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London, 1887. In a momentous year dogged by economic crisis, riots and a voracious press hungry for scandal - how can one MP's wife bury the truth about her past?

It is 1887, and an unsettled London prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Maribel, beautiful bohemian wife of maverick political Edward Campbell Lowe and self-proclaimed Chilean heiress educated in Paris, debates how to make her own mark on the world, while experimenting with the new art of photography. However, the wife of an outspoken member of parliament, whose views inspire enmity and admiration in equal measure, should not be hiding the kind of secrets Maribel has buried in her past.

When a notorious newspaper editor beings to take an uncommon interest in her, Maribel fears he will destroy not only Edward's career but both of their reputations.


A captivating fable of truth and memory

New York Times

A shining example of historical literary fiction... Nothing less than literary pyrotechnics...a dazzingly elegant novel steeped in the rich detail of the period

Lucy Scholes, Independent

Clare Clark is one of those writers who can see into the past and help us feel its texture

Hilary Mantel

A stirring and seductive novel

The Economist

[A] beautifully crafted piece of Victoriana…a satisfying blend of period melodrama and psychological sharpness

Adrian Turpin, Financial Times

A distinctive portrait of Victorian London... Clark very delicately spins out the parallels with today


A wonderfully observed novel which explores both the role of women and the tabloid press in Victoria's jubilee year. Completely gripping

Rosie Boycott

Sentences that are so lush, so beautifully finished, that one almost wants to stroke her prose

Judith Flanders, Guardian

A hugely entertaining and generous piece of story-telling

James Walton, Daily Mail

Clark works on a large canvas to tell her story and Beautiful Lies is rich in character, event and period detail, but it is the compelling evocation of its heroine’s predicament that stays in the memory

Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

This is a delicious brick of a book, at the high end of historical fiction; immaculately informed, with characters you can’t forget

Kate Saunders, Saga

A meticulously researched and elegantly written novel…

Daisy Waugh, Metro

A touching portrayal of a highly unusual marriage

Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday

Clark is speaking for herself, and for the power of fiction

Judith Flanders, Guardian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 15, 2013


    512 pages

    RRP $22.99

    Online retailers

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Clare Clark

We That Are Left
Savage Lands


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Beauty in Thorns
The Award
New Boy
The 7th Function of Language
Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fool Me Once
Private Delhi
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Swing Time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Life After Life
The Girls
The Bone Collection