Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: “I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess…”
So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, and 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 alter 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…
This is the second book in a row where I had mixed feelings about main character. But thankfully, after a bit of a slow beginning, I was soon wrapped up in the intriguing mystery and well written characters. I’m going to be honest and say I was not thrilled with the main character Noah, at least not in the beginning. While it was nice having a male narrator for a change given there doesn’t seem to be many of them in the psychological suspense genre, he doesn’t exactly have a sparkling personality and I found myself wincing everytime he reminisced about how in love he was with April “the goddess”. I actually found him to be a tad excessive regarding his love and devotion given how little he really knew April. However, certain things start developing which make him much more interesting. As the story unfolds, it alternates between the 1980’s when Noah and April first meet as teens, the 1990’s when their adult relationship develops, and 2016 with April in a coma and Noah determined to prove her innocence. While it seems as though Noah is completely blinded by love, there are some inconsistencies that begin to appear in his story leaving you to question his reliability. Equally important is his former friend Will, who has a complicated history with both Noah and April and whose true motives are shrouded in mystery. As the book progresses, you get pieces of everyone’s pasts and how they connect with one another. It’s not until the very end though that you get the entire picture. There are so many twists and turns on the way there, that it winds up being an almost compulsive read. Overall, despite a rocky beginning, I quite enjoyed The Beauty of the End, and I’ll definitely be checking out Debbie Howells’ other books. I recommend this as a great beach read for fans of mystery and psychological suspense.