Ann Napolitano’s upcoming novel, “Hello Beautiful,” has been highly anticipated by several reputable sources, including Elle, Books-A-Million, Today, The Week, Apartment Therapy, Goodreads, Lit Hub, and others, for its release in March 2023 under the Dial Press. The success of her previous novel, “Dear Edward,” published in January 2020, instantly became a New York Times bestseller. Napolitano is also the author of two other novels, “A Good Hard Look” and “Within Arm’s Reach.” Previously, she served as the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine from 2014 to 2020. Napolitano received an MFA from New York University and has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Gotham Writers’ Workshop. In November 2019, she was long-listed for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize.
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Hello Beautiful Description:
William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him. So it’s a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. With Julia comes her family; she is inseparable from her three younger sisters: Sylvie, the dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book and imagines a future different from the expected path of wife and mother; Cecelia, the family’s artist; and Emeline, who patiently takes care of all of them. Happily, the Padavanos fold Julia’s new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household.
But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future but the sisters’ unshakeable loyalty to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?
Vibrating with tenderness, Hello Beautiful is a gorgeous, profoundly moving portrait of what’s possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.
Hello Beautiful’s short summary:
Prepare to be moved to your core by this gripping family saga. The characters in this novel are so beautifully fleshed out that you’ll feel like they’re old friends of yours. With references to “Little Women,” you’ll easily connect with the story and the intricacies of the Padavona family’s dynamic.
Growing up in a Catholic household, the Padavona sisters – Julia, Sylvia, Cecilia, and Emeline – have similarities to the March sisters. Julia is a go-getter and motherly figure to her younger siblings, while Sylvia is a romantic who dreams of being swept off her feet. Cecilia is determined and stubborn, and Emeline is the family nurturer.
William, a shy and introverted young man, is drawn into the Padavona family when Julia chooses him as her future husband. His own family has neglected him, leaving him with a deep longing for connection. When he’s accepted into the Padavona clan, he finds the love and support he’s always craved.
But as the family faces a scandal and a tragedy, tensions run high, testing the sisters’ bonds and priorities. And when Julia’s controlling nature clashes with unexpected twists of fate, the family’s tight-knit dynamic is put to the ultimate test.
With its three-dimensional characters and heart-wrenching plot, this family saga will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
Review of the book in a simple way:
Get ready to embark on an emotional rollercoaster with this thought-provoking novel. The tone of the book is dark and sometimes heartbreaking, but the realistic portrayal of the characters will make you feel connected to them. Each character’s unique point of view adds another layer of depth to the story, speaking directly to your soul.
Some characters’ selfish choices may leave you feeling angry, while others’ stubbornness can be frustrating as they hold themselves back from happiness when time is of the essence. But these behaviors are unfortunately all too realistic, and you may find yourself recognizing similar traits in people you know.
The ending of the book is incredibly emotional, and be prepared to shed some tears. You’ll want to savor each character’s story, not wanting the book to end. And if given the opportunity to read about the granddaughters’ stories, you’ll eagerly accept.
In short, this book is truly magnificent and deserves more than a mere four-star rating. It’s a must-read that will leave you feeling emotionally invested long after you’ve finished the final chapter.
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