Summary and book reviews of Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger

Beautiful Lies

A Novel

by Lisa Unger

Beautiful Lies
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2006, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2006, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Ridley Jones sets out on a quest to unlock the secrets of her murky past after the faded picture of a man, woman, and baby girl is delivered to her door with a note asking "Are you my daughter?".

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.

Sexy and fast-paced, Beautiful Lies is a true literary thriller with one of the freshest voices and heroines to arrive in years. Lisa Unger takes us on a breathtaking ride in which every choice Ridley makes creates a whirlwind of consequences that are impossible to imagine . . . .

Chapter One

It’s dark in that awful way that allows you to make out objects but not the black spaces behind them. My breathing comes ragged from exertion and fear. The only person I trust in the world lies on the floor beside me. I lean into him and hear that he’s still breathing but it’s shallow and hard won. He’s hurt, I know. But I can’t see how badly. I whisper his name in his ear but he doesn’t respond. I feel his body but there’s no blood that I can tell. The sound of his body hitting the floor minutes before was the worst thing I’ve ever heard.

I feel the floor around him, looking for his gun. After a few seconds I feel the cool metal beneath my fingertips and I almost weep with relief. But there’s no time for that now.

I can hear the rain falling outside the burned-out building, its loud, heavy drops smacking on canvas. It’s falling inside, too, trickling in through gaping holes in the roof down ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About This Guide

In Lisa Unger's debut novel, she spins a web of deceit with her poignantly drawn characters. This guide is designed to help you explore her themes of choice, trust, freedom, and love.


About This Book

An expertly crafted literary thriller, Beautiful Lies introduces a compelling young heroine as she unravels how the choices she's made have turned her into the woman she's become.

Ridley Jones knows that the smallest coincidences can have more impact than the big decisions: She steps off the curb to save a child from being run over, and suddenly her face is plastered on every TV screen and newspaper in the country. When an unexpected note is left in her mailbox and a mysterious stranger appears, ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (216 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Cleverly handled suspense for chick-lit readers.

Booklist - Jenny Mclarin

Starred Review. 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.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The premise is deep as well as clever, and Unger plays it out thrillingly.

Author Blurb Lee Child, author of One Shot
Suspenseful, sensitive, sexy, subtle . . . The best nail-biter I have read for ages. Highly recommended.

Author Blurb John Connolly, author of The Black Angel
A tense exploration of what lies beneath the white picket fence of ordinary life. Harlan Coben has a new rival for his thriller crown.

Author Blurb Lisa Gardner, author of Alone
A stunning, powerful novel! Lisa Unger’s taut prose grabs the reader from word one and never lets go. In this tantalizing tale of family suspense, beware of who you trust and be forewarned about what might happen next.

Reader Reviews

Ronni

Beautiful Lies a great book
Was kind of sad to read review on Lisa Unger's second novel because Beautiful Lies is absolutely excellent. It had everything a book should have and was a real page turner. Will still read sequel but know it must be hard to follow up such a great ...   Read More

Melissa Hunt

Beautiful Truths
I always enjoy a good thriller and while this kept my attention with suspense, little romance thrown in, etc; it was the poignant remarks Unger made throughout this novel and the sequel, Sliver of Truth, which really kept me reading. I first love ...   Read More

Gini

You've got to be kidding...
I still am reeling from this book a year later! How this author is still pounding them out is absolutely incredible to me! After the fiasco of this horribly written book why is she still selling! The writing is juvenile at best as she goes on , and...   Read More

jan

Beware, the sequel!
Nowhere in the blurb, etc, of Lisa Unger's next book, Sliver of Truth, does it mention it is a sequel to Beautiful Lies. This is unfortunate. The narrator of S of T never stops alluding to the plot and characters in her first book, taking for ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Lisa Unger says that for a long time she didn't believe it was possible to make a living as a writer, "mainly because that's what people always told me", so she went into the profession that brought her closest to her dream - publishing.  A few years later she met her future husband in Key West  and after a whirlwind romance they sold their homes, quit their corporate jobs and moved to Florida. She says that only once she had some distance from New York, could she start appreciating the city and it naturally became the setting for Beautiful Lies.  

When asked what elements of the story come from her own experience she answers, "For me and for most fiction writers, I think, it is true to say that ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Beautiful Lies, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Second hand books are wild books...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.