and Noah still is in love with her no matter what. Now Noah years and years later is now a lonely person he drinks and doesn't care too much about anything so when he gets a call from his friend or someone who he thought was a friend about April it sparks something in Noah to do something. He needs to prove that April didn't do anything wrong but what he uncovers is something he never thought of.
We go back and forth between the present and past (in different years) everything slowly comes together and we learn what secrets April was hiding, to me it was heartbreaking to read what she was dealing with and how she couldn't trust anyone to tell them what was going on. And when we see what happens later on with a person I just shook my head and got a few tears.
Noah on the other hand it was hard to feel sorry for him on how his life turned out. The reason I say this is because of his love for April was so much that it was like he truly could not move on with his life.
Now Will this is a character who seemed shady from the get go! I couldn't put my fingers on exactly what was wrong with him but he just had that vibe of not being a good person.
Overall a really good story and one I am glad I was able to review. I love the author's writing style and how she can pull you in and keep you guessing on what will happen next.
I hope she comes out with more thrillers like this.
• When did you start writing?
I began writing in earnest about five years ago, women’s fiction which was what I liked to read. But I also wanted to write books that addressed more serious real-life issues as well. I think with Wildflowers I achieved that. It’s had some wonderful reviews on Amazon, but though 6 agents asked to read the full manuscript, no-one actually took me on.
• Were you surprised with the reaction you got from agents and publishers?
Completely blown away! It was beyond my wildest dreams. There are phone calls and emails from that time that I will never, ever forget. When you’ve worked so hard for so long, battled rejection but kept going anyway, to reach the point where I’m being published is something I’m so excited about – and enormously grateful for.
• What advice do you have for other writers?
There are so many brilliant, unpublished writers out there. Finding an agent and a publisher mean you have to write a good book, but it takes luck, too - in spadefuls - to hit the right person with the right idea when the market’s right… It’s also a massively subjective industry. What one person loves, another wouldn’t give the time of day to. And no-one can predict tomorrow’s bestsellers.
If you can’t find an agent to take you on, consider self-publishing. A number of authors have had huge success this way and in any case, you learn from it. Then keep writing – the next book, the one after. If you don’t, you’ll never know...
Debbie self-published three commercial women's fiction novels before writing The Bones of You, her first psychological thriller.
She now writes full time from her home, in a small West Sussex village where she lives with her family.