From the book jacket: If Ridley Jones had slept ten minutes later or had
taken the subway instead of waiting for a cab, she would still be living the
beautiful lie she used to call her life. She would still be the privileged
daughter of a doting father and a loving mother. Her life would still be perfect
- with only the tiny cracks of an angry junkie for a brother and a charming
drunk with shady underworld connections for an uncle to mar the otherwise
flawless whole. But that's not what happened. Instead, those inconsequential
decisions lead her to perform a good deed that puts her in the right place at
the right time to unleash a chain of events that brings a mysterious package to
her door - a package which informs her that her entire world is a lie. Suddenly
forced to question everything she knows about herself and her family, Ridley
wanders into dark territory she never knew existed, where everyone in her life
seems like a stranger. She has no idea who's on her side and who has something
to hide - even, and maybe especially, her new lover, Jake, who appears to have
secrets of his own.
Comment: New Yorker Ridley Jones is minding her own business when a random act of heroism brings her momentary fame as the woman who saved a toddler from being hit by a truck. Soon after she receives a faded picture of a man, a woman and a young girl with a note that reads, "Are you my daughter?" - and with that the life that she thought she knew starts to unravel.
Both Publishers Weekly and Booklist give Beautiful Lies starred reviews with Booklist concluding, "Unger takes readers on a pulse-pounding ride through the Big Apple in this outstanding debut that will please both pace-obsessed thriller fans and those who want to savor the more subtle aspects of character development."
Kirkus Reviews take a bit of a side-swipe by describing it as "cleverly handled suspense for chick-lit readers." In response to this comment I've no doubt that Lisa Unger would broadly agree with Jennifer Weiner (author of books such as Goodnight Nobody) who recently said, "The chick-lit label is sexist, dismissive and comes with the built-in implication that what you've written is a piece of beach-trash fluff....On the other hand, I know that the term gives publishers and, more importantly, booksellers and readers, a quick and easy short-hand about books that feature smart, funny, struggling young protagonists".
This review was originally published in June 2006, and has been updated for the December 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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