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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Hello Beautiful

Narrator: Maura Tierney

Random House Audio

ISBN: 9780593243732

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 03/14/2023

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward comes a poignant and engrossing family story that asks: Can love make a broken person whole?

“Hello Beautiful is exactly that: beautiful, perceptive, wistful. It’s a story of family and friendship, of how the people we are bound to can also set us free. I loved it.”—Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace

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 when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion 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?

An exquisite homage to Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic, Little Women, Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.

My Review

Master storyteller Ann Napolitano returns following Dear Edwardwith HELLO BEAUTIFUL —an emotional, deeply felt character-driven tale of love, family, and the ties that bind.

In a unique take on Little Women (a favorite of mine as a girl), we meet William Waters. You will care about him and root for him.

He grows up with no memory of his sister, Caroline, a lovable redhead who died at age three when he was only six days old. She developed a fever and cough after his birth and they found her dead in her crib.

Residing in Boston, of course, he only remembers her due to how his parents treated him. His parents were emotionally distant from him and unavailable.

William finds solace in the sport of basketball. He is good at it and earned a scholarship to Northwestern. This starts a new life for him in Chicago. His parents were never supportive.

He is insecure even though he is a basketball star. He suffers a knee injury and feels like he has lost his purpose.

Four months into college, William found himself with his first girlfriend and a new family.

He starts dating a fellow student, Julia Padavano, and adores her family and three younger sisters. She has decided that William will become her husband and a Professor and that she will provide him with the love and family he never had.

A family is something that is foreign to him, and he yearns for this type of relationship.


Sylvie a romantic searching for great love. A dreamer who loves books.

Cecelia, an inspiring artist (gets pregnant), and her quiet twin, Emeline, works at a daycare and has a crush on a co-worker. She takes care of everyone. They all welcome William into the fold.

The father, a paper factory worker, Charlie, and Rose, a gardening mother, wants to see all the girls attend college. He and Julia wind up getting married.

Told from POVs: Julia, Sylvie, William, and Alice (their daughter).

An unexpected family scandal and a tragedy shake the entire core of the family.

The darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future and the sisters’ unshakeable loyalty to one another. Will they be able to come together again?

HELLO BEAUTIFUL is compelling, profoundly moving, and thought-provoking. You feel for William and sympathize with him, his past, and his struggles.

A complex story of love, loss, and family and its many forms, from highs to lows. A blending of family drama and literary fiction with stunning lyrical prose. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

Topics of depression, mental health, loneliness, betrayal, forgiveness, suicide, family, friendship, ambitions, expectations, and second chances are addressed. Also, the literary classics!

For fans of authors: Elizabeth Berg, Elizabeth Strout, Fredrik Backman, William Kent Krueger, and William Landay.

Thank you to Random House Publishing for an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

My Rating: 5 💚 Stars


“Sweeping . . . With the vibrant and close-knit Pilson neighborhood playing a supporting role, Napolitano’s latest novel investigates the deep, maddeningly frustrating, and ever-present love of family, whether tied by genetics or by choice.” —Booklist, starred review

“Napolitano explores the meaning of love and family with this striking story . . . This will move readers.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Napolitano’s characters can break your heart as they work to mend their own.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“This sumptuous family saga is one of those rare novels whose singular characters are so beautifully rendered, it’s as if they’re your best friends, and you’re grateful to be in their orbit. Napolitano’s homage to Little Women, albeit set in late-20thcentury Chicago, will prompt you to slow down as you read, never wanting the book to end. When it does, prepare for tears.”

—Oprah Quarterly

“Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Hello Beautiful, is exactly that: beautiful, perceptive, wistful. It’s a story of family and friendship, of how the people we are bound to can also set us free. I loved it.”—Miranda Cowley Heller, New York Times bestselling author of The Paper Palace

“A rich, complex family saga, Hello Beautiful is a portrait oflove and grief in equal measure. Napolitano’s prose is so lovely, so keenly perceptive, that it held me captive until I finished. A lot of people are going to love this story.”

—Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

“Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving and propulsive novel about the deepest connections of family and love, trauma and healing. In intricately elegant prose, Ann Napolitano explores both the cost and power of loyalty and honesty. This is a book to treasure and share with friends and loved ones.”

—Angie Kim, bestselling author of Miracle Creek

“Hello Beautiful is the work of a great author at the height of her powers. Equally immersive, emotional, and brilliantly crafted, this is an early contender for best novel of the year.”

—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

“This is a story about family and sisters and storytelling, but it’s also an examination of identity and the consequences of doing love badly and how love can be redeemed. Read this book! You’ll be glad you did.”

—Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of It All Comes Down to This

“This is a richly woven story about family, but it’s also a unique take on Little Women. There are no heroes or villains here, only people—flawed and loving and striving like the rest of us. ‘Generosity’ is the word that comes to mind when I reflect on this gorgeous novel.”

—Allegra Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of The Cookbook Collector and Sam

About the Author

Photo by Jake Chessum

Ann Napolitano’s novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020 and was an instant New York Times bestseller, a Read with Jenna selection, and will soon be released as an Apple TV+ series starring Connie Britton. She is also the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She was the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine from 2014-2020. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop. In November 2019, Ann was long-listed for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize.

Dear Edward has been published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has twenty-seven international publishers. It was named one of the best books of 2020 by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Real Simple, Fast Company, Women’s World, Parade, LibraryReads and Amazon.

A Good Hard Look was published in the United States by Penguin Press. The novel appeared on the Southern Independent bestseller list, on one of NPR’s Best of 2011 lists, and was also an Indie Next Pick and an Okra Pick.

Her first novel, Within Arm’s Reach, was published in the United States by Crown Publishing, in the United Kingdom by Time Warner Books/Virago, in Spain by Ediciones Salamandra, and in Germany by Verlagsgruppe Droemer Weltbild. The novel was adapted and staged as a theatrical production in New York City in 2014.

Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. WEBSITE







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