Cover Image: And It Will Be a Beautiful Life

And It Will Be a Beautiful Life

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Member Reviews

This story revolves around Max Wendt, a sarcastic pipeline worker who likes to be alone more than he enjoys being at home with family. His work takes him away from his wife and daughter much of the time, and of course, that causes friction. 

In an airport, he meets an eccentric traveler named Charles. As two become friends, they correspond through email and Charles challenges Max in many ways. He also develops a relationship with a new co-worker named Alicia and is responsible to train her. Having a woman in a male-dominated field presents issues he has to overcome.

I have to say that I didn’t really love the layout of the story. It stuck in the details of Max’s boring job too much for me. In a way, as Max was forced into self-discovery, the book did the same. But also like Max, it was stuck in the mud too long. I nearly tapped out. I’ve read many of Craig Lancaster’s books and enjoyed them immensely. He typically centers around a main character that you can like or identify with. I didn’t feel anything for Max - couldn’t understand his motives or choices. 

I will say the last 100 pages made me glad I read the book and I liked ending Max much more than beginning Max. 

Thanks to NetGalley and The Story Plant for providing an ARC.
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Max Wendt works in Pipeline Transportation on the PIG using Pipeline Inspection Gauges to inspect and perform maintenance on pipelines. This work often takes him away from home and away from his wife and his daughter Alexandria, for days on end.

As his marriage is failing, and his daughter is all grown up, Max prefers it.  In this course of his travels, Max meets Charles, who becomes a friend, and the two begin corresponding about the meaning of life.  Max also gets to know Alicia, a new hire on the PIG and he is given the responsibility of training her. The first woman to be hired for the job, tensions run high, and yet, he and Alicia bond, even though she’s his daughter’s age.  

“And It Will Be a Beautiful Life” is a novel of self-discovery, searching for what’s next, and searching for the answers, which are not always right in front of us, even if they seem like they are supposed to be.  While reading this novel, I admittedly learned a lot more about pigging than I wanted to and had ever planned to.  As Max spent more time working than anything else, I think that was intentional.  While the art of pigging didn’t grip me, I did enjoy the interactions between Max and his colleague Alicia and really enjoyed the relationship that developed between them.  All in all, however, I enjoyed this novel and appreciated the life lessons included herein.
3.25 stars

Thank you to The Story Plant and NetGalley for the arc.

Published to Goodreads, Twitter and Instagram.
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A tale full of beauty and hope which is exactly what I'd expect to find from the author. 

Max Wendt is a flawed character, or so his (soon to be ex) wife and daughter are quick to point out. Working away from home for a large amount of the time has put a strain on all his personal relationships but that doesn't mean he is incapable of realising this or changing. A chance meeting with a stranger leads Max to begin dissecting his life and emotions helping him to move on and grow.

I hope it's a compliment when I say I was reminded of Lionel Shriver's writing at points in this book. That skill to really hone in on someone's character be they likeable or not!

You'll definitely be full of all the feels once you've finished reading this book.
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Someone once asked me why I read so much fiction. "It's not real," they said. I couldn't disagree more. In the hands of a talented author, a novel can make you laugh, make you cry, make you see the world from another’s eyes. A good novel makes you feel, and that is very real. And in the hands of Craig Lancaster, And It Will Be a Beautiful Life does just that. I don’t have much in common with pipeline man Max, or struggling mom Alicia, or flamboyant traveler Charles—but that doesn’t matter. Lancaster brings their stories to life, deftly weaving their thoughts and feelings and actions into a narrative that will sit with you long after you’ve finished reading. And that is very real indeed.
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