Hello Beautiful


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Pub Date Jul 13 2023 | Archive Date Jul 13 2023

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'Radiant and brilliantly crafted' New York Times


‘With so much to ponder it’s the type of book that’s good for the soul and leaves you feeling full, albeit a little tender’ Reader review

A “beautiful, perceptive” (Miranda Cowley Heller) family story that asks: Can love make a broken person whole?

Best friends and sisters, the four Padavano girls are seen as inseparable by everyone in their close-knit Italian-American neighbourhood. William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.

But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?

 An exquisite homage to Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic, Little Women, Hello Beautiful is a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it. A thought-provoking book club pick for summer 2023.


'Beautiful, perceptive, wistful. I loved it'
Miranda Cowley Heller, author of The Paper Palace

'Ann Napolitano's writing is astonishing'
Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups

'Another tender tearjerker... She helps us see ourselves - and each other - whole'
Washington Post

'Napolitano's homage to Little Women, set in late-20th century Chicago, will prompt you to slow down as you read, never wanting the book to end'
Oprah Quarterly

'Radiant and brilliantly crafted' New York Times


‘With so much to ponder it’s the type of book that’s good for the soul and leaves you feeling full, albeit a...

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ISBN 9780241628263
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 191 members

Featured Reviews

A beautiful nod to Louisa May Alcott's 'Little Women', this novel centres around four sisters and how the complications of life can get in the way of what really matters- relationships with the people we love.

I honestly couldn't put this book down; no matter if I was on a bus/hairdressers/ waiting for coffee.. I was captivated! I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Also, shout out to the absolutely stunning artwork on this cover!

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Hello Beautiful is such a gorgeous novel! It’s the kind of novel where the writing is exquisite, but the real draw is how brilliantly all the characters shine out from the pages. I fell in love with each and every one, their desires, their complexities, their relationships and their flaws. It’s the kind of book that was incredibly hard to put down and even harder to finish and realize you don’t get to spend time in the presence of William and the Padavano Sisters anymore.

It’s a heart-warming (and heart-breaking) multi-perspective family-saga set over the course of about 40 years in late twentieth century/early 2000s Chicago. It follows the lanky, socially awkward William Waters whose childhood is overshadowed by the death of his infant sister and his parents’ intense grief which caused them to emotionally withdraw from their second child. William becomes obsessed with playing basketball which provides a refuge from his loneliness and unhappy home-life. Basketball takes him away to college where he meets Julia Padavano and her three sisters Sylvie, and twins Emeline and Cecelia. Julia is bright, motivated and forthright. She and her sisters are incredibly close and they immediately draw the quiet and shy William into their noisy, bustling, loving family circle. The novel follows William and the sisters over the next couple of decades as they face intense highs and lows, romances, births, deaths, fallings out and re-connections.

Tonally, this novel feels like a literary classic and definitely pays homage to Little Women. Part of the conceit is that the four sisters loved the book growing up and each identify with a different sister. Julia and Sylvie split Jo’s characteristics. Julia is determined, smart and hardworking and wants a traditional family like Meg. Sylvie is more sensitive, a dreamer who works in the local library and fills her time kissing boys between the shelves and writing stories about the girls’ childhood. Emeline is sweet-tempered and a homebody (Beth) and Cecelia is Amy – artistic, independent and becomes a muralist.

Although Little Women is a clear inspiration and provides a rough framework, this book is entirely its own. It’s a tender and emotional portrayal of family love and grief. I think it will appeal to fans Lessons in Chemistry, Small Pleasures, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow or Elizabeth Strout’s canon.

Initially I was hesitant about the title, and I’m still a little on the fence, but when it becomes clear why it’s chosen, the revelation is a real gut-punch. I hadn’t read the author’s first book, but I immediately went and bought it. If this book is any indication, I can’t wait to get lost in another world created by Ann Napolitano.

Thank you to Netgalley and PRH for providing me with a copy.

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Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

The Padavano sisters are so close they are almost slightly different versions of the same person. But when Sylvie falls in love with William, her older sister Julia's husband, things will never be the same again for them and their twin sisters, Cecilia and Emmeline.

WOW!!! I absolutely loved this book - it gripped me from page one and never let me go, breaking my heart and mending it along the way. Absolutely wonderful - the story, the characters, the setting, the author's descriptions and way with words.... all of it. And so very wise on families, relationships, friendships, trauma, healing. One of my favourite books of the year and very VERY highly recommended.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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Between finishing reading Hello Beautiful and writing this review, this book has exploded. Oprah has taken it under her wing and shown it as the wonderful piece of work that it is to her followers. So, it has already been read by a lot of people - and rightly so. I loved it. Books about families and family relationships, whether they’re a difficult or loving relationship, are one of my most favourite things.

