Thursday, 4 February 2021

Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray


Just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves - soon there'll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery, and Amy's carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she'd lost still be hers for the taking?

I have just finished reading Everything is Beautiful which is the debut novel by Eleanor Ray and I am not sure where to start with my review other than to say it is an exquisite debut that already has me excited about future novels by this new author.

Our main character is Amy Ashton and she is such a gentle, kind hearted, quirky and slightly awkward character who every reader will want to wrap up in cotton wool from the minute they are introduced to her. There have been a few reviews I have seen comparing her to Eleanor Oliphant but personally I feel that Amy is so much more engaging and easier to connect with and certainly touched my heart.

Hoarding has always been a topic that has intrigued me and is something I think the majority of us do not understand but this novel shows how such a tragic situation which leaves you broken hearted, living in limbo and having no control can trigger hoarding to begin. What starts off as Amy holding onto treasured memories soon becomes out of hand and the frustration of those around her was easy to understand. The way the author explains through Amy what each object means to Amy, that she doesn’t actually see them as random objects but all things that have a life and a purpose and everything can be fixed was so well informed and actually made me understand more of why she had such a huge collection.

A new family move in next door to Amy and the friendship she involuntarily builds with the children, especially Charlie was really heart-warming and endearing. Amy has people around her who care for her well being from her neighbours to colleagues at work but she is an independent woman who she feels is in control.

I do not usually like the term a real page turner but this is actually really fitting for this book because I was so immersed in Amy’s life I was so disappointed each time I had to stop reading as I was desperate to keep turning the pages and find out more about what had actually happened to affect Amy and the intrigue and suspense was carried beautifully through the novel, my heart broke for her when everything was unravelled. It is hard to think of Amy as just a character as the author breathed so much life into her character she felt so lifelike which makes it hard to part with her now the novel has finished, I would love to be reunited with her in another book.

This really was an outstanding debut, the authors writing style flowed effortlessly and kept me engaged the whole time never giving a chance for my attention to waiver. This is definitely going to be a praiseworthy debut that will be shouted about everywhere.

You can purchase this book direct from the publishers by clicking here.

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