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Goodnight, Beautiful

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Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, beautiful.” Already suspicious of their deep connection, Stephanie demands that Mal cut all ties to Nova and their unborn baby, leaving Nova to raise the child alone. Eight years later, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Despite her anger and hurt, Nova wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them all how much they mean to one another?


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Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, Nova will do anything for her closest friend, Mal, whom she has known since childhood. So when Mal and his wife, Stephanie, ask Nova to be a surrogate mother, she agrees—despite her reservations about what it might mean for their friendship. Then Nova’s fears are realized. Halfway through the pregnancy, Stephanie finds a text from her husband to Nova that reads “Goodnight, beautiful.” Already suspicious of their deep connection, Stephanie demands that Mal cut all ties to Nova and their unborn baby, leaving Nova to raise the child alone. Eight years later, Nova is anxiously waiting for her son, Leo, to wake up from a coma, while childless Stephanie is desperately trying to save her failing marriage. Despite her anger and hurt, Nova wants Mal to have the chance to know his son before it’s too late. Will it take a tragedy to remind them all how much they mean to one another?

30 review for Goodnight, Beautiful

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was really enjoying this book until the last few chapters and the end was so terrible that it just made me mad that I read this whole book for that crummy ending! The book centers around best friends Mal and Nova. They grew up together and at times one or the other would contemplate taking their friendship to the next level, but were scared to jeopardize their incredible friendship. When Mal gets married his wife Stephanie is jealous and suspicious of his relationship with Nova, but since she I was really enjoying this book until the last few chapters and the end was so terrible that it just made me mad that I read this whole book for that crummy ending! The book centers around best friends Mal and Nova. They grew up together and at times one or the other would contemplate taking their friendship to the next level, but were scared to jeopardize their incredible friendship. When Mal gets married his wife Stephanie is jealous and suspicious of his relationship with Nova, but since she can't have children she and Mel ask Nova to be their surrogate. Even though it's not the best idea Nova agrees simply because she loves Mal and wants him to be happy. But, a few months into the pregnancy Stephanie freaks out and forces Mal to choose between her and Nova and the baby and he chooses Stephanie. So, years pass without Mal and Nova speaking and Nova raises their son Leo alone. Then when Leo is 7 1/2 he has an accident and has to be put into a medically induced coma. While Nova waits for Leo to wake up she has to decide whether to let Mal into his son's life at this critical time. This is giving things away a little, but I was so angry that it was so obvious that Mal and Nova really loved each other and should have been together, but time after time they wouldn't take an opportunity. Especially at the end - no one was happy so who cares if Mal left Stephanie - why would they want to punish themselves by still trying to live a "normal" life together?! The ending was VERY irritating to me. If you're going to build up these two characters and make it so painfully obvious that they should be together - GET THEM TOGETHER!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    “It's the ones you love the most who can lift you in an instant, and destroy you without trying.” ― Dorothy Koomson, Goodnight, Beautiful I am such a fan of Koomson. This is the one book I have read by her that I did not immediately fall in love with. Never ever ask your best friend to be a surrogate..never. This book made me cry as does all Koomson's books. It is powerful and maudlin and very moving. Yet as I said, cannot say I loved it. I would say I have loved all the other books I have read by “It's the ones you love the most who can lift you in an instant, and destroy you without trying.” ― Dorothy Koomson, Goodnight, Beautiful I am such a fan of Koomson. This is the one book I have read by her that I did not immediately fall in love with. Never ever ask your best friend to be a surrogate..never. This book made me cry as does all Koomson's books. It is powerful and maudlin and very moving. Yet as I said, cannot say I loved it. I would say I have loved all the other books I have read by her..about 4 or so..but not this one. It is well written and I did like it. It's just the subject matter is not for me. This one was a bit like a soap opera and: SPOILER: I have a tough time reading about children in comas and that aspect of the story was very hard for me to read. Do not get me wrong..this is a good book! To some it maybe even a great one! The fact is, this woman could write about a trip to the dentist office and make it sound exquisite. My all time favorite by her is the Rose Petal Beach. I had such a tough time with all the sadness in this book and REALLY did not like the ending either. Still if you are Koomson fan (and even if you are not) you will probably like this. 3.5 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Depressing, very very depressing. I think Koomson writes well, but her characters are all a bit overly damaged in my opinion and this book just seemed to be miserable for no real point. No-one was happily married, no-one had a happy family. Nothin nice happened to any of the characters ever. I was holding out for a bit of a happy ending but it didn't materialise. Koomson seems to have a thing for sllghtly f*cked up women on their own and there was no change here. The ending was also quite frankly Depressing, very very depressing. I think Koomson writes well, but her characters are all a bit overly damaged in my opinion and this book just seemed to be miserable for no real point. No-one was happily married, no-one had a happy family. Nothin nice happened to any of the characters ever. I was holding out for a bit of a happy ending but it didn't materialise. Koomson seems to have a thing for sllghtly f*cked up women on their own and there was no change here. The ending was also quite frankly unbelievable but hey ho. Won't be reading it again or recommending that anyone else does either.