12 May 2014

Book Review: Beautiful Day by Kate Anthony

"Rachel is looking for her beautiful day. She's worried about everything: being a good mother, money and starting a new job. 

Philip is a lost soul in the world and he could do with a friend. 

They are just about to meet and when they do everything will change. Rachel and Philip don't know it yet, but they each have what the other needs. They can save one another, and not in the way you might expect.

This is a story about finding happiness and love in all their forms. And how sometimes you can find them in the most unlikely of places."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Beautiful Day as a paperback or an eBook now.

Occasionally I am asked to review books which have never been on my radar before I have received the email about them. Kate Anthony's debut novel Beautiful Day was one such book. I hadn't heard anything about it, read anything but somehow the story sounded like something I might enjoy, and was a bit of a different read for me. I decided to give it a try - the cover was stunning, and the story sounded quite emotive too, and as you know I do enjoy finding debut authors to rave about!

Rachel is a single mother, trying to get over her marriage break-up as best as she can. She's managed to find herself a job working in a residential home for adults with learning difficulties, some of them quite severe. Her relationship with her children is somewhat strained now, and her ex-husband is happily shacked up with his much younger woman. Whilst at work, Rachel meets Philip, a bit of a lost soul at the centre. She sees something in Philip and realises that the pair can help each other, and can be friends. Rachel might be able to help Philip in his life, but perhaps there is something that quiet man can do for her too. Will Philip or Rachel be able to find their beautiful day?

Whilst I had anticipated the book being a bit of a romance, I couldn't have been more wrong. This story is about human relationships, and the connections that we have with each other that can affect us deeply. Philip and Rachel's slowly building friendship is touching, and a joy to read. Philip is really quite helpless after the death of his mother, unable to look after himself with the basics of life such as washing and brushing his own teeth. Rachel is assigned to be his key worker, and here we see the two begin to interact, learn about each other and also to trust each other, especially Philip allowing Rachel to help him in his life. While her relationships at home are floundering, her ones at work are growing stronger, and it makes Rachel a brighter, and bolder person.

The relationship she has with her ex-husband Dom is strained. He's very rude to her, patronising and clearly doesn't have a clue about exactly what it is she has to do day in, day out.  She tries to get along with him for the sake of their children, but it's clear the pair cannot get on, and I'm sure many women will be able to relate to their relationship, I know I can. However, her bond with her boss Rob is sweet, I was hoping for a bit of happiness for Rachel there as he seemed a nice guy and the pair got along so well. He also encouraged Rachel to stand up for herself more, and when a serious situation arose at the care home, the two really came into their own and it was nice to see them both have a bit of fire in their bellies about something! I can't Rachel is hugely likeable, she shouts at her young kids a lot, she seems very miserable a lot of the time, but that's of course due to her circumstances.

The book shows us the brutal breakdown of a marriage - how it affects not just the separated adults but the children being torn between their two parents as well. The storyline involving Rachel and Dom's son was just heart-breaking, and I did struggle to read that at times, it's a harsh reality of how difficult children can find divorce. The book also touches on some tricky scenarios at the care home, showing how careful the staff have to be in that line of work, and the pressures that they are under too. It's a very real book, full of hard hitting stories and emotion, and one that I very much enjoyed reading. Yes, Rachel isn't hugely likeable but you can't help but empathise with her, and her situation, and she doesn't shy away from telling us how much she is struggling. Anthony's writing is a joy to read, written in the first person from Rachel's point of view, it works perfectly with this narrator as we really get to know Rachel's innermost thoughts and turmoils. A very poignant and realistic story, with a lot of warmth and love at its heart - a strong debut novel, and I look forward to more from Kate Anthony.

Thanks to Penguin for the review copy.


  1. Today is my birthday and this review has ensured it is a very happy one! Thank you so much Chloe for taking the time to read the book and for writing such a thoughtful and positive review.

  2. Love the cover too! Cheers from Carole's Chatter