Oh I love Katie Marsh’s books and was terrified when I was offered This Beautiful Life for review and to be part of the paperback launch celebrations (come back tomorrow for those when I’ll have a fabulous guest post to share from Katie) because I was terrified it might not live up to expectations. It didn’t. It exceeded them as you’ll see in my review.
This Beautiful Life is published by Hodder and is available for purchase here.
This Beautiful Life
What happens when you get the second chance you never expected?
Abi is living her happy ending. She’s in remission and is ready to make the most of her second chance at life. 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 is the story of what happens next as Abi tries to rebuild her family. Can she bring the people she loves most in the world back together again… before it’s too late?
My Review of This Beautiful Life
Oh my goodness. What an emotional read. I loved every word of This Beautiful Life. I don’t want to write a review as I don’t feel I have the language to convey how it made me feel.
Katie Marsh has the ability to grab my heart in a tight fist and squeeze and squeeze until I’m not sure if I can bear to read on. Having loved her other books, I think this might well be the best yet.
I want to say so much more about the plot of This Beautiful Life than I can because I don’t want to spoil the story for other readers. Just know that the events that take place could happen to any family at any time and that you will live through them with as much involvement as do Abi, John and Seb. Their relationship is at the heart of the story so that whilst this is a book with cancer as a catalyst, it is also a book about those who love one another not always being able to do the best by those they love. My heart went out to absolutely every person in this story, even the most minor characters because I felt I knew them intimately and I cared so utterly deeply about what happened to them.
The way in which Abi’s first person letter to those she loves intersperses the third person narrative is completely poignant. After I’d read the whole story I went back and read the letter entries again and they affected me just as emotionally. However, that isn’t to say that This Beautiful Life is unremittingly sad. Katie Marsh has that deftness of touch that enables her to make her readers smile as well as cry. Her writing is amongst the most human and humane that I’ve read. She deals with themes that can impact on any of us with grace, conviction and stunning realism so that, having finished reading This Beautiful Life a while ago, it resonates through my days and dreams even now.
The playlist of songs that weaves through the story is crucial in the creation of the various emotions and so effectively written. It has made me want to create my own life’s playlist too as Katie Marsh shows us the power of music to move us and indeed to make us who we are.
I don’t feel my review has done justice to This Beautiful Life so let me just say it is a wonderful, wonderful book. Read it.
About Katie Marsh
Katie lives in south-west London with her family. Before being published she worked in healthcare, and her novels are inspired by the bravery of the people she met in hospitals and clinics across the country. Her first novel My Everything (available here) was picked by the Evening Standard as one of the hottest summer debuts of 2015.
She loves strong coffee, the feel of a blank page and stealing her husband’s toast. When not writing, she spends her time in local parks trying and failing to keep up with her daughter’s scooter.