Originally reviewed on These Pretty Words.This review is a really tough one for me. I should warn you readers in advance – my feelings about this book run the gamut, so you'll need to grant me a bit of leeway here.The Secret of Lies starts out with the main character, Stevie, leaving her husband in an emotional mess. The summary is clear on this; she leaves and ends up in a hotel remembering a summer from her youth. That much I got through and enjoyed.As soon as we readers were brought back in time to the years leading up to the horrific event that forever changed our main character I started noticing problems. The characters were sometimes almost intentionally clueless, the time jumping was unclear and confusing, and the overall arc of the story was slow to build. Some chapters completely sucked me in and made me want to try and finish the book in one sitting while others left me scratching my head and almost skimming bits.That being said, I really enjoyed Barbara's writing style. Her words flowed well and her descriptions were bright and clear without bogging down the reader. This isn't a book whose summary or cover art grabs my attention and begs me to read it, yet I'm so glad I picked it up and made it through the (too long) novel. True, there were some insanely long sentences in the book, the pacing was very stop and go, and a couple time-flow issues forced me to go back and reread parts, but overall the writing was engaging and something about the main character made me want to see how her life played out. I don't see this being an extremely popular book (though I have a few friends I think would really enjoy it) but I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Barbara's work. Something about her writing style spoke to me and, with the help of a better editor, I think she has real potential to write something absolutely fantastic.