The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

Darkest LiesA 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…


Melanie, Jacob and Beth Oak were a perfect, happy, little family who seemed to be living a regular but blissful life. However, their lives were shattered on the night that Beth went missing. A search party later found her beaten and left for the dead. Beth’s parents were obviously devastated by the news. They were even more distraught when it became apparent that there was a lot of deception surrounding the night that Beth disappeared.

The story is narrated mainly from Melanie’s perspective. Her pain was so raw that I found myself at the brink of tears a couple of times. Melanie and Beth were close and Beth was everything to Melanie. The narrative styles sounds like Melanie is narrating the events to her daughter. In her mind, Melanie explains her actions, describes her anguish and search for answers. There were a few chapters narrated by Beth. Her PoV was fascinating. It gave a background to events before the tragic night until finally; we get Beth’s version about the attack. There were two other narrators that added to the intrigue of the book. One was creepy while the other tragic.

I liked Mel’s characterization. She was likeable and sympathetic. I liked how determined she was to find her daughter’s attacker. She knocked on doors and asked questions that made a lot of people mad/uncomfortable. She even upset the police. Mel is what I envision when I think of a mother’s love. Her character was very well portrayed hence believable.

With lies and deceit being major themes in the book, there were a lot of sneaky, unlikable but yet addictive characters. You won’t believe the kind of deception that went on. The characters lived in a small village where everyone seemed to be lying about something. This meant that there were many suspects. The town was crazy. They all knew each other and people were in each other’s business. However, nobody would even admit to seeing Beth on the night that she disappeared.

Although quite emotional, this was an entertaining book. I was able to detect one of the lies from the get-go. I had my suspicions about a character but I was so wrong about what they were lying about. The other lies and twists caught me off guard. The book had unpredictable turns that kept me totally glued to the story up to the final page. Besides the great characterization, this was another reason why I enjoyed reading the book so much.

The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite is not your regular kind of thriller. Of course it has all the things that make a good psychological thriller such as unpredictable twists, sneaky characters (and psychopaths), lies and secrets. Nevertheless, the book goes beyond thrills and tackles a number of heavy themes. One of them is grief which was dominant throughout. The characters being so realistic made this theme come alive in the story and hence the emotional aspect of the book. My heart broke especially for the Oaks.

The writing is flawless. I fell in love with Copperthwaite’s writing. She has a way of taking readers through different emotions, making one feel like part of the story. The imagery had me visualizing different scenes and the characters felt like people I knew. All in all, this was a brilliant read and I highly recommend it.

23 thoughts on “The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite

  1. Every time I read a book synopsis that begins with a statement about the character’s perfect life (that word: perfect!), I realize I don’t want to read the book. Perhaps it’s because the audacity of someone thinking their life is perfect blows my mind. Perhaps it’s my irritation that whoever wrote the synopsis doesn’t know the definition of “perfect.” Perhaps it’s because so, so many books start out with that exact same statement. Ultimately, “perfect” implies quite a bit: white, thin, no financial concerns, lovely home, good taste, good sex, caring friends, safety, security, privilege. What are your thoughts, Diana? Does it ever bother you?

    1. It doesn’t bother me especially in this genre. It doesn’t mean that their lives were perfect in that sense. I think in thrillers, perfect is used to denote the calmness, normalcy before things go crazy. Like in this case, Beth was attacked and ended up in a coma,her parent’s lives were totally destroyed. Things kept getting worse.At some point, the mom couldn’t even eat, work, socialize and she was hardly sleeping. So her life before seemed perfect as compared to what she was currently going through. She may have had issues before but compared to her current nightmare, her life before the attack was as perfect as it gets. I hope I am making sense.

      1. That definitely makes sense! I wish the synopsis would use the word “normal”–it’s a word, I would argue, that readers better understand. I used to teach creative writing at Notre Dame, and every story the students wrote were about perfect lives, lives that reflected their own homes, actually. It was exhausting. Thanks for helping me think about this more!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it too but why are you torn about Melanie? Was it about the end or her pushing the investigation.I look forward to your review of it.

    1. Yeah, I could feel her agony. Its sick that the other liar(who shall not be named) was getting off from that. It broke my heart to read about her struggles. Yeah so many suspects, I like how Mel kept confronting each one of them.Thanks Donna 🙂

  2. Excellent review! I loved the writing as well and there were so many lies and secrets… I’m glad you enjoyed this one! 🙂

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