#BookReview – This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh @Marshisms @HodderBooks

this beautiful lifeThe 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. 

Published 10th August 2017 by Hodder and Stoughton (UK)  

Firstly- how gorgeous is that cover? It was those stunning colours that first caught my eye with this book – it’s just so damn pretty! But then, after reading the blurb I knew I really wanted to read it. I’m an emotional person and this book promised a moving journey with a story and characters whom readers will completely connect with.

This Beautiful Life’s emotional impact comes from it’s simplicity really. There’s no big twists or revelations designed to pack a punch. Abi has already suffered the devastating news she has cancer when we meet her, already fought the battle of her life. The emotional impact comes from the normality of life carrying on, the rawness and fragility of continuing ups and downs – especially downs for people who don’t deserve them. It’s the admiration of a woman who continues to find strength to face life’s hurdles head on despite not having the happy ever after she continues to hope for.  It’s emotional because it is so absolutely real.

The book is told over a year, with the chapters separated into months and then with alternating narratives from Abi herself and her seventeen year old son Seb. I loved the way this story was told. There’s a real sense of a passage of time and with Seb’s voice, a depth and added perspective which allows the reader to see the family dynamic as a whole. I think Katie Marsh’s characters are among some of the most real and relatable I’ve come across. But what I really liked was the bonds between this family which even when things become fractious, shine through and captured my heart.

This Beautiful Life is brutally honest as Abi faces her first year cancer free. People get ill and need support, but the reality is bills still have to be paid, children still have their own struggles with growing up and their identity, parents still get older. Life moves on relentlessly and there’s an unfairness to the impact of Abi’s illness on her family’s emotional and financial wellbeing. Yet this is an uplifting book, filled with optimism and love, and it’s the small, subtle and beautiful moments that really had me welling up.  Marsh’s writing is genuine and moving and I easily got caught up in Abi’s story. A honest, emotional and quietly powerful book which will stay with me for a long time.

(I read an advance copy courtesy of the publisher)



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