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    Seven-year-old Leo lies in a hospital bed, comatose, after a seemingly minor accident followed by surgery. By his bedside, his mother Nova recalls the moments of their lives together. But once upon a time, long ago in her own childhood, she and her best friend Mal were like two sides of one coin. Their bond was strong and one that they thought would never be broken. Through flashbacks, we see the journey of Nova and Mal, how they gradually forged separate lives in their adulthood, while still mai Seven-year-old Leo lies in a hospital bed, comatose, after a seemingly minor accident followed by surgery. By his bedside, his mother Nova recalls the moments of their lives together. But once upon a time, long ago in her own childhood, she and her best friend Mal were like two sides of one coin. Their bond was strong and one that they thought would never be broken. Through flashbacks, we see the journey of Nova and Mal, how they gradually forged separate lives in their adulthood, while still maintaining a very strong connection. When Mal met Stephanie, however, things changed—just a bit. And when he married her, Nova knew that their relationship, with its strong friendship bonds, had morphed into something else—a friendship that now included the three of them. The collision course that severs the connections between them begins when Stephanie and Mal want a baby, but Stephanie cannot have her own; they know that adoption will not be possible because of Stephanie's history and emotional problems. They approach Nova, asking her to carry their baby. After much thought and considerable anguish, Nova agrees. Eight years later, Nova is raising her son Leo alone. What happened and how did everything go wrong? Answering those questions fills the pages of this compelling novel that probes below the surface, peeling back the layers to finally reveal the hidden motivations that altered all of their lives. Will Mal finally meet his son and join the others at his bedside? Will his presence heal the wounds? And will the tragedy finally change the future for all of them? The characters were richly detailed, with all the flaws and strengths of real people. Sometimes I felt very frustrated with each of them, as their inability to clearly communicate their thoughts and feelings to each other led to the breakdown of their relationships. None of them revealed the complete truth. When Mal told Nova that he and Stephanie had changed their minds about the baby, he would not (or could not) tell the whole story. When Stephanie said she no longer could take the baby, the reasons she gave were not completely true, either. And afterwards, while Nova was raising her son alone, she didn't share any of the details with her family, her husband Keith (whom she married after her son was born), or even her closest friends. Told in the first-person narrative of Nova, and then Stephanie, we gradually come to understand each of the women. Alternating first-person voice is not unusual, but in this novel, each chapter began without anything to identify whose "voice" was spotlighted. Sometimes it took two or three paragraphs to figure it out, which altered my enjoyment of the story. The flow was not as smooth as I would have liked. Because of this somewhat confusing writing style, I decided to award four stars. I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoys tales of friendship, family, and the defining moments that change our lives.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    I must confess that there is an extra air of excitement about this book for me. I didn’t have anything to do with it, I don’t know the author personally or anything, but I entered the drawing to win it from goodreads’ first reads and low and behold, I won a copy. Hopefully this isn’t the last book I win from that nifty little program. I very often don’t write reviews as soon as I’ve finished a book, especially if it is an emotional read. There is apart of me that does not understand my feelings a I must confess that there is an extra air of excitement about this book for me. I didn’t have anything to do with it, I don’t know the author personally or anything, but I entered the drawing to win it from goodreads’ first reads and low and behold, I won a copy. Hopefully this isn’t the last book I win from that nifty little program. I very often don’t write reviews as soon as I’ve finished a book, especially if it is an emotional read. There is apart of me that does not understand my feelings and I can be a little harsh in reviewing if the writer has left me with emotions I don’t want to deal with. If I rate solely on my feelings alone I don’t know if it’ll be so high, so I take my time, think about things and try to give things a chance to roll around in my head and heart. Koomson’s story telling, the way she weaves this story with the present and past, is superb. It is a sad story of love and loss, but a beautiful one as well, told by a highly talented writer who was able to draw me in and keep me there. Yet, a part of me feels tricked and seduced by Koomson. That despite carrying this book around with me everywhere, devouring pages nonstop, reading until the wee hours of the morning, hoping and hoping and hoping the that characters I had grown to like and care for so much would do the things I wanted them to do, say the magic words that needed to be said, make everything well again, wrapped with a happy love drenched bow and leave me feeling lighter, knowing that their lives were set straight and were now quite delightful. Koomson made me care about these characters that much. And alas, I didn’t get what I wanted in the end. I got something else, not the predictable fairy tale I hate to admit to wanting, and not the miserable depressing end I’m currently making it seem like (sorry about that) but something else, left kind of open, maybe for me to take which way I want to. At least that’s how I’m looking at it. That is why I have to wait to write reviews. I’m not thinking like a sensible adult but like a child that hasn’t gotten what she wanted and now will throw a temper tantrum because of it, hurling harsh words at the keyboard, insulting Koomson and highlighting far fewer stars than deserved and typing the phrase “it isn’t fair!” over and over. But then again, that is how life is. I cried, a lot, but I don’t feel angry about it. I was at first, but now I’m okay and I’ve accepted it and I feel Koomson did me a great service by introducing these people into my literary psyche.