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Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson

Goodnight, Beautiful

by Dorothy Koomson

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This story is told in a mixture of past and present, skipping backwards and forwards in time. It’s partly narrated by Nova, whose son Leo (as we learn in the preface) is on life support in hospital, and partly by an unpleasant woman of similar age called Stephanie. Their link is that Stephanie is married to Mal, who was Nova’s best friend right the way through childhood.

Unfortunately, the blurb on the back basically summarises the first two-thirds of the book and I made the mistake of reading it after I found myself getting more and more confused about who was whom, and where Leo fit into the picture. Even knowing the ‘secret’, and some of what was coming, it was quite gripping.. at least, to start with. The plotting and chronology are meticulously organised; the various revelations (albeit with spoilers in the blurb) coming at just the right moments.

However, none of the characters really grabbed me. I felt some sympathy for Nova, but it was often difficult to distinguish her voice from Stephanie’s. The two husbands were even more shadowy, with Mal a very confusing person whom I never quite believed in. I found it a bit annoying that there were no headings to indicate who was narrating, or what year we were in; with the time leaping about and random switches between Nova and Stephanie, I often had to read a page before I knew who was speaking and when.

There are certainly some thought-provoking issues covered in this book, and the writing style is excellent; but the story was rather unremittingly negative, and I thought the ending was unnecessarily unpleasant. The novel is billed as a tear-jerker and I can see why. It’s the kind of topic which should have had me in floods of tears; yet I remained dry-eyed. Perhaps this is because I had no rapport with any of the main characters.

Still, I am in awe at the complexity of the plotting; perhaps three and a half stars would be fairer. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Heart wrenching and emotional book. I would never have thought so but even I got a lump in my throat reading this, not from the beginning but the story builds and you can not escape it. Written beautifully. ( )
  Ingstje | Jan 18, 2016 |
I cannot breathe after reading this book, my nose is stuffy, my head hurts! Why do people write books like this? Why do I read them?

Seriously, this is painful on a slew of levels.

I'm angry with the ending, I don't expect that it would be a HEA, but shit! To have a second chance at being a parent and to be robbed of it; don't like that. Oh yeah, Stephanie should get punched in the face and Mal needs to grow a fucking pair. ( )
  mearias | Sep 23, 2013 |
Wow. What a book. I was really enjoying this story and I think I enjoyed it so much more than maybe others because i did not know what this book was about. Had not read the back so I was very surprised and wondered what had happened.
Thought this was very different than the other books I'd read. Not all sweet and nice. There was one moment though that really pissed me off.

When he did this to her, Mal, and she finally speaks to him, he then asks her to make love? WTH! Totally ridiculous and believable and then shge was even contemplating it? Come one and later they did have sex just to forget the pain for a moment. Sorry that part was stupid.

I did like that it did not have a happy end although i would have loved to see Stephanie go through a bit more abuse from .. and the same for Mal. What they did was disgusting and appalling and here is Nova, just forgiving them? sure. Also that her fmaily does not ask any questions, well only at the start why she and Mal don't speak to each other for 7 years, weird.

great book. This was the second book I'd read by this author. First one was The Chocolate Run and I have Marshmallows for Breakfast on my TBR pile. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Apr 12, 2013 |
I found the writing style was similar to Rosamund Lupton's in that the plot worked backwards from almost the end event to how the story got to its ending. Beautifully written, keeping the reader interested with a sound plot and great characters. Whether you loved Nova or hated Stephanie, you were given good reason to make your own character judgements. I would recommend this book to everyone and I can't wait to read more from Ms Koomson. ( )
  booketta | Aug 22, 2012 |
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Nova Kumalisi would do anything for her closest friend, Mal Wacken. She owes him her life. So, when he asked her to be the surrogate mother for him and his wife, in spite of her fears about how it would alter their friendship, Nova agreed. Eight years later, Nova is bringing up their son alone, and she and Mal don't speak.… (more)

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