Thank you for sending me this lovely book. Quite honestly, I don’t know why it hasn’t been snapped up by a mainstream publisher. I have just finished ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ (2 million copies sold), but I enjoyed ‘Beautiful Things’ more. It’s warmer, more human and believable. It contains valuable insights into mental health issues. In my opinion it would reach more people. The differences between the two are probably that Eleanor Oliphant gets you in immediately, it’s a bit quirky, but is not as good in the second half, whereas Beautiful Things starts simply and becomes compelling later on, like an emotional thriller that rushes towards its end.
The author is a very good writer. The book is beautifully written and well edited. There are a few minor punctuation and point-of-view inconsistencies. That’s about all.
Beautiful Things is a compelling and readable novel set in the highlands of Scotland about a runaway child and the woman who befriends her.
Kate Rae is an artist. Previously a well-paid professional, she suffers from bipolar mood disorder and has been on the road for six months creating art that decorates the landscape, none of which she intends to keep. She has calmly planned to kill herself in two months when her money runs out.
Grace, whose real name is Amy McHugh, is twelve the night that Kate picks her up by the roadside. Grace has a dark past that is reflected in her behaviour. Amidst the stunning scenery of northwest Scotland, she and Kate grow in their relationship and in self-knowledge. With the spectre of mental illness and suicide hanging over them, this is neither as cosy nor as simple as it sounds.
‘Grace, look upon yourself as my last project, my final little beautiful gift left by the shore side to delight someone with. Indeed perhaps the only project I'll do that doesn't fade away.’
Enter Alex, a photographer who has met Kate through her art and the outpourings of her heart on her blog. Kate ‘had been happy when she could think of her followers as abstract concepts. Now this had all been ruined by actually meeting one of them.’ When all Kate had wanted was to remain invisible, Alex challenges many of her preconceptions. Then, to Kate's mounting unease, Grace decides to play matchmaker.
It is not until Kate nearly perishes by accident yet still strives to live that Alex is able to impress upon her that if ‘human life [is] sufficiently valuable, sufficiently irretrievable if lost, that you'd gamble on any sort of odds to hang on to it [then] there is reasonable doubt that you actually want to do this.’
is an exquisite novel that deserves to be widely known and read with pleasure.
It is written in a fluid style, very well paced, and the darker themes are not
hurried, but introduced when the characters are sufficiently well-established
for us to care about them. The author’s understanding of human nature in all
its glory, despair and conundrum is a privilege to read.
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In : Book Reviews
Tags: eloise-kelly fiction womens-fiction drama human-interest relationship mental-health suicide scotland