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I received an advanced copy of this book from goodreads. I thought Koomson did a great job of creating believable characters and at times I actually liked them. However, mostly I just kept thinking that if these people were my friends I would never talk to them again. SPOILER: Stephanie and Mal are married but she is unable to have children (she was raped and had an abortion at 15 that left her unable to harvest or carry). After considering all their options they decide to ask Mal's beautiful bes I received an advanced copy of this book from goodreads. I thought Koomson did a great job of creating believable characters and at times I actually liked them. However, mostly I just kept thinking that if these people were my friends I would never talk to them again. SPOILER: Stephanie and Mal are married but she is unable to have children (she was raped and had an abortion at 15 that left her unable to harvest or carry). After considering all their options they decide to ask Mal's beautiful best friend Nova to have a baby for them (Nova's egg and Mal's sperm). No one reading this book thinks that this is a great idea. Mal is in love with Nova and it is obvious. Stephanie is jealous of Nova because she should be. But, Stephanie can't consider adoption because she has recently tried to commit suicide. So, it is not a surprise that Stephanie gets jealous of Nova and decides she no longer wants the baby. But, it is a surprise that she tells Mal to ask Nova to have an abortion. Oops... I guess we should have thought that out a little better. Then the book continues for a few pages where all characters act flippant about their recent choices. Then Nova decides to keep the baby and Stephanie tells Mal that he is no longer allowed to talk to Nova or the child. Then eight years later Nova contacts Mal to tell him that their son is dying. When their son is dearly dead they have sex... oops... and she gets pregnant, again. This time Nova decides to leave her husband (yes, she is married) and travel. Mal stays with Stephanie but Nova doesnt want him to tell her about the new baby. In the end they are all "happy." So, Im not speaking to these crazy people ever again... good thing they aren't real.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    I am not sure how to convey what I feel about this book. I have such mixed emotions. On one hand, I really enjoyed the story. We have 2 friends who's families have been close since they were little. In a long drawn out story you find out that Mal and Nova are inseperable. They have never been boyfriend and girlfriend but that is in part due to the fact that both of them thought neither was interested. So when Mal finds Stephanie and wants Nova to meet her, Nova tries to be the best friend she ca I am not sure how to convey what I feel about this book. I have such mixed emotions. On one hand, I really enjoyed the story. We have 2 friends who's families have been close since they were little. In a long drawn out story you find out that Mal and Nova are inseperable. They have never been boyfriend and girlfriend but that is in part due to the fact that both of them thought neither was interested. So when Mal finds Stephanie and wants Nova to meet her, Nova tries to be the best friend she can and let Stephanie know she is no threat to her. However, Stephanie has issues of her own. In a web of lies she has chosen to create, it spins out of control. Mal and Stephanie had asked Nova to have a baby for them and when Stephanie gives Mal the ultimatium of either her or Nova and the baby, Mal decides one of them that will have disastrous consquences. On the other hand, the story flipped back and forth so much that I had a hard time sometimes telling who was talking and I would have to re-read what I read to get it. But I wouldn't say it was the downfall of the book for me. Just something I had a hard time getting my mind on. One of the biggest things when reading a book to me is the title. Does the title have anything to do with the book? And the answer this time is YES! Those words have a lot to do with the book, in fact one of the major turns in the book is because of those words. So on that note, you will enjoy this book! Grab a box of kleenex if you are a mom especially because this one is a mother's worst nightmare if you ask me! However, you won't want to miss out!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. **SPOILER ALERT** This was my first read by this author and I'm glad I picked this book because I actually enjoyed the story, for the most part. I liked Nova, she was intelligent but believed in more than what the eye could see, so it almost made her a little quirky. I also, liked how most of the story was told as a sort of flashback, before coming back to the present, and how we got to get glimpses of Leo thru those flashbacks, from her eyes and his own. I loved seeing how her family and Mal's **SPOILER ALERT** This was my first read by this author and I'm glad I picked this book because I actually enjoyed the story, for the most part. I liked Nova, she was intelligent but believed in more than what the eye could see, so it almost made her a little quirky. I also, liked how most of the story was told as a sort of flashback, before coming back to the present, and how we got to get glimpses of Leo thru those flashbacks, from her eyes and his own. I loved seeing how her family and Mal's became an extended family to each other over time, and how they had close family ties and support. I COULD NOT STAND MAL BY THE END OF THIS BOOK!!!!! I liked him very much in the beginning, him and Nova had an amazing friendship where they could always count 100% on the other to be there for them. Then Mal, the ass, met