What’s it all about?:
The addictive and emotive new novel from Katie Marsh, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Jodi Picoult.
‘I lived over half my life before I met you both, and I hope with all my heart to live many years more. You two are the reason why. Always, always the reason why.’
Abi Cooper is living her happy ending. She’s in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance. But during Abi’s illness her family has fallen apart. Her husband John has made decisions that are about to come back to haunt him, while her teenage son Seb is battling with a secret of his own.
Set to the songs on Abi’s survival playlist, This Beautiful Life is the moving and uplifting story of what happens as Abi tries to put her family back together – and of why life, and love, are worth fighting for.
What did I think?:
Thank you so much to the lovely people at Hodder and Stoughton publishers for sending me a copy of this moving, heart-breaking novel by Katie Marsh in return for an honest review. I went into this book completely new to the author but as the story deals with the big “C,” I fully expected some tears before bedtime. However, I was very surprised to discover that whilst This Beautiful Life does have its fair share of sorrow it also comes with such an uplifting message of hope, love and the importance of a strong family/friendship network and, as a result it was a wonderful reading experience.
Our protagonist is Abi Cooper, in her late thirties and has recently gone through a gruelling round of chemotherapy to attempt to fight her recently diagnosed bowel cancer. It’s been a long, often painful and always frightening road for her, her husband John and their teenage son Seb and whilst she recovers physically, she is desperate for her family life to return to normal. However, things aren’t that simple. Both John and Seb are battling with things that they have hidden from in order to protect her and when certain things are revealed, their world is turned upside down. Abi has always prided herself on her strong relationship with both her husband and her son and the fact that they can talk to each other about anything and everything. Yet what happens to a family when the walls of communication are destroyed and there seems to be little left to fight for?
This is such a powerful story made even more emotional and poignant by the inclusion of Abi’s survival playlist of songs. Interspersed between the chapters are the titles of each song and a short paragraph about why it means to much to Abi and whom it is dedicated to. I loved the musical addition to the narrative and often had the lyrics going round my head as I was reading, it made the whole experience so much more immersive and incredibly moving to say the least. Additionally, the characters are fantastic and hugely readable – I enjoyed the fact they had flaws and were not “picture perfect,” least of all Abi herself who is fully aware of the mistakes that she makes/has made and has to atone for. It’s safe to say this story and the characters definitely got under my skin and I will be looking out for more books by this author in the future. Aaaargh, that ending though Katie Marsh? I really really wanted to know what happened next!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):