'Beautiful Lies' a mesmerizing tale

Secrets, lies, deceit and love swirl throughout the life of a Victorian-era politician's wife in Clare Clark's mesmerizing novel "Beautiful Lies."

In 1887, the society and community of London is in for some major changes, and for Maribel Campbell Lowe, the beautiful, slightly rebellious wife of a maverick politician, it is time to make some drastic changes of her own.

A self-proclaimed Chilean heiress supposedly educated in Paris, she is torn between her creative hobbies of poetry and the new art of photography. But it is soon plain that these pleasurable choices are easy to make, while other decisions in her life are not so simple at all.

As her husband’s tenuous career hangs by a thread, Maribel’s real past, and the family she left behind, have come back to haunt them both. And if that’s not bad enough, the notorious newspaper editor Alfred Webster begins to take an uncommon interest in Maribel, and she soon begins to fear that he will not only destroy Edward, but both of their reputations as well.

Clark gives her readers a camera-lens view of the life of Maribel Campbell Lowe, who on the surface seems to be a proper wife to her English politician husband. She entertains, she dabbles in amateur photography, she writes poetry — all the things a sedate lady would do. But Maribel has secrets that could possibly tear apart her life as well as her husband's career.

"Beautiful Lies" is a fascinating novel that draws you in and doesn't let go. The action is fast-paced and the characters are intriguing. Clark captures the end of the Victorian-era in England brilliantly as the country begins to move into the uncertain new age of industry and commerce.