Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward
Published by Park Row on March 5, 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC, Print
Source: The Publisher
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from The Publisher.
Things that make me scared: When Charlie cries. Hospitals and lakes. When Ian drinks vodka in the basement. ISIS. When Ian gets angry... That something is really, really wrong with me.
Maddie and Ian's romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian's PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple's tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.
From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.
Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward is a great example of a book that I loved for the first half or so, then changed my mind about once the story took a sharp turn. Told in alternating viewpoints and timelines, the story of Maddie and Ian’s relationship unfolds from courtship to marriage—culminating in The Day of the Killing.
Maddie and Ian meet when she’s working as a travel writer overseas and he’s in the British Army. Maddie divides her time between writing and visiting her best friend, Joanna, an international aid worker.
When Maddie first meets Ian through mutual friends, she isn’t left with the best first impression of him. But over time, Ian charms his way into her good graces. Although Joanna attempts to steer Maddie away from Ian, Maddie follows her heart and falls in love with him.
Sixteen years later, Maddie and Ian are married with a son, Charlie, and living in Maddie’s Kansas hometown. She and Jo have had a falling out and haven’t spoken in some time. Worse yet, Maddie has had a horrible accident that took place while out camping with Ian and Charlie. The accident has left her disfigured and with no memory of what happened that night.
As Maddie attempts to recover her memories through writing therapy with a psychologist, she confesses her fear about Ian’s increasingly volatile personality. Maddie needs to get to the truth and she will protect her son at any cost.
There’s a lot to unpack in this story. As I mentioned, I enjoyed it quite a bit for the first stretch, until some of the major plot points happen and I wasn’t sure where the story was going.
When the big twist is revealed, I was actually pretty disappointed. I didn’t think that the resolution lived up to the building suspense of the first part of the story. I also didn’t love the ending, which left me feeling as if something was missing.
Overall, I wanted more of an explosive twist and that isn’t present here. I also felt that the second half of the book isn’t quite as cohesive as the first part. Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me.
Rating: 2.5 stars