Book Reviews

Got a Secret? ARC Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture

the darkest lies

Title: The Darkest Lies
Author: Barbara Copperthwaite
Publisher: Bookouture
Date of publication: May 12th 2017
Format: ARC
Number of pages: 433
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A mother desperate for the truth. A daughter hiding a terrible secret.

Melanie Oak appeared to have the perfect life. Married to her childhood sweetheart, Jacob, the couple live with their beautiful, loving, teenage daughter, Beth, in a pretty village.

Nothing can shake her happiness – until the day that Beth goes missing and is discovered beaten almost to the point of death, her broken body lying in a freezing creek on the marshes near their home.

Consumed with grief, Melanie is determined to find her daughter’s attacker. Someone in the village must have seen something. Why won’t they talk? 

As Melanie tries to piece together what happened to Beth, she discovers that her innocent teenager has been harbouring some dark secrets of her own. The truth may lie closer to home and put Melanie’s life in terrible danger…

A completely gripping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister and Before I Let You In will be captivated.


You know how we keep saying lying is always a bad idea? Well, The Darkest Lies is the perfect example of just how deep lies can go, take roots in every family, and destroy everything from within.

The title is a warning. You are not in for joyous story about sunflowers and happy families pic-nicking on Sundays. I knew it. I am used to the genre. But the opening made me queasy with a foreboding feeling I couldn’t shake and suddenly, my heart and guts were gripped and squeezed so tight I had trouble reading!

Parents and teenagers. I have always wondered where and when the cut happened. You know, that moment you don’t tell your father you’re the one who broke the vase, or you steal a couple of cookies from your mother’s just-out-of-the-oven batch. Harmless lies, of course. But as we grow up, each and every one of them grows with us. No, you won’t get to that party. No, you don’t have a boyfriend. Is it a need for privacy? A fear of being chided? The thrill of the risk of being discovered? Like all teens, I lied to my mother. I do still lie sometimes to people, usually about small things that get me out of a never-ending conversation or explanation or simply because it’s easier.

But lies create a wall between people. Before you can realize it, you create two faces for yourself. I used to believe parents and kids were too close for this to happen. Then I opened my eyes and realized kids, those innocent little things brought into the world by lovely (crazy) parents, are humans of their own, with a mind, dreams and problems. And no matter how strong the relationship, teens are teens, people are people. Lies happen. And some lies have darker consequences than others. This is the harsh reality Melanie and her family learns in The Darkest Lies.

As you can see, this book got me thinking a lot. How much do you know about your daughter? Someone you see and talk to every single day. Someone you watch grow and develop into a woman? Melanie thought she knew her daughter well, so when she disappears and her mother learns she wasn’t at her best friend’s for the night, her bubble explodes. Why would Beth have lied? Where is she? Every parent’s nightmare. Here I must congratulate the author for her choice of narration, with Melanie talking to her daughter throughout the book. This broke my heart in so many pieces, it put me in Melanie’s shoes when I don’t even have a child. It heightened every emotion. It was dramatically perfect. It raised questions and left scars that no bandages could mend.

Suddenly, every place, every detail is important. The coat hanging loosely on the back of a chair, the hair brush left on a desk among homework and letters from friends. Unimportant things that take on a very special meaning when you think of the person who has left them here, and who is not back home. I loved the descriptive details of mundane things you only notice when something is wrong, I sadly relished in the accuracy of the representation of the bubble of loneliness that fear and uncertainty put Melanie in. Yes, people are around, but they don’t see, they don’t feel this excruciating pain, the silence in your heart as what you cherish the most hasn’t regained the nest. I felt so much sympathy for Melanie because her feelings were given to me on a plate, with no sugar on it. It felt too real to handle and I was as crushed as she was.

Another favorite thing of mine with this book is the wall between the police and the family. I love crime stories and playing detective, but here Beth’s family is left entirely out of the investigation, which I found very realistic… and so devastating. What do you do when you are left on your own and you need answers? You go look for them yourself! The not-knowing about the investigation kept me closely involved with Melanie as I followed her making choices, good or bad, anything to find out what had happened.

It turns out the quiet little town has a lot to say but too much is at stake for everyone and no one is willing to help. No one except an old friend of the “poor teen’s mother” freshly back in town. As she digs through every meter of the place, appearances fall as fast as alibis, discoveries are made, creating a web of suspicion on everyone around Melanie and Beth, and masks are put on and off, leaving the truth in the dark, and the mother desperate for anything to bring her closer to her daughter.

The spotless characterization makes every person in town looking shady, and I was scrabbling at the pages as secrets were revealed, whether related to Beth’s attack or not. I started wondering just how many secrets are floating around us daily, and next time someone laughs at my paranoia, I’m offering them the darkest lies as a gift!!!!

There is so much going on in this novel that your brain feels just like Melanie’s: in a constant fog, confused at people’s reactions, faced with the hard reality that trusting people is a dangerous thing to do. I was impressed by the extraordinary amount of work behind the plot, and even if I saw a few things coming, I was left speechless by the flawless narration and the harrowing emotions that rushed through me until the very end.

The Darkest Lies deserves its 5 stars!



The people behind the crime, from the perpetrator to the victim and beyond, are what intrigue Barbara Copperthwaite.

She was raised by the sea and in the countryside, where she became a lover of both nature and the written word – the latter leading to a successful career as a journalist. For over twenty years people have kindly and bravely shared with her their real experiences of being victims of crime. Now, through fiction, Barbara continues to explore the emotional repercussions.