There are most certainly echoes of Little Women, but if you’ve never read it, it won’t make much difference to your enjoyment. You might want to try Little Women at some point though!

William Waters grows up in a very dysfunctional family, and is drawn into the Padavano family when he marries Julia - it’s a family he comes to love.

With themes of mental illness, family loyalties, love in all of its forms and loss, it’s a big read for only around 400 pages. The story just sped by, and I was bereft when I turned the last page.

I loved the world of William Waters and the Padavano sisters.

Highly recommended.

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This was a lovely, gentle read. I enjoyed the way that the story flitted between the perspectives of the main protagonists over various time periods in their lives.
It was an intimate and introverted read, thoughtful and thought-provoking about the ways that family relationships affect our lives.
Once I passed the halfway point I felt like the pace increased a little, but it didn’t feel like a story you could race through.
Beautifully written, touching and well-observed. If you’re looking for an inclusive and considerate story about love and the bonds that tie family together, you’ll enjoy this book.
With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin U.K. for the opportunity to read an ARC.

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“Hello Beautiful" follows the journey of Julia, a young woman who finds herself in a new town, starting a new life, and uncovering secrets about her past along the way. One of the most intriguing characters in the book is William Waters, a mysterious and reclusive basketball player who becomes Julia’s boyfriend and later, husband. But the story has a lot of twists you want to read to know.

"Hello Beautiful" is a stunning, heart-wrenching novel that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. Napolitano's writing is masterful, weaving together multiple perspectives and timelines to create a rich, nuanced portrait of love, loss, and the power of human connection. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves deeply emotional, thought-provoking fiction.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the way Napolitano masterfully crafted her characters. Overall, I cannot recommend "Hello Beautiful" highly enough. It is a stunning work of literary fiction that will leave readers breathless with its beauty and emotional depth. If you are looking for a novel that will move you to tears, inspire you to hope, and remind you of the power of human connection, then this is the book for you. Five stars!

I received an electronic ARC copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher.

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This book!! I loved it, really really loved it. Generational family drama - yes pleaaase. Excellent writing, characters, some likeable - some unlikeable. It all worked. Did not want it to end.

Grateful for an ARC from Netgalley. Although will 100% be buying a copy.

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Family sagas aren't often my thing but I was drawn in by the gorgeous cover and the comparison to a "modern Little Women". I wasn't disappointed. Behind that beautiful cover is an equally beautiful story. Napolitano peels back the layers of the Padavano sisters and William Waters from their childhood through over forty years of their lives and loves, as the family falls apart and pulls itself back together.

It is a little gritty and depressing at times - this book wasn't the most cheerful to read at the start of my honeymoon and there were times I considered switching to something lighter. Napolitano touches on some tough topics, particularly regarding mental health and attempted suicide. But I became attached to the author's authentic characters, and I had to see it through to its beautiful, bittersweet ending.

You might have to be in the right mood to get into this one, but it won't disappoint and it's thoroughly deserving of the accolades it's already receiving

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This one spans 30 years and gets you so immersed that you feel like you really know the Padavano family. Beautiful. Wow I adored this book! Everyone go out and buy it!

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An instant five stars for this beautiful, totally immersive family drama. It defied my expectations in the best way - I was able to really relate to and care about all the characters, and every one felt well-developed and fleshed out. It reminded me a lot of Ask Again, Yes, another book I loved.

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Prior to starting Hello Beautiful I was intrigued but was not expecting to be so heavily invested in this heart wrenching tale of the Padavano family and whilst I didn’t know if I was in the mood to start a 400+ book at the time, I could easily have read another 400 pages of their story.

I feel as though it would be very hard not to be completely hooked with the character driven narrative by Napolitano and I particularly enjoyed the echoes and even direct references to one of my favourite classics, Little Women.

With some hard hitting themes and family secrets, Hello Beautiful was almost impossible to put down and is one of my favourite reads of the year to date!

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Hello Beautiful is a stunning read, following the lives of four Italian American sisters. The book alternates between different perspectives as we follow the girls from childhood through adulthood and into parenthood themselves. The sisters and their parents, William and his friends, the children they have were all so distinctive and real that they will remain with me for a long time. I was left in pieces by this book, heartbroken but equally filled with a renewed love and respect for life. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Sylvie, the second eldest sister, was a favourite for me from the outset, sharing a similar love of books and stories. However, all characters and the things they lived and/or suffered through were so real - I know I said it before but Ann Napolitano has created such a vivid world and history for her characters that pages played like film scenes in my head and I refuse to accept that there aren't walls covered with the glorious paintings of Cecilia Padavano somewhere in a small American town. I loved this book.

