Book Review: Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Face 1

Publish Date: July 10, 2018

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Face 2

Frances Metcalfe is an overweight, insecure, and lonely stay-at-home mom whose troubled son Marcus attends the elite Forrester Academy in the Seattle area. But after a disturbing incident at the school leads the other children and their families to ostracize the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever before.

Frances befriends Kate Randolph, who is a mother from Marcus’s school. Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. Oddly, Kate’s not interested in being friends with any of the other Forrester moms—only Frances. As the two bond, a startling secret threatens to tear them apart.

Because one of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer. Can people ever change? And even if they can, is it possible to forgive the past?

Face 3

“There is no real beauty without some slight imperfection.” – James Salter

But what if the imperfection is really a major character flaw? Can beauty on the surface hide the ugliness within?

This book is a completely engrossing story about inner demons, darkness, reckless behavior, and flawed, tortured characters.

The story is told from 3 perspectives. Frances – a married mother with a loving husband, an on-spectrum preteen son, body image issues and low self esteem; Daisy – a rebellious, reckless, and lonely high school student who is feeling unloved and ignored by her parents; and DJ – the tormented younger brother of a teen murder victim.

This book made me think about identity, character, hereditary traits, genetics, secrets, and if people really can change over time.

All of the characters in this story are unhappy and have dark secrets. They all have major issues. Each have unresolved conflict within themselves. There are no healthy relationships in this book. Each person is a lone sailor in the storm of life. Each is tortured by their past, which affects their present life and their ability to lead a normal existence.

I spent a lot of time thinking about these characters and how their storylines would eventually converge. I did guess some of it, and other twists were a surprise. I was bracing for murder, kidnapping, revenge, and violence, and held my breath waiting for this to happen, because each character was acting like a ticking time bomb and it was only a matter of time before someone exploded.

Can people change over time? Do your actions in your younger years define you as an adult? Does wisdom come with age? This book will make you think about these things.

The plot touches on genetics and whether traits in your family are shared. This is a fascinating concept and had me thinking about parents and the traits that are passed on to their children. Are we destined to repeat the same patterns as our parents because it’s hereditary?

I loved how the storylines came together, and all of the connections were revealed by the end. There was even some healing and coming to terms by the end, which makes this a great story.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars 4 Stars

The writing style is descriptive, engaging, and fast paced. Each chapter flew by, and this was a quick read for me.

This is my first read of Robyn Harding’s work, and I really enjoyed it.

This book reminds me of Jar of Heartsby Jennifer Hillier. If you like that book, you’ll like this one too!

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