Stephanie, and shortly thereafter everything fell apart. I mean, Nova was his best friend in the whole world, and after him and his wife talked her into using her body to house their baby, for THEIR benefit, when Stephanie got too jealous and insecure about the two, she made Mal choose who he was going to continue his life with. That was bad enough, that a wife would do that to her husband, when she knows the connection they had was innocent more than anything else. It was made worse by the fact that HE made the decision to not be apart of Nova's life anymore, and when she had the baby anyway, to not be apart of his life either, all because of his wife's desire to have him to herself!!!!! SELFISH SELFISH SELFISH!!!! I hated him for that decision! What man, what real man would do that, abandon his baby, a baby he and his wife wanted. I was disgusted, and even more so when it seemed Nova kinda forgave him, once she informed him of what was going on with Leo. I'm sorry, even on my best days, I couldn't forgive a person that easily, especially one who was my best friend in the world, the one I should have been able to depend on. She forgave him too easily!!! It was like Mal was co-dependent and he needed someone to NEED him like Stephanie did. He said he'd never leave her, and he stuck to that despite the hell it caused everyone else down the line. I was happy when their marriage started to crumble because both he and his wife were being selfish bastards! I'd hoped they'd fall apart and never get right again! They deserved to be miserable for doing what they did to Nova, and later Leo, when all she had been trying to do was make them happy in the first place. That was how they repaid her! UGH!!! Yeah, despite all that storyline this was a good book, nice sweet and emotional, but Mal, Mal, I just didn't like his character, it showed a great lack of moral uprightness I guess, that he wouldn't put his foot down and say, "sorry honey, that isn't an option, I know what's it like to grow up without a father and I'll never do that to my child". To just toss people like trash is unacceptable and horrible, especially people who you should love above anything else! I hate his character greatly, his wife's too actually, even at the end when they were "making amends" for what they'd both done, their characters left a horrible taste in my mouth. The book was a good read though, just be prepared to strongly dislike a character (or two) for the crappy half ass decisions they made for themselves!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Moments after I've finished it is too soon to give a real opinion, but I needed to log on to say that I feel as if I have been punched in the stomach and had the breath knocked out of me. And it's good. I don't remember when I have ever cried at a book. ---------------------- This book was really good. I don't have a more descriptive word than "good", unfortunately. I still don't really know what it did to me other than that it made me feel. The three main characters (Nova, Mal, and Steph) were al Moments after I've finished it is too soon to give a real opinion, but I needed to log on to say that I feel as if I have been punched in the stomach and had the breath knocked out of me. And it's good. I don't remember when I have ever cried at a book. ---------------------- This book was really good. I don't have a more descriptive word than "good", unfortunately. I still don't really know what it did to me other than that it made me feel. The three main characters (Nova, Mal, and Steph) were all nicely formed. We get into the heads of both women, but by seeing Mal through the two sets of thoughts we get a good picture of why he does the things he does. I went into the book knowing only what is on the back cover and I expected to know exactly where my sympathies were. Of course, I was wrong. Steph is a flawed character, but the reader grows to understand her. Or maybe that was just me. It was a very true-feeling picture of mental illness; Steph had a lot of my own fears and worries, although at a level I have never felt. The book is told in sections by Nova and by Steph, and it also jumps around in time quite a bit. There is no header and it is not always obvious who is speaking or when. This sort of thing usually kills a book for me, but I was surprised at how EASY it was to tell who was speaking and when. There's definitely an art to giving exposition in a few sentences naturally. Within the first line of a new section, something would be said to let you know when you were and who you were with, but it was always organic. Leo would be there, or there would be a mention of fashion or baking and you knew. This book had to take place in England because of the race relations. Nova is black (Ghanaian), and Mal and Steph are white. This is slightly important, but so different from the ways it would be important in the US. Interracial couples are pretty much a nonissue, but the fact that someone could see the white parents of a biracial child and know something is up IS an issue. The friendships and family relationships were pitch perfect. I "liked" all the characters, but I wouldn't want to know them, I don't think. We get to know them and all of their ridiculous thoughts and actions. The reader is too intimate with people portrayed too realistically for us to actually want to hang out with them. As I think about the book now, there are things that perhaps bother me. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Koomson, so I don't know if psychics is one of her "things" that she has to put in every book, but Nova seeing ghosts didn't do much for the plot and felt somewhat thrown in. There were several other things that bother me, but only now. At NO point in the book did I even roll my eyes. I was too wrapped up in the story. That's good. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I don't think I liked it, but I don't know what could have happened differently. It was more like, that's what happens with life, and life kind of sucks; as opposed to thinking that the book kind of sucks. Anything I didn't like could be written off to "doesn't it suck that life is like that?" and I think there is a spot on my shelf for a book that comments on life like that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brianne

