Blog Tour and Book Review: Her Dark Lies by J.T. Ellison
Fast-paced and brilliantly unpredictable, J.T. Ellison’s breathtaking new novel invites you to a wedding none will forget—and some won’t survive. Jutting from sparkling turquoise waters off the Italian coast, Isle Isola is an idyllic setting for a wedding. In the majestic cliff-top villa owned by the wealthy Compton family, up-and-coming artist Claire Hunter will marry handsome, charming Jack Compton, surrounded by close family, intimate friends…and a host of dark secrets. From the moment Claire sets foot on the island, something seems amiss. Skeletal remains have just been found. There are other, newer disturbances, too. Menacing texts. A ruined wedding dress. And one troubling shadow hanging over Claire’s otherwise blissful relationship—the strange mystery surrounding Jack’s first wife. Then a raging storm descends, the power goes out—and the real terror begins…
A modern day gothic thriller with more than a few nods to Rebecca, this is a fascinating and thrilling read. Bohemian artist Claire is marrying Jack Compton, scion of an impossibly rich family, who have more than a few skeletons in the closets of the magnificent family retreat on remote Isle Isola - some of the skeletons being rather more literal than others. Trapped on the island by a powerful storm, Claire comes to realise someone doesn’t want her wedding to go ahead. And that someone might be willing to kill to stop it.
The tension ratchets up steadily throughout, as more and more of Claire and Jack’s pasts are revealed. Claire is no angel, with some dark secrets in her own background, powerful enough that her own sister is fully prepared to ruin Claire’s life if given the opportunity, but it pales in comparison to the Compton legacy of blood.
With the entire cast trapped on the island, once the first body turns up this becomes a locked-room thriller. Claire already knew something was wrong when her wedding dress was gruesomely sabotaged, but finding out someone is willing to kill takes the tension to a whole new level. It’s obvious from fairly early on who has to be behind everything, but the reveal of their accomplice took me by surprise, as did Claire’s actions in the final confrontation and afterwards. Let’s just say that Claire is a worthy successor to the Compton legacy and I think Jack may eventually be surprised by the strength of the woman he’s married!
There’s some gorgeous prose here which some might find slow but I thought it really helped to set the atmosphere; I could almost smell the Mediterranean sea air and the thick scent of lemons in the trees, hear the thunder from the incoming storm. This isn’t the first book I’ve read by this author (I also enjoyed Good Girls Lie) and it certainly won’t be the last, because she definitely knows how to tell a compelling story. I’m giving this one five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.
About the Author:
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 28 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
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