It’s Rachel’s first day at work since she had her children. Now divorced, she walks into Clifton Avenue Residential Home to start a part time job as a care assistant, looking after adults as well as her children. The deputy manager Rob sees potential in Rachel and assigns her a very special case. It’s Philip’s first day too and he has just lost the one person who ever cared for him. Can Rachel help Philip discover independence at the same time as juggling her chaotic home life?
Beautiful Day is an easy and enjoyable read but I was expecting something a bit weightier. The care home and the awkward carer patient relationship between Rachel and Philip should have been at the forefront but a lot of time was spent on Rachel’s home life. There’s a lot of description of everyday things to do with the kids, especially at the beginning. If you like your women’s fiction with a good dose of the domestic, you’ll probably enjoy it.
For a debut, there’s a lot going on and a large cast of characters. Rachel has three children, all of whom get their own personalities and a fair amount of plot is given over to her eldest, Alec. He’s the one hardest hit by his parents’ divorce. There’s the other woman, Deborah, who Rachel barely manages to be civil to as well as her ex and a useless au pair. He mother-in-law and best friend are in and out of the story and this is even before we get to the staff and residents of the care home. It just could have done with being a tad more focused.
Philip is a grown man who has been kept at home all his life, never really knowing the world around him. He appears severely autistic and much younger than his age. There are both touching and distressing scenes but his situation is a bit glossed over. His mother is dead and he is all alone in a world that he doesn’t understand. Rachel takes a special interest in him but the story doesn’t really explore the hardships surrounding a case like his, nor go into real depth about the abuses of power in some care homes. It’s a plot point, but so much is going on that it doesn’t really hit home.
Whilst Rachel loses her temper from time to time, I never got the feeling things were hard for her. Apart from the daily trials of dealing with shared custody after divorce, she seemed pretty comfortable in her life. I would have thought being a single parent and working as a care assistant would have been exhausting and stressful. The only unpleasantness at her work is her horrid boss and Philip’s toenails.
Fancy reading Beautiful Day? I have one spare copy to giveaway. Entry is via the Rafflecopter below and open to European residents only. Published by Penguin, it’ll be available to buy from 10th April 2014 in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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