Book Review: Lies Behind the Ruin by Helen Matthews

If you are currently in the mindset of “all men are dogs” and “there is no such thing as the perfect man”, I have a great book review for your today. Paul is the character that you are going to love to hate.


Lies Behind the Ruin* by Helen Matthews introduces us to Emma Willshire who, after being a student bride and living as a single mother in near poverty, is now building a new life for herself with husband Paul and her second child, Mollie. Things are looking up until a fatal accident means Paul loses his job. Trying to escape his wrongdoings, while on holiday in France he decides to buy an old ruin and move his family there. At first dubious, Emma decides this could be a good thing for the family, after all, that is until further mistakes put herself and her daughter in danger.

Book Cover Lies Behind the Ruin by Helen Matthews


I originally started the story liking Paul. I could understand his obsession with the house in France; we all want to run away when things turn sour. I also like how the Willshire family weren’t perceived as the perfect family from the get-go. This made them more real and relatable. However, this was when the story was being told from Emma’s point of view. When it switched to Paul’s point of view, my initial opinion of him did a sharp U-turn. My God, what a selfish man!

However, I continually stood by Emma throughout Lies Behind the Ruin. She was a rare genuinely good character who wasn’t ruined by being made too perfect nor was her character spoiled by been giving a flaw that didn’t fit with the rest of her personality. It was good to see her evolve and come into her own in terms of running the household and earning her own income.

The book is told from one more viewpoint, Emma’s son Owen. To be honest, this caught be my surprise. I felt it didn’t necessarily fit in with the rest of the book and didn’t add any real value.

Another aspect of Lies Behind the Ruin that I genuinely enjoyed was the description of the small French village. I felt I could run away and live there myself.

Now, there was one thing that I didn’t enjoy in this story but it is a totally personal opinion. There was a little too much about Brexit. I love the relevance of the topic and I totally see the value of including this piece of history for future readers but currently, I’m bored of hearing about it.

Overall, this was quite a pleasant read. Admittedly, the ending was somewhat predictable bar one or two twists but it was a nicely told story and I enjoyed it. Sometimes less suspense is good for my blood pressure!

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

*affiliate link


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