The best kind of beautiful by Frances Whiting
Macmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781743535134. 336pp.
(Age: Adults - Adolescents) This is an intense, loving, evocative and powerful novel that draws us into a story of a family whose love for each other is palpable. An unusual family, their lives are dominated by the father, who runs the family as a much-beloved musical group. Their talent in playing instruments and singing to adoring audiences is something that brings them together and is at the centre of their lives for many years. In a tight-knit family that bursts with talent, we see their world in the spotlight, as much respected, indeed adored, for their singing, playing and the deep love that they share.
Yet, like all families, over time things happen that disturb the dynamics of this family's glorious career, and it is in her capacity to show how each character must find a way to deal with changes, and work to make these happen without loss of loyalty and musical prowess, that Whiting creates her beautiful narrative. The father is at the centre of their little universe, and it is under his loving and demanding care that they perform. When things change, each character has to find a way to cope, and this is the story of their adjustments, their changing lives and their individual pursuit of happiness.
This novel sparkles with the joy of music, singing, friendship and that special love of a family. Yet it is a narrative that focuses on the complexity of love, ambition, loyalty and the demands of family. It would be suitable for adolescent readers and adults alike.