Today is my stop on the blog tour for Lies Behind The Ruin by Helen Matthews – a brand new, contemporary suspense novel set in France. Here’s my review – and remember to read on for the chance to win a paperback copy!
About the book
Emma Willshire has overcome plenty of obstacles in her life, from student bride to single mum of a son, Owen, but she has found happiness with her second husband, Paul and another child, Mollie. Emma’s dark days seem far behind her until a fatal accident happens at Paul’s work and he is held responsible.
On holiday in France, Paul’s behaviour turns erratic. On impulse, he buys a cheap, dilapidated property and, to Emma’s dismay, persuades her they can renovate it into a holiday home.
Back in England, their problems spiral out of control. Escape to a new life in France seems the only solution but with heart-breaking loss for Emma. As the couple strive to renovate their ruin and open a small business, shadows from the past threaten their happiness and safety. Because, how can you build a new life on toxic foundations?
I love books about old houses in idyllic locations filled with secrets so this was sure to appeal! Many of us dream about finding a tumbledown property in France to restore and I really enjoyed experiencing this with the characters but it’s also a reminder that we should be careful what we wish for. The tense domestic noir drama behind the lovely facade of a French holiday home really sets this book apart.
Les Quatre Vents is far from your dream French holiday home – more like a cow shed. It’s a long, low building (a longere) in crumbling stone, partly reclaimed by nature with a sagging roof, ivy-clad walls, a rotting front door and earth floor. So why is Paul so keen to buy it? Or is the truth that he wants to escape from trouble back home? Meanwhile, Emma faces pressure from her ex husband Zak who has no intention of letting Emma take their son Owen abroad. And the work accident turns out to be not the only complication in Paul’s life – which means someone’s out for revenge.
I loved the revelations and the brooding tension as the threat to the family’s happiness and safety grows. I tore through it to get to the end and find out what would happen – especially to one nasty individual. And what an ending!
This is such a brilliant read – I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good drama as well as a beautiful setting. You won’t regret it!
Win a copy
There are 2 x signed copies of Lies Behind The Ruins (Europe Only). Click to enter the Rafflecopter draw:
*Terms and Conditions –European entries welcome. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.
How to buy
Title: Lies Behind the Ruin
Author: Helen Matthews
Publisher: Hashtag Press
Number of print pages: 347
Lies Behind the Ruin is available from good book shops including Waterstones and WH Smith, and online from
About the author
Helen Matthews’ debut novel After Leaving the Village, published in 2017, won first prize for the opening pages of a novel at Winchester Writers’ Festival. Born in Cardiff, she read English at the University of Liverpool and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. Helen’s short stories and flash fiction have won prizes and been published in Reflex Fiction, Ad Hoc, Artificium, Scribble and Love Sunday. Her freelance journalism has been published in the Guardian and broadcast on BBC radio. She is an ambassador for Unseen, a charity that campaigns to end human trafficking and modern slavery.
Connect with Helen on
Don’t forget to visit other stops on the tour: