Blog tour review + feature: The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

By | July 21, 2016


I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess . . .

A love he’d never forget

Ex-lawyer Noah has never forgotten his first love. When, years later, he hears that she’s suspected of murder, he knows with certainty that she’s innocent. With April on life-support and the evidence pointing towards her guilt, he’s compelled to help her. But he’s also unprepared as he’s forced to confront what happened between them all those years ago.

A secret she would never reveal

April Moon had loved Noah. She never wanted to hurt him. But there was something – and someone – dark in her life which made happiness together impossible.

A family she could never forgive

Ella is a troubled teenager with her own secrets to tell. But no one will listen. What Ella knows holds the key to finding the killer. But as Noah, April and Ella’s stories converge, shocking revelations come to the surface. The truth is obvious. Or so everyone believes…

I have a slightly guilty secret – I never read Debbie Howells’ The Bones of You. OK, I know it was chosen for the Richard and Judy Book Club, and I always read their choices… I just never quite got round to it. But so many other people did, and loved it, so I was delighted when invited to join the blog tour for Debbie’s new book, The Beauty of the End, published on 14th July by Pan Macmillan in paperback and for kindle. 

My review follows, but first I’m delighted to welcome Debbie to Being Anne, picking her top five holiday reads…


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I remember lying on the beach, so engrossed in this that I was crying behind my sunglasses, much to the amusement of my daughter. I loved it far more than she did. Oh goodness, I was so in the head of the parents. Heartbreaking.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

My son bought me the trilogy because I’d never read them. I was drawn right into the world, the characters, the story. Completely loved it.

Coming Up Roses – Rachael Lucas

Rachael’s writing is wonderful and warm. She makes you want to live in her books. Glorious, absorbing escapism at its very best.

Before We Met – Lucie Whitehouse

Another one I read lying on a beach. It was engrossing, had me racing through the pages with a twist I didn’t see coming. A great, suspenseful read.

We Are All Made Of Stars – Rowan Coleman

Every now and then comes a book with real emotional pull. This is one. Beautiful, moving, heartwarming, heartbreaking… I’ve passed my copy on to friends who’ve loved it just as much.

Great choices Debbie – I haven’t read John Green’s book, but you’ll find reviews of Coming Up Roses, Before We Met and We Are All Made Of Stars here on Being Anne – and I reviewed The Hunger Games over on Goodreads!

But what did I think of The Beauty of the End?

My review

I’ve said it before, and I’ll do so again – it’s really difficult to stand out in this crowded market for psychological thrillers and “grip-lit”: but Debbie Howells really has managed it with this one. And the way she’s done it is by making the focus of this book something quite other – it’s almost less about the immediate story, but far more about the key characters and their complex relationships. 

The characterisation here is exceptional – Noah wrestling with his demons, the complications of April’s life, the enigmas that are Bea and Will, the threatening presence of Ryder – as the story weaves its way through past and present with consummate ease. And counterpointing it, the story of Ella – a clear, young and endearing voice as she tells her apparently unrelated story. This book is quite beautifully constructed, with perfect pace – and has real emotional depth as the harrowing story of treachery and betrayal unfolds. The different threads are quite perfectly handled – this author really is a quite excellent storyteller, who handles the complicated structure with total ease, never dropping a stitch. 

And, as if that wasn’t enough, the main story and its resolution is a real page-turner – I read this book in a single glorious sitting – with shocks and surprises enough for any reader who might usually prefer their stories a little more simply told, as “the truth” is slowly revealed. The title is a master stroke – but to understand why, you’ll really need to read it. I may not have read anything by Debbie Howells before, but I’ll most definitely be at the head of the queue for anything she writes in future – this was superb.

My thanks to Maura PR and Communications, the author and publishers Pan Macmillan for my advance reading copy, and for including me in the blog tour. You will follow the other stops, won’t you?


Debbie Howells lives in West Sussex with her family. Having worked as cabin crew and a flying instructor, she spent the last XX years running a very successful wedding flower business, whilst also writing and self-publishing three novels. The Bones of You was her first novel published by Pan Macmillan. Debbie has an excellent website, and you can also follow her on Twitter.

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