ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray
It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Everything is Beautiful by Eleanor Ray. I loved this book so much. My thanks to Jo Wickham from Piatkus for the place on the tour and the review copy of the book. The ebook and audiobooks are available from 4th February and the hardback from 25th March.
When Amy Ashton’s world fell apart eleven years ago, she started a collection.
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?
Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places
What a beautiful story. It started to pull me in from the very first page when Amy Ashton is awkwardly mingling with her work colleagues and never let me go until the uplifting conclusion.
Amy is not always an easy protagonist to like. She’s prickly and unfriendly, but what Eleanor Ray very deftly shows us is that there is a reason for this behaviour and Amy wasn’t always like this. Now she’s a hoarder of all manner of things, most of them useless but even if not, who needs that amount of mugs or vases? A new family in the house next door starts to make her rethink the path her life has been on for the past eleven years since something awful and bewildering happened to change it forever.
I’m being deliberately vague as I don’t want to give away what isn’t in the synopsis. I was totally intrigued anyway by the idea of Amy keeping items that reminded her of happier times, but the full story is so much more than that. It’s a heartbreakingly sad and complex story of love and friendship which I found totally unexpected. It brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye but it also made me smile in places. There’s a delightfully quirky edge to Amy and her story, but it’s also completely relatable in so many ways.
I liked the way the author explained the reasons for Amy having numerous cheap cigarette lighters and ashtrays when she’d never smoked, a love for honeysuckle and terracotta pots, and a feeling that every pretty wine bottle should be rescued. It’s a beautiful and clever story about a woman who is out of kilter with the rest of the world. I thought it was absolutely gorgeous, moving and emotional, and a very special debut indeed.
Eleanor Ray has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.
Eleanor was inspired to write EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL by the objects her toddler collects and treasures – twigs, empty water bottles and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.