My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - over 2 days
Pages - 384
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Source - Publisher, review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
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.
Abi is in remission so everything should be perfect right? Wrong, her son is becoming more distant and moody, her husband John seems to be more focused on work than her and Abi doesn't know what to do. Each month has a song from Abi's playlist and what it means to her giving the book a beautiful unique voice that I haven't encountered in others with this theme.
The book largely centers around Abi and her son Seb, Seb has all the issues you would imagine as a teenager has and then some. We look at Abi adjusting to lift as a survivor and picking up the pieces, trying to get back to "normal" and then dealing with everything else that follows. Sometimes when you think things can't get any worse or life can't possibly throw anything else at you, it does. This Beautiful Life is a story of love, survival, relationships, everyday life, marital struggles, friendship, secrets, music and personal growth. It is an emotive read and I think certain parts will reach out to readers differently, striking chords and triggering tears galore. The beauty of this book is that whilst not every single issue/problem/event may be one we have experienced or dealt with, they are very relatable, I felt.
The chapters are relatively short making it easy to dip in and out as life dictates, I could have read it in one sitting if work hadn't gotten in the way. Marsh brings characters to life you immerse and become vested in. Some of the music choices were new to me, others lovely to hear again and with Abi's wee story to each gave it another light. This isn't my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a review copy.