Advantages Well written, good characters, interesting themes
Disadvantages So sad and depressing
I recently got some vouchers from my lovely fiance to treat myself with, and I immediately knew that I would have to get myself some new books with them, especially as I had about 5 new summer chick-lit reads on my Amazon wishlist which were all released in the past few weeks! So I shot down to Waterstones and grabbed 4 of my favourites, one of them being "Goodnight, Beautiful" by Dorothy Koomson, an author I have read and loved before.Nova and Mal have been best friends since, well, forever really. They grew up together and Nova thought they'd end up together as well. But when Mal met Stephanie, he fell in love and married her. The couple have a big favour to ask Nova - will she have a baby for them? Nova agrees but when the couple suddenly decide they don't want their baby anymore, Nova is left feeling frightened, alone and unsure she can be a single mother. Flicking from the past to the present day, Nova's son's life hangs in the balance, and so does Mal and Stephanie's marriage. Can both survive?
The blurb in itself suggests that this is going to be an emotional read, as are all of Dorothy Koomson's novels. The main idea focuses on the issue of surrogacy, which isn't an issue I've ever read about in a fictional book before. Surrogacy is something I know I could never do, I couldn't grow a baby only to give it away the end and this theme is well-explored by Koomson, showing us Nova's thoughts about the idea and how she comes to the decisions she eventually reaches. But the most important part of the surrogacy issue in this book is how it changes the relationships of those involved, right from finding out the surrogate mother is pregnant to the birth of the baby, and beyond.I found the way that Koomson approached the whole issue was delicately done, and this really is a credit to her writing skill and indeed style. The whole background for the story was so well done that it really wasn't a shock to read about, and nothing too graphic was written about, the idea of the surrogacy really focussed on Nova and Mal's relationship, and the effect the surrogacy had on Stephanie, the outsider. Koomson really has a skill for writing well developed relationships between characters, and this was really a great element of the book. Koomson really knows how to engage her readers with an emotional storyline which has you hooked in minutes, and leaving you not able to put the book down again until its finished!
The characters themselves were very interesting too, with the main 2 characters of Nova and Mal being very detailed in background, emotion and story. The book flips between the present day and the past, right back to the childhood of the pair, and this allows you to get into the minds of both, particularly Nova as she is the storyteller for most of the book, and allows you to build up in your mind why things in the future (i.e. present day in the book) happen as they do. Mal's wife Stephanie was clearly meant to be the evil outsider, and right from the off I really didn't like her.
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