Review - The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Date Read: July 6, 2016
Source: NetGalley

From the acclaimed author of The Bones of You comes a haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about a man thrust into the middle of a murder investigation, forced to confront the secrets of his ex-lover's past.

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

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose--and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April's name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . .

Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.

My Review

I have so many mixed feelings about this book.  I remember that I really wanted to see how things would work out for the characters.  So much so that I had a hard time putting it down.  The whole time I was reading, I was also thinking about how nothing in the story really rang true to me.  In the end, it was rather disappointing.

I read this book several weeks before I actually had a chance to sit down and write my review.  I hate to say it but I remembered very little of the book at first.  It was really that forgettable.  After reading over the summary and checking my notes, I did recall the story but I am still amazed that I was able to completely wipe the plot from my mind in just a few days. 

I didn't really care for any of the characters in the story which is a pretty big problem for me.  In most cases, I really need to like at least one character in a book in order to connect with the story.  I didn't understand Noah.  It didn't make sense to me how he was able to always think so highly of April.  Nobody is as perfect as he felt April was.  April was probably the closest to be likable but we never got to hear her voice and she also made little sense to me.  I wasn't even sure who Ella was or why I should care about her portions of the book.

I thought the plot was incredibly far fetched.  The story jumped back and forth in time which took away from the flow of the story at times.  There were also random sections of the book that came from Ella's point of view that did not appear to be linked to the main plot in way.  I just really had a hard time believing that otherwise intelligent individuals could be as clueless as everyone seemed to be in this story.

On a more positive note, I found the book to be easy to read.  I found that sections of the book were rather exciting and I did want to see how everything would work out.  I was hoping for a big finish based on the title but felt that the ending fell flat.  It was a book that I had no trouble getting through but I found myself thinking about all of the problems in the story more than the actual mystery.

I can't recommend this book to others.  I think that there are too many great options out there for anyone looking for a great mystery thriller.  This was the first book by Debbie Howells that I have read and I would be willing to give her work another try in the future.

I received a copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review. 

About the Authors

Debbie Howells is the author of The Bones of You, her debut thriller which sold internationally for six-figures in several countries. While in the past she has been a flying instructor, the owner of a flower shop, and a student of psychology, she currently writes full-time. Debbie lives in West Sussex with her family, please visit her online at


  1. Apathy is such a book killer. Sigh.

  2. oh sounds a bit disappointing!!! I do like thrillers, but they need to be well written.

    1. I can deal with some unbelievable aspects but not so many that it pulls me out of the story.


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