    I would give this book 2 1/2 stars if half stars were allowed on Goodreads. The story was good but I hated all of the characters. Every one of them (except the child) made horrible decisions that made me angry. I had a hard time caring what happened to them because they were not very nice people. I also really struggled keeping the speakers/narrators straight. They changed randomly...sometimes by chapter...sometimes by page with no change of font or anything to let the reader know. I often read p I would give this book 2 1/2 stars if half stars were allowed on Goodreads. The story was good but I hated all of the characters. Every one of them (except the child) made horrible decisions that made me angry. I had a hard time caring what happened to them because they were not very nice people. I also really struggled keeping the speakers/narrators straight. They changed randomly...sometimes by chapter...sometimes by page with no change of font or anything to let the reader know. I often read passages and had no idea who was speaking, especially in the beginning when they started flashing back to the past. It was all very confusing at first. All of that being said, I did get "into" the story about half way through. It wasn't predictable and there were plenty of surprises along the way...although rarely any good surprises. I wouldn't recommend this book because it wasn't anything special.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mazribbands

    I would never have read this book if it hadn't been chosen by my book group. My worst fears were confirmed. I would never have read this book if it hadn't been chosen by my book group. My worst fears were confirmed.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    Nova and Mal have been best friends since, well, forever really. They grew up together and Nova thought they’d end up together as well. But when Mal met Stephanie, he fell in love and married her. The couple have a big favour to ask Nova – will she have a baby for them? Nova agrees but when the couple suddenly decide they don’t want their baby anymore, Nova is left feeling frightened, alone and unsure she can be a single mother. Flicking from the past to the present day, Nova’s son’s life hangs in Nova and Mal have been best friends since, well, forever really. They grew up together and Nova thought they’d end up together as well. But when Mal met Stephanie, he fell in love and married her. The couple have a big favour to ask Nova – will she have a baby for them? Nova agrees but when the couple suddenly decide they don’t want their baby anymore, Nova is left feeling frightened, alone and unsure she can be a single mother. Flicking from the past to the present day, Nova’s son’s life hangs in the balance, and so does Mal and Stephanie’s marriage. Can both survive? The blurb in itself suggests that this is going to be an emotional read, as are all of Dorothy Koomson’s novels. The main idea focuses on the issue of surrogacy, which isn’t an issue I’ve ever read about in a fictional book before. Surrogacy is something I know I could never do, I couldn’t grow a baby only to give it away the end and this theme is well-explored by Koomson, showing us Nova’s thoughts about the idea and how she comes to the decisions she eventually reaches. But the most important part of the surrogacy issue in this book is how it changes the relationships of those involved, right from finding out the surrogate mother is pregnant to the birth of the baby, and beyond. I found the way that Koomson approached the whole issue was delicately done, and this really is a credit to her writing skill and indeed style. The whole background for the story was so well done that it really wasn’t a shock to read about, and nothing too graphic was written about, the idea of the surrogacy really focussed on Nova and Mal’s relationship, and the effect the surrogacy had on Stephanie, the outsider. Koomson really has a skill for writing well developed relationships between characters, and this was really a great element of the book. Koomson really knows how to engage her readers with an emotional storyline which has you hooked in minutes, and leaving you not able to put the book down again until its finished! The characters themselves were very interesting too, with the main 2 characters of Nova and Mal being very detailed in background, emotion and story. The book flips between the present day and the past, right back to the childhood of the pair, and this allows you to get into the minds of both, particularly Nova as she is the storyteller for most of the book, and allows you to build up in your mind why things in the future (i.e. present day in the book) happen as they do. Mal’s wife Stephanie was clearly meant to be the evil outsider, and right from the off I really didn’t like her. How a woman can make her man choose between her and his child is beyond me, and for this I hated her instantly. Even towards the end when her past is fully revealed, I sympathised with her but didn’t feel it justified what she had to done to Nova and Mal. The writing style used in the book was quite interesting to me, partly because it left me feeling confused quite frequently throughout the book! Despite the fact that Koomson had chose to tell the story from both Stephanie and Nova’s perspectives, so that’s 2 storytellers, she’s chosen to write in the first person without giving a name at the top of a new chapter to tell you who is narrating that particular section. I sometimes found I had to read almost 2 pages of a chapter before I got whether Nova or Stephanie were ‘talking’, and this left me frustrated and often confused. I always find first person narratives work best when there is only one storyteller as you can follow emotion and the story much better, but the 2 person first-person narrative just didn’t work, it would have been much better in the third person! Although I have found the previous Koomson reads of “Marshmallows for Breakfast” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” quite uplifting, this one was quite the opposite, and I had a feeling all the way through that I might not get the happy ending I was hoping for. There wasn’t much happiness throughout the book as a whole to be honest, what with unrequited love, mental illness, failed surrogacy and broken friendships being the main themes in the book. I was hoping for a small glimmer of happiness somewhere in the book, but there just seemed to be misery all around which left me feeling a bit drained after reading large chunks of the book. It’s a shame Koomson didn’t write just a chapter of something happy going on in the story, as this really lost the book a star on its rating from me. It was quite a depressing read, and I did find myself a bit teary at stages throughout, so it wasn’t the light hearted chick-lit read I was hoping for! It is a very well-written story with interesting themes, great characters and a very easy to read style, but just a little depressing for me! I’d still recommend it to Koomson fans though, it is up to her usual writing standards. I’d give it 3.5 stars if I could, but I decided to round it up for writing and a good story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Johara

