Publisher: Penguin (10 April 2014)
Beautiful day is Kate Anthony’s poignant and heart warming debut novel.
Today is the day that things are going to change for Rachel Bidewell.
She will walk through the doors of Clifton Avenue Care Home and start a new life.
Rachel is returning to work. And as she discovers, juggling a new job, three children and an ex husband can feel like drowning.
Someone needs to throw her a lifeline…
Philip doesn’t seem like an obvious lifesaver. He has just lost the one person who ever cared for him and, even as an adult, he doesn’t know how to live in the real world.
But might Philip and Rachel each have something the other needs?
This is a story of unexpected friendship; of the messy, muddy territory of those broken by life – and what it takes to fix them. It reminds us that the very darkest of days can be funny, heart-warming and even beautiful.
Rachel finds hope in the places she least expects in Kate Anthony’s stunning first novel, Beautiful Day.
There are several themes in Beautiful Day. Unconditional regard we have for those vulnerable members of our society, unconditional love we have for our children, the love in a relationship and those in a position of power who abuse it … and all are capable of bringing us pain and heartbreak but also pushing us to be the best that we can be.
Kate Anthony’s writing is heart-breaking – it is so real. I found myself so into the story that Rachel’s life became my own (even though I haven’t experienced a break-up with children involved).
Denise, the manager of the care home, is the character we all love to hate. I couldn’t find any reason for her to take Rachel away from being Philip’s key worker and when we find out just what she’s up to, I was so angry! and RebeccaClassRep … I’m sure we’ve all come across a similar person when our children were at school.
It is obvious the author has experience of working within the care home setting. Every character (and their needs) we meet felt so real. Even though Rachel is new at her job, her fundamental understanding of Philip meant at one point in the story that she was able to rescue him from something that could have turned out completely differently.
The conflict at work is almost as painful as the conflict of a separated family. The pain of eldest Alec, of trying to do what he thinks everyone else wants, wanting one thing but also wanting another, not sure of his foundations in life anymore, was stomach clenching. The pain of both parents only wanting the best outcome for their children, not even sure what that is anymore.
The letter Rachel writes (but doesn’t send) to Deborah holds many truths and it was obviously a healing for Rachel. I enjoyed seeing her come to terms with her break up – from that mother trying to function on very little sleep and having to get the children to school with all the disasters taking place and trying to hold your temper in check but failing, to the woman who is energised and coping with everything that comes her way … and of course hope for the future!
The ending was superb and just perfect.
This debut really touched my emotions as a mother, a wife and a person. For that reason it’s on my ‘keepers’ list.
I would like to thank the Real Readers programme for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Tweet with the author @KateLAnthony