Review: Everything Is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray

Title: Everything is Beautiful

Author: Eleanor Ray

Published: 9th February 2021, Piatkus

Status: Read February 2021 courtesy Hachette Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

Eleven years after Amy Ashton was encouraged to gather a selection of precious memories in a shoebox, her home is filled to the brim with keepsakes. Bundles of newspapers tower in the hallways, boxes block the stairs, wine bottles cover the floor, coffee mugs and cookbooks clutter the kitchen, ceramic birds perch on every flat surface, vases hold dead bouquets of honeysuckle, and lighters and ashtrays (even though Amy doesn’t smoke) are stacked in teetering piles.

Told in alternating chapters between present day and the past, why Amy came to stuff her home with ‘treasures’ is gradually revealed in this heartrending and beautiful tale by author Eleanor Ray. A capable and valued administrator at a financial advice firm, Amy is unassuming, her wardrobe is dull, she never wears makeup and avoids social events. Few would imagine what the intensely private woman returns home to each night, and Amy prefers that no one cares, she is content with just the company of her ‘beautiful things’ that remind of happier times.

Amy’s neighbour, Rachel, cares though, and blames her for an ongoing problem with mice. When a new family moves in next door, Rachel thinks she has found an ally in forcing Amy to change, but with a well paced and thoughtful plot, it doesn’t happen in the way that you may expect. I loved the unexpected way in which some of the elements of the story developed, and though I had an inkling of what the main twist would be, I wasn’t disappointed to be proved right.

Amy is slightly awkward and intensely vulnerable, but despite her extreme behaviour, there would be few who would not find her sympathetic. I found myself feeling strangely protective of her, perhaps in part because I’m a bit of a hoarder myself. There are also several delightful supporting characters in the book, including the two charming young sons of Amy’s new neighbour, and an elderly retired shopkeeper. It has its villains too, who are satisfyingly dealt with.

Everything is Beautiful may begin as a story of tragedy and grief, but ultimately it is one of healing and hope, which I found moving and am delighted to recommend.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Indiebound

*Published in the US as The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mystica
    Mar 02, 2021 @ 18:33:48

    Thanks for the review

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Verushka, an editor (@SydneyEditor1)
    Mar 02, 2021 @ 21:48:59

    This sounds fantastic — Amy sounds so sad-but I want to learn more about her and her past.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies
    Mar 03, 2021 @ 00:39:44

    Sounds great!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  5. Tracey (Carpe Librum)
    Mar 18, 2021 @ 23:33:29

    I loved this book too, and just came back to read your review since I posted mine last week.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Theresa Smith Writes
    Mar 22, 2021 @ 11:34:15

    Lovely review. I’m hearing a lot of great things about this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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