Hello Beautiful is a moving and engaging family drama. It s a story about families, relationships and the various ebbs and flows of life. It’s a modern-day take on Little Women.
The story revolves around the Padavano family, which consists of four sisters and their parents. And then there is William, who comes into their lives and marries Julia, the eldest daughter. The book highlights how we are the result of how we were raised. Though nature has a role to play, the nurture part is also critical.
William is the product of his parent’s upbringing, who are unable to love him recovering as they are from the death of their infant daughter. This deeply impacts William and scars him for life as he constantly fights depression.
The Padavano is a female-dominated household, but it isn’t that the father has no role to play. In his subtle and quiet way, he touches the lives of his four daughters: Julia, the go-getter; Sylvia, the bookish dreamer; Cecilia, the free-spirited artist and Emeline, the compassionate nurturer.
The story explores the various nuances of the relationship between the sisters and carries on to the next generation. Though all the sisters are different, their bond surfaces each time one of the girls is going through a crisis. The book is a reminder of how families always stick together. And although the bond between them is tested, finally, it is the love for each other that prevails.
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This book is expertly written; the characters are relatable and face challenging situations. The author brings the characters to life, beautifully portraying the complex layers of their relationships. The characters feel genuine, and you feel invested in their happiness and struggles as you read. The ending is heart-wrenching, but not in a dramatic way – it is authentic and profoundly affecting. I found the emotional impact of the ending to be particularly moving.
The story is focused mainly on Julia, Sylvia and William, but I feel the characters of the other two sisters could have been developed more.
Overall the book tells one of those stories which remain with you long after you have finished reading them, and that is because they touch a chord. Hello Beautiful, does that and more!
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The book is a 5/5 read. Ann Napolitano, while paying tribute to the classic, ensures the story stands on its own.