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Goodnight, Beautiful Paperback – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385344260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385344265
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Nova Kumalisi and Mal Wacken have been best friends since childhood (and secretly half in love with each other). Nova would lay down her life for Mal, but then Mal comes to her with a proposition that makes her nervous. Mal’s wife, Stephanie, is unable to have children, and they want Nova to be the surrogate mother. Nova agrees, but Stephanie, already somewhat suspicious, finds a text message from Mal to Nova that suggests they were more than friends and forces him to cut all ties to his best friend and his son. Eight years later, Nova and Mal are still not speaking to each other, and Nova is raising their son, Leo, by herself. But when Leo becomes critically ill, Nova realizes that despite their estrangement, Mal needs to know his son before it’s too late. Is there too much bitterness, anger, and deceit between Mal, Nova, and Stephanie, or can it be bridged in time? Koomson’s fifth novel is a dramatic, intense story about love and forgiveness. --Hilary Hatton

Review

“Beautifully written, with characters you’ll really care about—this is not to be missed.”
She (U.K.)
 
“A heartbreaking story . . . You’ll need tissues. 5 stars.”
Heat (U.K.)

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Customer Reviews

The book was very well written and the characters were well developed.
Amazon Customer
I don't want to give away too much of the book, but honestly I just didn't like any of the characters and that made it extremely hard for me to enjoy the story.
Jennifer Medlock
At the end of the day, I settled in bed and didn't stop reading until I finished this book.
T. Wheaton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alisa Gomez on November 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
I finished reading this book last night, but today the story is still haunting me. Dorothy Koomson wrote the story from the perspectives of two women, Nova, and Mal's wife, Stephanie. Despite that, the story is about Mal and Nova. About Nova, a beautiful black woman, and Mal, a gorgeous white man, and their great love for each other that can never be fully realised. These two characters knew each other from birth, grew up like family, were soulmates and best friends, but their destiny was to always be each other's support, each other's everything, yet never lovers or spouses.
This book frustrated me! The back cover provided a certain amount of information about the story: Mal and his wife, Stephanie, asked Nova to have a baby for them, but then changed their minds when Mal's wife found a text from Mal to Nova saying "goodnight beautiful". Nova was then forced to raise the baby she had meant them to have. I found Ms Koomson took an inordinate amount of time to unravel the story to that point of the action. There was something about the underlying tone of the tale that made me impatient to just know how the story resolved.
Ultimately, "Goodnight Beautiful" was painful and sad. A story of mental illness, the depths of human strength, the bonds that hold marriages together, and the deepest purest love that can exist between a man and a woman, though they may not be able to fuly realise it in their present lifetimes.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookfaced on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is the second Koomson book I have read. And I loved it. The only disapointing thing to me is the ending. Why? Why couldnt they run off into the sunset at the end after all of that. My favorite part of the book was when Nova accused Mal of never wanting her. His speech after that, the missed opportunites. I agree with the previous review that it was a bit frustrating that they couldnt get hooked up. But overall it is still a great read in my opinion. Stehanie,....hated her!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eliza Bennet VINE VOICE on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you can stick with it, this book becomes very emotional at the end. But to get to that point, you have to tolerate the style of the book - first person narrative with no visible clues as to who is talking. You also have to buy into people making very unusual decisions.

Of the four main characters of the book, Nova is the most interesting. She is smart, strong, and gifted. She loves the unfortunately named Mal (my old high school French taught me that mal meant sick or pain as in mal a la tete for headache). Mal marries the troubled Stephanie, bipolar, who eventually wants a baby. They ask Nova to carry a child for them, and bring Leo into the world. Stephanie's decision, and Mal's capitulation, were the turning points of the story, and lie at the heart of why I don't love this book. Mal, almost crippled with wanting to do the right thing, would never have made this decision. Everything following this becomes forced. While the author, Dorothy Koomson, pulls it together at the last minute for the ending, it is a sad ending.

There are no feel-good moments in this book at all. Koomson aimed for stark reality, and in some ways she totally missed the mark, and in others she hit it out of the ballpark. I give this book three stars because I am totally torn about liking and disliking it, and 2 ½ stars isn't an option.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emerald on January 14, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I finished reading Goodnight, Beautiful in one day. I couldn't put it down. It's one of those books that you hope will end a certain way and it doesn't. I feel the need to state upfront this is a tearjerker--this is not a happy book. I was literally bawling during the last 100 pages or so. Blowing my nose, washing my face etc. Koomson is one of my favorite authors. I have all of her books. This books shares common themes with the others--interracial love angle, caring for someone else's child, friendship, betrayal and loss. Nova and Mal have grown up with each other--they know each other better than anyone else in the world. It makes sense that they would ultimately marry and have children. Only that's not the way the story goes. They each marry someone else. However a lot happens between Mal's marriage to Steph and Nova's marriage to Keith. This book covers via flashbacks the events that occured that has led to the present. These flashbacks are slow moving with some poignant moments, but it takes a while to get to the good stuff. I wanted to know how Nova agreed to the surrogacy and then was stuck with the baby. This is NOT a traditional love story. This is a story about the unexpected. NOTHING in their lives has turned out how they planned. Koomson has an ability to take an unlikable character and make them real. I didn't like Steph but I understood her actions, her reasoning for what she did. I don't agree with it but I could understand it. Koomson takes the time to get really get into the heads of Steph and Nova. This is a far cry from The Chocolate Run(my favorite book) but we have witnessed her transition as a writer most apparently in Marshmallows for Breakfast. This book has a similar tone. If you are looking for a love story, this is not for you.Read more ›
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jodi VINE VOICE on October 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Since I'm on the Vine program, I end up getting the uncorrected proofs. And wouldn't you know it: from page 375 through 387, they were printed in reverse order, and they looked like as if they went through a photocopier in a paper jam.

I know, I know. I shouldn't blame Bantam Books for this; this happens all the time. I just mention this because I recall when Siskel and Ebert sat through a bad movie, and occasionally they would mention it when the projector caught on fire during the screening, or when they couldn't find a missing reel. It was relief from the torture that they were witnessing, and that's how I felt when reading this book.

Let's first start with how this was told. Now the editor CAN be blamed for this. It's told in first-person narration, told by two characters, switching each other by chapter. Note that it would have been easier if it had been told in ALTERNATING chapters, or if they would at least note which character was taking over narrating their story at the beginning of the chapter. But no. Nova (the "Sally" in this "When Harry Met Sally"-styled storyline) sometimes narrates on a few consecutive chapters, then it switches back on to Stephanie ("Harry"'s wife). It would have been less confusing if they both weren't complaining about Mal ("Harry"). That way I couldn't figure out who was talking until the bottom of the first page of the chapter when they mention the other character's name.

I mention "When Harry Met Sally" because even Ms. Koomson has Mal referring to "When Harry Met Sally" inside the novel, claiming he believes the idea of men and women can't be friends.
Read more ›
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