Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano: A review
Julia is the ambitious high-achiever in the family. She is like a second mother to the other girls. Sylvie is the romantic who is waiting for a man to come along and sweep her off her feet. Cecilia and Emeline are twins who tend to live in their own world but they have quite different personalities. Cecilia is forthright and plain-speaking. Emeline is the peacemaker in the family who tries to make everyone feel better.
Then along comes William, an introvert from a family that neglected him. He had a sister who died as a child and his parents were stuck with her memory and unable to move on.
William's salvation comes when he starts playing basketball with his peers. He finds a community and support with his teammates. He goes to Northwestern University on a basketball scholarship and meets Julia Padavano and the ambitious high-achiever chooses him to be her husband. But marrying Julia really means he is marrying the whole Padavono clan.
William's basketball career ends in injury. Julia, the fixer, sets out to make William into her ideal husband. That includes making him a college professor. They have a daughter, Alice. But then Julia's plans go a bit awry.
William is overcome by depression and tries to end it all but fortunately, he is unsuccessful in the attempt. Sylvie becomes his salvation who pulls him back into life.
This is a family drama that draws the reader in and makes her care about all of these characters. Each character is multi-layered and three-dimensional in their make-up. Moreover, each of the sisters felt like a personal friend and I wanted the best for each of them. It isn't often that I feel so emotionally invested in characters and it is very rare indeed that I feel that a novel is worthy of a five-star rating. This is that book.