Hello Beautiful

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โ€œWeโ€™re all interconnected , and when you see that, you see how beautiful life is.โ€

A book about damaged people, choices, and most of all, about love – the complicated, fierce love between sisters, the compassionate love of lifelong friends, the synergistic love of team mates, and the earth-shattering romantic love that strikes out of nowhere like lightening, before settling into its lifelong soul-defining radiance.

The Padavano sisters, heroines all of this novel, are the four daughters of an Italian-American working class family raised in Chicago by their mostly hands-off poetry-loving father and their prickly, bitterly unpleasant mother. Julia, Sylvie, and twins Emeline and Cecelia, from a very young age, feel their sisterly bond as physically as they do emotionally, deep in their DNA, as the author tenderly leads the reader through the turbulent decades that define their childhood, adulthood and beyond.

When headstrong, ambitious college-student Julia falls for William Waters, an impossibly tall, guarded and gentle man, it appears that their oppositional natures may be complementary.

But hearts, it becomes clear, (for Julia, her sisters, and as demonstrated by their parents) will go where they will, with little or no regard for the havoc their path may set loose, and the trail of traumas and long-buried wounds released, that may now demand expression.

As the interwoven stories of the sisters unfold, as layered with kindness and as they are with hurt and sadness, the readers introduction to the members of this remarkably-damaged family makes for an emotional and heartfelt read, and one that is hard to put down.

I could not help but love losing myself between these pages, visiting intimately with this family, hoping for an eventual soft and satisfying ending for Sylvie (my favorite sister), sweet Emeline, artistic Cecelia, and even for Julia (the hardest of the sisters, perhaps, to really understand or even, like).

โ€œI know it sounds silly, but Iโ€™m proud of myself. I guess, for living a brave life.โ€

With no spoilers here, suffice it to say, I devoured this book, enjoying the ending in all its turbulent and satisfying emotional wonder.

It was difficult leaving the comfort of literary embrace of the Padavano sisters, (both that bond established with the reader and most heartwarmingly, the experience of that infusing their relationships with each other). I hope to enjoy the memory of its resonant glow for a very long time.


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