    My second book for Koomson, after reading My Best Friend's Girl... and another tear-jerking story! She is so good at making you cry!!! This time, it's about Nova, and her willingness to do anything for her bestfriend Mal, including being a surrogate mother to his child. There are twists and turns, and then the story jumps ahead a few years, and Nova is placed in a situation that requires not just love, but forgiveness... and second chances. I won't say it's as powerful as My Best Friend's Girl, b My second book for Koomson, after reading My Best Friend's Girl... and another tear-jerking story! She is so good at making you cry!!! This time, it's about Nova, and her willingness to do anything for her bestfriend Mal, including being a surrogate mother to his child. There are twists and turns, and then the story jumps ahead a few years, and Nova is placed in a situation that requires not just love, but forgiveness... and second chances. I won't say it's as powerful as My Best Friend's Girl, but Koomson has a way with words, and I'd love to explore more of her books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ângela

    “It's the ones you love the most who can lift you in an instant, and destroy you without trying.” “It's the ones you love the most who can lift you in an instant, and destroy you without trying.”

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Joyce

    Nova and Mal have been friends since childhood, their families so close they practically merged into one. Nova would do anything for her best friend, a theory put to the test when Mal and his wife ask Nova to be their surrogate. Nova agrees but a few months into the pregnancy, the couple change their mind about the baby. Eight years later, Nova is raising the son Mal abandoned. Mal cut all ties with Nova and the baby but now seven-year-old Leo is seriously ill in hospital and Nova wants Mal to ge Nova and Mal have been friends since childhood, their families so close they practically merged into one. Nova would do anything for her best friend, a theory put to the test when Mal and his wife ask Nova to be their surrogate. Nova agrees but a few months into the pregnancy, the couple change their mind about the baby. Eight years later, Nova is raising the son Mal abandoned. Mal cut all ties with Nova and the baby but now seven-year-old Leo is seriously ill in hospital and Nova wants Mal to get to know his son before it's too late. Dorothy Koomson has done it again. She's made me cry. In fact, I wanted to sob into the pages. Goodnight, Beautiful is a gorgeous but tragic tale of friendship, first love and the bond between mother and child. As usual, Dorothy's writing was beautiful, drawing me straight into Nova's life as she faces an horrific period in her life as she watches her son lying in a hospital bed. The writing manages to be both warm and raw, a powerful mix that gripped me from the start. Even when I knew I was going to be a blubbering wreck, I couldn't put the book down as I was completely hooked. I was desperate to find out everything; what happened in the past and how it was all going to turn out. I was quickly reminded why Dorothy Koomson has become one of my favourite authors. When I read the blurb, I didn't think I was going to like Mal's wife, Stephanie very much as she is the instigator in Mal's decision to sever his friendship with Nova and sacrifice his relationship with his son. But surprisingly, I warmed to her (although not nearly as much as I warmed to Nova). I couldn't help it. Despite my prejudice, I found myself drawn into Stephanie's life just as much as Nova's and I was eager to find out what had happened in the past to make her hurt so many people. Dorothy manages to create characters you can't help but like and care for, despite their faults, and this happened with both Mal and Stephanie. To begin with, it seems like quite a simple story; Stephanie was jealous and lashed out, causing years of heartache. But all is never as it seems on the surface and slowly the layers of Nova and Mal's story was revealed. Nova is such a strong woman, dealing with the unexpected destruction of her friendship and dealing with the consequences of Stephanie's decision. Although she is completely knocked down by her friends' actions, she somehow pulls herself through it and I admired her so much for that. She could easily have crumbled but Nova's character shone through throughout. I was captivated by her and her story from start to finish. Emotional and powerful, Goodnight, Beautiful is a fantastic read. But be warned: you'll probably need tissues. Lots of tissues.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    I sometimes wonder how can a person write something so beautiful, touching and heartbreaking at the same time. Until now, I have read all the books written by this amazing author and not every was so amazing as this was. Nevertheless, I can still say that Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors! I don't know where to begin, my heart was breaking while I was reading this book. Firstly because Nova and Mal who loved each other but couldn't be together. It was obvious that they deeply cared o I sometimes wonder how can a person write something so beautiful, touching and heartbreaking at the same time. Until now, I have read all the books written by this amazing author and not every was so amazing as this was. Nevertheless, I can still say that Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors! I don't know where to begin, my heart was breaking while I was reading this book. Firstly because Nova and Mal who loved each other but couldn't be together. It was obvious that they deeply cared one for another, but unfortunately their timing was always wrong. My heart broke one more time, after their lose. I was hoping and hoping for a miracle, but it never came... I was crying a lot during the reading, you are not human if you don't break at least a tear after this. I'm disappointed with the end, I'm disappointed that a person who is mentally unstable ruined so many lives because of her insecurity. I hated Steph for her selfishness, but I also felt sorry for her. Dorothy makes her characters so likeable, relatable and realistic , that it is almost impossible not to love them. I was feeling a strong connection with the characters and it was hard dealing with their pain and loss. This book completely emotionally drained me. If I had to point out the character that I couldn't put up with, it would be Keith. He was weird and kind of a sleaze. If someone asked me what this book is about, I would say it is about unconditional and unconventional love, about forgiveness and redemption. It is a book about life, but also a death. It is a book that is dealing with serious issues, suicide and mental illness. It is a book about true love, family and fate that brings two people close to each other regardless their efforts to stay away. I still remember my first book from Koomson, When I was invisible, and it is one of my favourite books from 2019. I still remember how speechless and heartbroken the book left me. It feels almost like a fate, to read such a special and memorable book at the beginning of the journey through her work and to finish it, with such a wonderful story. I absolutely adored this book. I needed something so mind-blowing and worthy of my time because I don't have it much lately and I'm spending it recklessly. This is just what I needed!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I look at my 'no' shelf and it seems a bit harsh to me. I don't mean it to be that way; it's just my way of reminding myself that I read (or tried) to read these books and I didn't like them, and not to pick them up again by accident. I thought I would like this book. I skimmed about three quarters of it and I didn't like the ending, it felt like she was (view spoiler)[replacing Leo with her new child? I don't know, that's just what she seemed to be doing. (hide spoiler)] And because I skimmed it, I look at my 'no' shelf and it seems a bit harsh to me. I don't mean it to be that way; it's just my way of reminding myself that I read (or tried) to read these books and I didn't like them, and not to pick them up again by accident. I thought I would like this book. I skimmed about three quarters of it and I didn't like the ending, it felt like she was (view spoiler)[replacing Leo with her new child? I don't know, that's just what she seemed to be doing. (hide spoiler)] And because I skimmed it, there was a lot I was confused about, but to be honest, I don't really care enough to find out. I tried, and it didn't interest me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    I liked the book, but felt it was slow moving.It took me awhile to get the minor characters straight. From the title to the story, the plot was twisted. What I expected from the book wasn't what how the story developed. Although I didn't shed tears and it wasn't as emotional a book as the reviews stated, I can see where it would "hit" some people that way. I do believe there is something about childhood friends that no one can "put asunder".....and that is certainly true in this story of Nova an I liked the book, but felt it was slow moving.It took me awhile to get the minor characters straight. From the title to the story, the plot was twisted. What I expected from the book wasn't what how the story developed. Although I didn't shed tears and it wasn't as emotional a book as the reviews stated, I can see where it would "hit" some people that way. I do believe there is something about childhood friends that no one can "put asunder".....and that is certainly true in this story of Nova and Mal (Malvolio).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Really had a hard time with this one. No action until page 177 and then it just too long for anything to happen. Skipped all the pages without dialogue past page 220, finished it in less than 2 hours. Did not invest in one character and did not really care what happened at the end - which made no sense anyways.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenee Rager