Thank you to Penguin and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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Undoubtedly: 5 stars! A novel I will recommend widely!

I adored 'Little Women' as a child. In fact, it was probably the first classic I ever read. The story of the Padavano sisters is simply perfect. As with 'Little Women', I found it impossible to choose a favourite sister; it is no different with 'Hello Beautiful'.

'Hello Beautiful' is a glorious celebration of family. Some books you read affect you deeply and this is one of those special books.

I am so thankful to have been approved by NetGalley for the ARC.

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There is a magical quality to Napolitano's writing that draws you in and makes you feel everything the character is feeling.
This is one of those extraordinary novels that you don't want to finish and yet can't stop reading. I loved it.

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This book made me laugh, made me cry, made me gasp in shock. I loved it. The story of William and the padavano sisters had me enthralled from beginning to end. I found myself emotionally invested in each of the different characters as the story played so beautifully out. Just beautiful.

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Heartbreakingly beautiful from start to finish, I loved following the Padavano family over the years and seeing how different generations are affected by the actions of their parents. The characters were so intriguing and diverse, I loved seeing their emotional arcs and changes and the difference between the sisters. The writing was amazing, although I did find the book slow in parts (so is life) because there was not distinct chapters I generally liked the pace once the story got going. This entire book was a rollercoaster for your emotions and so thought evoking with many different perspectives on family issues and depression (among many more), I believe this is a must read for anyone with a love of fiction and Napolitano will become one to watch.

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This novel is itself a thing of great beauty. The story is about sisters and sisterhood but doesn't limit itself and it embraces much wider social commentary and a critique of social mores. The characters are full of life and often demand the reader to take sides. The story flows flawlessly and I'll be recommending it to all four of my own sisters!

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This is the most enjoyable read I have had in a long time and I read a lot! A beautifully written, deeply emotional exploration of family dynamics with a host of themes addressed in the most sensitive of ways. Grief, love, sexuality, family script patterns and more all underpin the plot and the way the characters are developed is just wonderful.
I can't wait to go and read the author's previous books!
Grateful thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for an ARC of this wonderful book.

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This book is filled with love and loss, family drama, depression, tough choices and happiness.

Hello Beautiful is a story about family drama and you follow the lives of the Padavano Sisters and William from their childhood to adulthood. William becomes part of the Padavano family and this helps him see the love a family can give to you, since his family never showed him any love.

What a wonderful book. Ann is a beautiful writer and really depicted the personality of all of the characters. Each chapter is written with the title of the characters name, this helped you to really dive deep into their specific life and how they were feeling at certain family dramas and moments in their lives. I absolutely loved every character and felt like I truly knew them by the end of the book. I also loved that Hello Beautiful was what the Padavano sisters Father greeted them with, it was such a lovely part of the book as Charlie saw them for who they really were and nothing else.

Such a fantastic book which I would recommend to everyone! Definitely a five star read for me.

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I just loved this family saga centred around the four Padavano sisters. Brought up in an Italian Catholic home, their mother is the one who rules the roost as their father is a bit of a drinker and a dreamer. However, his daughters adore him and he always greets them with a ‘hello beautiful’.
The sisters are inseparable until William Waters enters their lives and there follows a chain of events that changes their relationship forever.
So beautifully written, I loved all of the characters and laughed and cried as their stories unfolded over the years. I have no doubt this book will be a bestseller and I’ve already recommended it to many.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Hello Beautiful is one of the most highly anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint.

This heartbreaking, moving family saga will shakes you to the core! The three dimensional and layered characterization with references to Little Women make connecting with each character incredibly easy. You know it's a brilliantly written book when you're rooting for the characters even when they make the wrong decisions.

I cried my heart out and still would recommend this book to everyone.

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I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was beautifully written and the characters were really well thought out and developed. The relationships were complex and interesting and felt really real

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Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

This book centres around the Padvano family- four sisters; Julia, Sylvie, Cecelia and Emmeline and their relationships. It spans over many years and also includes flashbacks to their childhood so it really felt like we got to know them well. I enjoyed that Sylvie was a librarian and had found sanctuary in the library and reading from a young age. Sylvie is also a hopeless romantic and when she finally falls in love, everything changes for the family. I adored the characters, I felt like the sisters were my friends and I was so invested in finding out what would happen to them. I read this at the end of last month and it made it in to my top ten books of 2022 and I’ve no doubt that it will be in lots of top lists at the end of this year. A strong 5 star read that you won’t want to end!

I haven’t read Dear Edward yet but after loving this so much it has been bumped up my list.

Thank you to netgalley, the author and publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. We all want impossible things is out on 13th July 2023.

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