47 thoughts on “Got a Secret? ARC Review: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @bookouture”

  1. This is a super review! I love how the book as you wrote portrays the relationship of the police and the family as limited with no feedback which is quite realistic in real life. Again, great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot! Usually, we follow the police so we’re at the heart of the investigation, or if it’s from the parents’ POV, they somehow get info from the liaison officer or manage to know things. Here, it was very clear from the beginning that the police would be a closed door, and it was refreshing, realistic and added a great edge to the story! Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Holy wow! This sounds like a book to be really excited about with it’s superb writing and atmosphere…. “I loved the descriptive details of mundane things you only notice when something is wrong”- this is such a great detail to notice and the fact that it comes across so well in the novel, makes me want to read it straight away!
    You pose a lot of interesting thoughts and I can see how much you invested emotionally into this story… the best part about the review? The very beginning when I saw you had given 5 stars… I knew straight away, a banger of a review was coming up. Somehow you have managed to distinguish your reviews very well, so that when I do see you rating 5 stars, I get instantly excited for the review and the book XD


    1. Again, you win the award of the best comment!!! I am so so grateful that you enjoy and trust my reviews so much! Wow, I’m speechless! Now that I have stopped worrying about how to write my reviews and just do it and see what happens, it feels weird to see people react to it and really get my feelings. Maybe I’m doing something good here, haha! The more I review, the more I love the exercise and having you supporting my little ramblings this way is fantastic ❤
      This book has so much to give, and a lot to offer. I pondered over details and things that we take for granted, I spent time thinking about how realistic everything felt, and I was left scared!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review! I must say it always baffles me when parents think they know everything about their children – they must have been teenagers themselves, and I bet they lied to their parents too. Half the time I told little lies to my parents because otherwise they wouldn’t have let me go to that party, or out with that boy, and the other half of the time it was so they wouldn’t worry. I always assumed my parents would know they weren’t get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth… 😉


  4. Great review Donna! And a 5 star rating makes me take notice as you don’t give those out too often!:) Your thoughts on lying and teenagers are spot on…I have 2 teenage boys and sometimes they lie about the most trivial things…why? Who knows, I often think it’s just to see if they can get by with it but my lie detection skills are pretty good…must be all the crime fiction I read😂


    1. Thank you! 😀 It’s true I’m not very generous when it comes to stars, even with awesome books sometimes, just because I expect a lot (that explains why all my Orenda reads haven’t gotten 5 stars, haha) I feel it’s a weird circle, we lie to our parents, then forget about it, and our kids do the same… It might just be testing the boundaries. Ooh, you’re a real life lie-detector, poor boys of yours xD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was already interested in this book but your brilliant review has me wanting to head straight to NetGalley to download it! I love the way you’ve explored the way we start telling lies as children and teens and the way we don’t always know what other people in our lives are up to, alongside the dark lies in this novel. It sounds like an incredible read. xx


    1. You can go to NG with closed eyes, I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed by this one! I love the idea of lies and secrets and this book gave me lots to think about. I can’t remember when I started lying, and I don’t do it that often, but I loved pondering about when the click happens and we understand lying can get us what we want, and how it affects our relationships with people. It was a great read with a lot to reflect on! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooooh… I can’t resist any longer – I’m going to download this from NG tonight! Your fab reviews are bad for my TBR… haha! 😉
        It’s interesting to think about lying and when we learn to do it in order to get our own way. Also the different levels of lying – telling a small fib versus a serious lie. I’m so looking forward to reading this book 🙂 xxx


  6. Well it sounds like this book really got you thinking. I love a book that you get so caught up in, you feel like you are part of the characters involved.
    I also love a book with twists you don’t see coming. So sounds like a great read. If you gave it 5 stars, I’m sure I would love it.
    It is a lovely comment that you got from the author. These types of comments always make me so happy that they read and appreciated my review.
    Amanda. xx


    1. I wasn’t expecting this book to have me thinking so much, it was a real nice surprise. I gave it 5 stars despite a slight niggle, so yeah, it’s a pretty good story! 🙂
      Yes, it’s wonderful and sweet when authors take the time to read and sometimes comment on your reviews, it makes your day 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent review, I’d hate it if I was left out of the investigation! I would want to know everything that’s going on… 😦


  8. Wow this sounds like an incredible book Donna, and it’s great how it made you think about the relationship teenagers have with their parents and the lies you tell that, like you said, start off small and harmless but then eventually become bigger with each one told. Seems like this one kept you guessing as well, perfect for a thriller book I guess! 🙂
    Great review! 😀 ❤


    1. I had so much thinking done after this book, I was definitely not expecting it. I am so curious about all this teenage era where you cut the ties and put yourself out there and suddenly your parents, who used to be your world, just become bugs xD Might be exaggerating but you get the idea, haha! Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Spectacular review! As a mother of a teenage daughter this blurb fascinates and terrifies my in equal parts. I am already speculating on some of the possibilities and outcomes. TBR again. Dang it Twin Pea. You are going to break my wallet and shelf ❤


    1. Nah you sweet pie ❤ Haha, I can understand! It's a difficult part of life and it's scary to believe you don't know your own kids the way you think you do! I am not sorry about your wallet :p Mine is empty, you need to do the shopping for the two of us!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. wow, truly excited that I have a copy of this book. It sounds brilliant and I love the idea of secrets and lies in thrillers. Being cut out from the investigation is not something we see often but I like the angle too.I hope to read this one next. Fab review Donna 🙂


  11. Fantastic review! I liked your thoughts on teens and their identity crisis/process of growing up leading us to lies and secrets. This sounds like a wonderfully well-written novel. Although… Maybe I’m mistaking it with how well-written your review is though. :O 😉


    1. She just nails this hole loss leaves inside you, and she captures the feelings to send them right your way. Haha, me too! I can’t imagine her nightmare so I cut her a lot of slack but at some point I wanted to wake up with a nice slap!


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