    I hated this book. I'm not sure if it was the authors writing style or if it was the completely unlikeable characters, but it took me forever to force myself to finish. Usually even with the worst book I can find one redeeming character, but with this one that was impossible. The characters were either underdeveloped, had no spine, or just plain hateful. I hated this book. I'm not sure if it was the authors writing style or if it was the completely unlikeable characters, but it took me forever to force myself to finish. Usually even with the worst book I can find one redeeming character, but with this one that was impossible. The characters were either underdeveloped, had no spine, or just plain hateful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melody

    A beautifully written story but so sad that it depressed me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Great book, but I couldn't stand Mal...both of the main ladies in the book deserved better from him..he was a jerk to both. Overall an excellent read, very well written. Great book, but I couldn't stand Mal...both of the main ladies in the book deserved better from him..he was a jerk to both. Overall an excellent read, very well written.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    Very emotional book. The friendship between Mal and Nova really makes you think about the people you surround yourself with and the lengths they would be willing to go for you. Throughout you feel that they should be together in some way and because you know that they have a son together from the start of the book, you want to keep reading to find out how they became separated. The first person narrative from each character makes you feel so invested in their lives and it makes the ending of the Very emotional book. The friendship between Mal and Nova really makes you think about the people you surround yourself with and the lengths they would be willing to go for you. Throughout you feel that they should be together in some way and because you know that they have a son together from the start of the book, you want to keep reading to find out how they became separated. The first person narrative from each character makes you feel so invested in their lives and it makes the ending of the book even more devastating because you see the different kinds of grief and regret that each character goes through.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    Mal and Nova have been friends since childhood. They live on the same street. It doesn't matter which house they get their meals from, where they hang out or who walks who home, they are best friends. Their families look out for each other. So when we meet Nova, all grown up now, and realize her son, Leo is in a coma, fighting for his life - what happened? Nova's husband, Keith, is devastated. If you read the blurb, you'll also discover that, in the meantime, when Mal's wife couldn't have a baby, Mal and Nova have been friends since childhood. They live on the same street. It doesn't matter which house they get their meals from, where they hang out or who walks who home, they are best friends. Their families look out for each other. So when we meet Nova, all grown up now, and realize her son, Leo is in a coma, fighting for his life - what happened? Nova's husband, Keith, is devastated. If you read the blurb, you'll also discover that, in the meantime, when Mal's wife couldn't have a baby, and before Nova met Keith, Mal and Stephanie asked Nova to be a surrogate, and she agreed. Huh? How did that turn out? So many questions, so many complicated relationships. As it turns out, so many secrets, and quite a number of lies. Goodnight Beautiful is a love story. A dramatic, enchanting love story. Of love, loss and some tragedy and despair. Read my full review here.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Loved it. Spent the whole book hoping I’d get the feel good, happy ending. By the end I didn’t know what that was.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Su Curtis

