Explore the Hidden Fears that Make Us Human in ‘Beautiful Bad’ [REVIEW]

A kiss

How could the perfect marriage go so horribly wrong? (Photo by Vee, Flickr)

There are so many things that make Maddie afraid. And yet, that isn’t the face she shows to the public. Most people look at her husband and child and think she has the perfect life. Yet perfection is usually only in the eye of the beholder. After all, even the most precious gems are liable to crack under the right amount of pressure. Find out what makes Maddie go off the rails in Annie Ward’s Beautiful Bad. 


Park Row Books

When Maddie first met her husband Ian at a party nearly 20 years ago, it didn’t take long for a romance to blossom between the intrepid travel writer and the handsome British soldier. Even now, all these years later, they seem perfect for each other and live a seemingly idyllic life in suburban Kansas with their beautiful son, Charlie.

Then everything changes. Maddie is seriously injured and badly scarred while on a camping trip and suddenly she finds herself attending writing therapy and pouring out all her secret fears: relating everything from how Ian’s PTSD affects their marriage to her paranoia about her young son’s safety, and even how her tumultuous friendship with a woman named Jo has affected all of them over the years.

In a story that spans the globe and 16 years of fear and adventure, suspicion and love, Beautiful Bad is a riveting thriller that examines the duality within all of us and demonstrates how any one of our lives could culminate in one shocking crime.

Thoughtful and complex, Beautiful Bad is one of those novels that keeps readers guessing. It proves that none of us are one-dimensional, but we all deal with fear and loss and more than a little doubt. In essence, we’re all flawed, and that is definitely true of each and every character in this book. It makes for a rich reading experience which pulls us deep within the lives many of us keep hidden, lives which are by turns inspiring and terrifying. Lives that simply make us human.

Told from various points of view, this story bounces through time and across continents, and if this is a stylistic choice that makes you antsy, you may want to skip this novel. Also, this story addresses some seriously difficult topics, including war, genocide, and other violent acts and how they transform the human psyche. If you are looking for lighter fare and a sweet Hallmark-style romance, keep going too. That isn’t what you’re going to find here. However, if you enjoy exploring what shapes and motivates people, how they deal with perilous circumstances and life-changing grief, this is a tale that could very well keep you turning pages until you reach the shattering, explosive climax which is packed full of twists, turns, and more than a few nail-biting revelations.

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Annie Ward

Annie Ward
(Photo by Josiah Richards)


Annie Ward has a BA in English literature from UCLA and an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott, was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival.

She has received a Fulbright Scholarship and an Escape to Create artist residency. She lives in Kansas with her family. To find out more about Annie, visit her home on the Web at Annie-Ward.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Annie Ward
368 pp. Park Row Books. $26.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase Beautiful Bad at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Harlequin, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

Beautiful Bad is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to Explore the Hidden Fears that Make Us Human in ‘Beautiful Bad’ [REVIEW]

  1. Sara Strand says:

    This sounds like it has some grit to it! Thanks for being on the tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Annie Ward, author of BEAUTIFUL BAD, on tour February/March 2019 | TLC Book Tours

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