Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Living Lies
Harbored Secrets Book #1
BY Natalie Walters

May 21, 2019/ ISBN 9780800735326
Romantic Suspense / Military

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Living Lies by Natalie Walters brings to life the characters with an emotionally charged story. With thrilling suspense, threads of romance, and important messages about removing the stigma of mental health and depression, this book seems to have it all, including an action-packed crime mystery.

“At the time I was thinking of the story, our daughter was suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts, and cutting. We never thought we would have to experience something like this in our lives. Writing this book became therapy for me. I pulled and drew upon from what was happening to our family and hopefully made it authentic to the story. Regarding the heroine’s father, I based him on the mixed feedback we got from friends and family. Through her father, I wanted to show how it is a struggle for a lot of people to deal with depression. They need to learn they need patience instead of narrow mindedness. I had him transition as he recognizes that it is a treatable disease.”

The crime revolves around murder, drugs, art, and dealing with mental health issues. Lane Walton, a widower at the age of twenty-eight, journeys back to her hometown in hopes of a new start for herself and her young son, Noah. The small Southern town of Walton, Georgia, would seem like the place to begin again. She is hopeful she can overcome her depression and to find acceptance. But life gets in the way, which happens after Lane discovers a dead woman. Needing to work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder, Lane hopes that saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Struggling with depression, she wishes the illness will not define her. Although depression affects countless people, there is also a stigma surrounding it, in which many people suffer in silence. Her family's lack of understanding isolates her further, making it harder for her to overcome the feeling that she is flawed. It's a battle that often occurs daily and can be triggered unexpectedly. This is why she can connect with a Viet Nam veteran, Miguel Roa, who is also suffering, but from PTSD. Also very potent is how readers share their journey and experiences and are reminded how unfairly Viet Nam veterans were treated when they returned.

“What I want readers to get out of the books is an entertaining story with a good mystery. I want to remind those who might be suffering from depression or anxiety that they are not alone. They are seen and have a purpose, a reason to fight and live. My daughter did not want to tell anyone because she did not want to be a burden. But no one should have to struggle by themselves. Everyone has to be open, honest, and compassionate. The reality is that many of us do not have perfect lives. I hope this story stays with readers long after they finished the book.”
This story has no shortage of action intertwined with messages about PTSD and depression. Readers will understand the harsh realities of life in this nail-biting crime novel.

Reviewed 2019