    Loved this book. The characters were really bought to life and you could feel their joy and pain. Once finished I was left wanting more.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Bellwood

    Don't read this book if you're feeling fragile. Don't read this book if you don't have a stack of tissues next to you. Just don't read this book. But also, do. Don't read this book if you're feeling fragile. Don't read this book if you don't have a stack of tissues next to you. Just don't read this book. But also, do.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ivana

    Maybe this rating isn't totally fair, but ... I have read a lot of Dorothy Koomson books and loved them, they were a five star or a solid four star books. This one ... It just didn't touch me at all. The reason I love Dorothy's books so much is because of her characters, who are flawed but you still grow to love them and root for them and their happy ending. In this book I didn't like anyone and didn't root for anyone, and that just made the book not so good in my eyes. Maybe this rating isn't totally fair, but ... I have read a lot of Dorothy Koomson books and loved them, they were a five star or a solid four star books. This one ... It just didn't touch me at all. The reason I love Dorothy's books so much is because of her characters, who are flawed but you still grow to love them and root for them and their happy ending. In this book I didn't like anyone and didn't root for anyone, and that just made the book not so good in my eyes.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ayesha

    “Old pain doesn't completely die. Time may soothe it, stoke over it until it looks like it has healed, but it never dies properly. It stays with you, it lives in the cracks of your soul, waiting for moments when you feel true pain” This is again, one of few emotional yet heavenly book I have ever read. It starts smooth, goes on smoothly and end in perhaps, that will be the most fascinating manner. It is emotional and that's the beauty of it. Nova and Leo, Mal and Stephanie, love, misunderstanding “Old pain doesn't completely die. Time may soothe it, stoke over it until it looks like it has healed, but it never dies properly. It stays with you, it lives in the cracks of your soul, waiting for moments when you feel true pain” This is again, one of few emotional yet heavenly book I have ever read. It starts smooth, goes on smoothly and end in perhaps, that will be the most fascinating manner. It is emotional and that's the beauty of it. Nova and Leo, Mal and Stephanie, love, misunderstandings, friendship, guilt and loss is all that is stupendously summed up by Dorothy. For all those, who are looking for (not really) a light read, one that might move them to tears and get them a good reservoir of amazing quotes; Goodnight, Beautiful is just the right book for you!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brianne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I started this book because, for reasons that escape me, the summary on the back of the book caught my eye in Target and I put it on my library list. When it came in, I thought "Why the hell did I request this book?" but started reading anyway. I was tripping on British dialect a little, but I liked it well enough, or was intrigued, anyway, and looked up reviews online a chapter or so in because I am an absolute review junkie. I was completely disappointed to realize that it was the same author I started this book because, for reasons that escape me, the summary on the back of the book caught my eye in Target and I put it on my library list. When it came in, I thought "Why the hell did I request this book?" but started reading anyway. I was tripping on British dialect a little, but I liked it well enough, or was intrigued, anyway, and looked up reviews online a chapter or so in because I am an absolute review junkie. I was completely disappointed to realize that it was the same author and a very similar premise as My Best Friend's Girl, which I guess I didn't hate, but it was not amazing. I kept reading and was pleasantly surprised. Mal and Nova are best friends - it's soon revealed that grew up together, quite literally from birth, and were raised practically as siblings (Nova's parents cared for their mentally unstable friend and neighbor's children, Mal being one of them), with a long-running unrequited love that neither knew was mutual. Mal grows up and marries Steph, who is infertile (or is she?) and also mentally unstable and badly wants a baby. Long-suffering Nova ends up agreeing to be a surrogate for them, only to be left twisting in the wind when Mal admits his feelings for her and Steph's festering insecurity and instability explodes, leading her to cut Nova and the baby out of their lives. 8 years later, the child, Leo, is in a coma, and Mal and Steph are still married, miserably, and childless. Everyone starts to come apart at the seams, and I was amazed at how the author managed to develop the characters so well that their seemingly inexplicable or ridiculous decisions seem perfectly in character and make total sense within the context of the story. You can write a story and say "And then he did this, and then she said that, and then this happened," and it will never have an impact if you can't feel what they're feeling, and understand their motivations and what led them to do the things they did. This book would've been a prime candidate for that - why can't Nova and Mal just get it together and date each other? Why would Steph even ask Nova to be a surrogate if she's been jealous of her from day one? Why the hell did Nova agree? Why is Steph so crazy? Why did Mal allow himself to lose his best friend and his child? Any of those are so outlandish that they could've easily, easily derailed the whole story, but every decision feels natural and makes sense in context. The ending is sad and unsatisfying, but making decisions as bizarre as those fully understandable is a feat that alone makes the book worth reading.

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