Monday, September 10, 2018

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it virtually nonstop from beginning to end.  This book has that extra something that grabs the readers attention and doesn't let go until the end.  Unfortunately, when I got to the end I was just a little bit disappointed, but more on that later.

Maddie (Brandt) Wilson is portrayed by a narrative that jumps around to three points of view:  Past young Maddie in the Balkans, near past Maddie in Kansas with her son Thomas, and the present in which a murder has been committed, seemingly her own.  The narrative device works well; we get some fascinating background of Maddie in the Balkans as a travel writer and teacher who often visits her friend Joann in Macedonia.  The time is around 9/11/01 so the Balkans are only a semi-safe place to be.  Here she meets the love of her life, Ian Wilson, who is a military contractor and over the course of the book we learn he is a burnout with PTSD.  In the near past, Maddie has been horribly injured, and we are not sure but suspect that Ian was the culprit.  Most of the book follows Ian and Maddie's relationship until the climax where there is a murder.

I loved reading this book but when I got to the end, I realized that the author had manipulated me.  We only get to see the part of the story that the author reveals to us, and the story up to the climax led me to a particular view of the characters and their world;  after the climax, the author presents Maddie, Ian and Joann in a vastly different light.  There was no way to know this was going to happen.  I felt manipulated by this;  portraying the world one way and then completely changing the world after the climax.  I felt cheap and used.

I was happy I read this book, but disappointed in the manipulation by the author.   Nevertheless, it is a great book and well worth reading.  Recommended.  4/5 stars. 

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