13 Mar The Ugly Truth by L C North
A stunning original story explores the downside of fame and fortune
A story for the modern age – perhaps inspired by Britney Spears – and also a warning, The Ugly Truth introduces us to Melangie Lange the adored younger daughter of hotel chain mogul Sir Peter Lange.
At 34, a mother of two young sons, she has made a success of her life, establishing two successful companies, and is famous as a socialite in the world of Insta, Twitter and TikTok.
So why is her father keeping her locked up in a remote house, with only a succession of guards and a daily visit from a psychiatrist for company?
He claims he’s protecting her from herself – she’s a troubled woman with a high suicide risk.
In videos smuggled out to her friend Nell and posted on her YouTube channel, Melanie claims her father has imprisoned her against her will, separating her from her sons, so that he can control the businesses.
How did things come to this? And who is telling the truth?
A cautionary tale told in a refreshing format
The Ugly Truth is a story with many facets – and it will leave you questioning the high price of fame and fortune that so many people aspire to in the digital age.
I loved the way this story was told! Author L.C. North has delivered a twisty, cunning and moving tale in a very refreshing format, making full use of the modern ways of communication.
So we have testimony from Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and a Netflix Documentary exploring Melanie’s disappearance all of which which give the reader the opportunity to hear all sides of the story, not only form the main characters’ testimonies, but in soundbites from newspaper editors, paparazzi, past boyfriends and friends of Melanie.
In the interest of fairness, Sir Peter is also allowed to tell his side of the story, in a series of interviews he gives for his forthcoming biography. It’s a particularly clever device, as allowing the reader to see the interviewer’s reactions to his subject’s claims denies him the chance of being an unreliable narrator.
The ugly side of success
As the story develops, it becomes clear that fame and fortune is not what it is cracked up to be. In the public eye since she was a young teen, Melanie’s every move has been scrutinised, her appearance commented on, her relationships dissected by a public ever hungry for more.
It’s the ugly side of success – and, as even Nell admits, Melanie can’t always handle it. For every compliment she receives, there are 10 insults, while the press rarely tell the whole truth about incidents that could be wholly innocent.
Meanwhile, in her private life, she has to deal with a controlling father, a cold and envious sister, and ultimately a husband who betrays her in all ways.
Throughout it all, she remains a sympathetic character, kind, generous and caring, according to her friends. She never wanted fame, but she can’t escape it. No wonder she occasionally implodes.
I don’t think there is one negative thing I could say about this book. The plot is thrilling, the characters are convincing and the way the story is told is modern, fast-paced and slick.
But what I liked most was that it invited me, the reader, to decide what is the “ugly truth” about Melanie’s situation.
Is it the real story of her troubled life? Is it a case of deciding if I’d support #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter.
Or is it the expose of Social Media, of keyboard warriors spewing venom in the safe knowledge of their anonymity, of people who will do anything to sell pictures and papers, of fame-hungry wannabes who will betray their friends?
The plot comes to a definitive conclusion, but The Ugly Truth is a story that raises as many question as answers, that really need to be addressed if we’re to make the world a kinder, safer place for everyone.
The Ugly Truth by LC North is published by Bantam Press in hardback and ebook
About the Author
L.C. North is the pen name of Lauren North. She studied psychology at university before pursuing a career in Public Relations. Her first book club thriller – The Ugly Truth – combines her love of psychology and her fascination with the celebrities in the public eye. She is currently working on her second novel, and when she’s not writing, she co-hosts the crime thriller podcast, In Suspense.
L.C. North lives on the Suffolk borders with her family.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Transworld for the copy of the book
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster