BOOK REVIEW: Beautiful Liar by Tara Bond

by Tara Bond
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (UK) / (USA)
Publication Date: May 2015(UK) / October 2015 (US)
Format: Paperback (386 pages)
Source: ARC

Nina Baxter has her life all mapped out. She wants to work hard, take care of her younger sister and not end up like her drunk of a mother. Most of all, she plans to stay away from bad influences.

Alexander Noble doesn’t give a damn about anything or anyone. The heir to an unimaginable fortune, he’s never had to do a day’s work in his life, and devotes himself to pleasure and partying.

When opposites attract…
From their very first meeting, Nina knows Alex is bad news, and vows to stay away from him. But as their paths continue to cross, she can’t help being drawn to him – especially when he makes no secret of his interest in her.

Can they resist the pull?
For the first time ever, Nina is on the brink of following her heart. But can she believe Alex when he tells her to trust him? Or is he just another beautiful liar? (Goodreads)

DividerBeautiful Liar was a book that has been on my reading radar, ever since I saw the early promo tweets on my Twitter thread. So when I was given the chance to read it early, to say I was eager was a bit of an understatement. Yet, with this trepidation and anticipation, there can also be disappointment in a book not meeting your expectations. Thankfully, Beautiful Liar not only met them but at times exceeded them in a way that I really hadn’t expected.

This book showcases an excellent example of bring theme that are associated with the well known, and loved, classic Pride and Prejudice while bringing them up to date for the modern reader. This being that can you see past the preconceptions you have about someone and see the real person beneath the surface? While reading the book I could almost see that Nina could be the descendant of Elizabeth and Darcy, with her stubbornness and, at first her inability to look past the protective armour Alex has constructed in order to cope with living in the shadow of his older brother.

From the very first meeting, you could tell there was “something” between them and although it wasn’t insta-love, there was this curiosity between Nina and Alex on what made this person ticked. Ok, so in the case of Alex, it seemed that he was very easy on the eye and had that bad boy swagger down to a “T”. These are the stories I like, where the preconceptions are stripped away from a character, only to leave a vulnerable and insecure person left. It is here, that we start to see the rebuilding of this person into a character we root to get the girl (or boy) they are meant to be with.

Alex isn’t a bad person to start off with, although he does have some destructive habits. Would he be the guy you would happily bring home to your parents? At first, you would say no, but as the story progresses we see deeper into his psyche. Yes, he is a complete ladies man and has no shortage of women who would happily warm his bed, but when Nina gets into a particularly bad jam, he steps up to the plate and offers to help. While the man that Nina “thinks” she knows would have asked for her to repay him in a “certain” way, Alex surprises not only Nina but us as a reader. It is at this point the “real” Alex starts to emerge.

Bond could have easily went down the tried and true trope of the love of a good woman as the catalyst for this metamorphosis, but for the majority of the book these two characters remain acquaintances. Instead, Alex changes in order to show Nina that he can be a good man and one that is worthy of her.

As you can tell, I had a rather big soft spot for Alex and have not mentioned anything about Nina. This is because that although I though Nina was interesting character, she has allowed her past with her mother tarnish her view of other people. She seems so scared of making the same mistakes as her mother, she can’t let anyone else in. It is true that her reasons are more than valid, but like both Darcy and Elizabeth, she makes assumptions about others, especially with Alex.

On top of this, the mysterious link between Nina’s father, his death and Alex’s family bubbles along in the background. When Alex’s Dad asks Nina to not tell her mother that she visted him, alarm bell’s began to ring and I began to jump to numerous conclusions. I seemed to be validated in my assumption when Alex seemed to dump Nina after talking to his father the morning after they had slept together at the first time.

When the truth does come out, it came across as a surprise and yet even then it didn’t seem to make sense. There was still something off and I couldn’t shake this feeling. I went along with where it seemed to be going, even wondering how Nina and Alex would ever overcome this major hurdle. The solution was the real sucker punch to the story and I sat there shocked as I watched it all unfolded. Naturally, they do get together but it’s not plain sailing.

Beautiful Liar is a fantastic debut novel from an author that knows how to create a story that keeps you interested from the first page to the last. With characters I was rooting for one minute and the next you wanting to shake some sense into them; along with a plot with twists and turns that kept me on my feet, this is the ideal summer holiday read.

4 star

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