The Ugly Truth by L.C. North

It’s far, far too long since L.C. North appeared on Linda’s Book Bag. Then I was reviewing her book The Perfect Betrayal in a post you’ll find here.

I last caught up with L.C. North in Harrogate in July 2022 when I was thrilled to receive a very early copy of Lauren’s latest book The Ugly Truth. It’s a real pleasure to share my review of The Ugly Truth today.

Published tomorrow, 16th March 2023 by Penguin’s Bantam imprint, The Ugly Truth is available for purchase through the links here.

The Ugly Truth

Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?


My Review of The Ugly Truth

Melanie Lange is missing.

Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting! I had anticipated that The Ugly Truth would be a normal (if normal can be applied to the genre) psychological thriller with a few twists along the way. I hadn’t expected such a cleverly structured book with the narrative told through interview, diary, a documentary and social media in ways that both appal and engage the reader. The way information is drip fed is very cleverly done because it makes you change your mind as you read.

Certainly The Ugly Truth is about family dynamics, control and relationships, but it is so much wider. What L.C. North does is to place the reader into a position they may well take in their normal lives, and illustrates just how much we are manipulated by social media, how easily we form opinion without the full facts and how vulnerable we are to having our own certainties altered and undermined by people we’ve never met. I found this theme nastily unsettling and totally plausible, making for a gripping read. 

The newspaper headlines, the hashtags and the opinions given with total disregard for empirical basis in The Ugly Truth are a salutary and disturbing example of what life must be like for those in the public eye. Whilst I was never quite certain if I liked Melanie as a person, I felt that wasn’t the point. How I might feel about any of the characters was immaterial. Instead, I was being drawn into a situation that made me question myself as much as Peter or Melanie. The different points of view created a maelstrom of response in me as a reader so that for much of the book I wasn’t quite sure whether I was on the side of #SaveMelanie or #HelpPeter and by the end of the book I was no nearer deciding!

Themes of guilt, identity, loyalty and trust and of the reasons why people behave as they do give The Ugly Truth added depth. There’s an almost Shakespearean understanding of how anyone, or, indeed, everyone can impact another person’s life. I’d love to see The Ugly Truth as part of the secondary school curriculum or as part of police training as it raises more questions than it answers and provides a rich seam of ideology that inspires debate.

I think The Ugly Truth might divide readers because it leaves them feeling uncomfortable and somehow complicit in a rather unsavoury world. I found it a fascinating, compelling and disturbing book. The Ugly Truth is a bit like the literary equivalent of dropping a pebble in a pond and watching how the rings reverberate across the surface. Be prepared to have your ideologies and beliefs challenged if you read it and I recommend that you do.

About L.C. North

L.C. North 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. L.C. North 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. L.C. North is the pen name of Lauren North.

For further information, visit Lauren’s website or you can follow Lauren on Twitter @Lauren_C_North and find her on Facebook and Instagram.

4 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth by L.C. North

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