Goodnight, Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson
Genre: Chick-lit, fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Eight years ago, Nova Kumalisi agreed to have a baby for Mal and Stephanie Wacken. Halfway through the pregnancy, the couple changed their minds and walked away, leaving Nova pregnant, scared and alone.
Eight years ago, Stephanie was overjoyed at the thought of becoming a mother – until she found a text from Mal to Nova saying, “Goodnight, beautiful”. Terrified of losing her husband to his closest friend, Stephanie asked him to cut all ties to Nova and their unborn child.
Now, 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. Although they live separate lives, both women have secrets that will bind them together for ever…
Dorothy Koomson is one of my favourite authors, and this book did not let me down. Koomson never shies away from reali life, hard hitting issues, and in Goodnight, Beautiful she looks at pregnancy, jealousy and the fear of having a child in a coma.
Mal and Stephanie can’t have children, so Mal asks his best friend, Nova to be a surrogate mother. Nova and Mal have been friends for so long that Nova can’t say no. During the pregnancy Stephanie finds a text Mal had sent Nova, simply saying “Goodnight, beautiful”. Jealously soars through her and she makes Mal give up the child. She gives a string of excuses as to why they can’t take the baby…leaving Nova pregnant and without a best friend. Eight years on Nova has fallen in love with her boy, Leo and has married. Yet the unthinkable has happened – Leo was in an accident and been in a coma for weeks. Supported by her family, and Mal’s family – but not Mal, Nova has to struggle through this, while Stephanie and Mal are trying to resolve their marital issues, ones that spout out of Stephanie’s jealousy and Mal’s hurt and anger. Will Leo wake up? Will Mal ever see his son? Will Stephanie and Mal resolve their problems?
This book is so touching. I loved the characters and the storyline is gripping and realistic. Koomson is an amazing writer and her books always move me. This story isn’t just set in the present, we watch Leo grow up and the problems this pregnancy caused between Mal and Nova – and their friendship before Stephanie. We see a full picture of what happened and the story is told by different people.
In this book Koomson explores what jealously can do relationships, what effect surrogacy can have on the person carrying the baby and those around them, and how having a child in a coma can effect your whole world. This book seemed thoroughly researched and was very well written. I was gripped, I was almost in tears in many parts and as I reflect on the book I remember a beautiful book by a great author.
My favourite character was Leo. He was so cute! I was willing him to wake up all through the book. Nova was brave, strong, scared and a lovely character. Her relationship with Mal was gorgeous – friends forever. It was horrible reading the effect one jealous person could have on a friendship – although I found myself feeling sorry for Stephanie as she battled the jealousy. That said, she was manipulative and lied – so sad to see what insecurities can do to a person. I wanted Mal to man up and see Leo regardless of Stephanie. Nova was his friend and Leo his son – he needed to be bold. I think all the characters were well thought out and well written and made the story come alive.
I say this every time I write about Koomson: she writes female fiction – but it isn’t girly, easy-to-read chick-lit, it has meaning and substance. She writes about issues facing people these days and attacks them viciously. She writes really well and I am yet to read a book by her that I don’t like. I am so happy I read this book, and can easily give it 4 out of 5.