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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: 5.3 x 1 x 8 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: #812,638 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
A not so tender heart breaking love story of lifelong friends who share an undying and unconditional love for one another - but life happens.
Cozimfree
The characters were multifaceted, ther was no bad guy or good guy, just like in real life.
M. B. Walters

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 Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on December 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book took me some time to finish, which usually happens when I don't find the story that interesting. But that wasn't the case here. The book was very well written and the characters were well developed. It's just that it was all rather depressing!

Mal and Nova are best friends since childhood. They live in England, he's white and she's black. She's a bit psychic and he claims not to believe in that stuff. But they're a perfect match. Around college time they develop non-platonic feelings for each other but never act on them. Years later, when they are both with other people, Nova agrees to be a surrogate for Mal and his wife, Stephanie. She knows it's a bad idea but she'd do anything for Mal. The plan falls through AFTER Nova gets pregnant and she ends up raising the boy alone, losing her best friend in the process. Now, 7 years later, that son is critically ill and Nova needs to see Mal again.

The characters in this book sucked me in. Nova is a very likable character, someone you'd want to be friends with. Even though he chose his wife over Nova, I really liked Mal, too. His flaw is that he is too honorable. He grew up having to be strong for his mentally ill mother. Now he's married to Stephanie, who is bi-polar, and he promised her he wouldn't leave her. When the surrogacy plan falls through because Stephanie changes her mind, Mal stays with Stephanie because he knows Nova is stronger than Stephanie. I suppose we're supposed to feel sorry for Stephanie because she is bi-polar, but I had a really hard time liking her. And maybe some readers won't like Mal for the decision he made, but as I said, I feel he really is honorable.

I recommend this book to anyone and will be checking out some of Dorothy Koomson's other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Wheaton VINE VOICE on November 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow.

I started this book yesterday morning and carried it all around all day, reading it wherever I had a moment. At the end of the day, I settled in bed and didn't stop reading until I finished this book.

After closing the book the only word I could think of was "heartbreaking" --- on so many levels. And yet it was also uplifting, romantic and somehow hopeful.

I tagged this general fiction because it is definitely not romance, despite the heavy romancey-angst element. It is definitely not chick-lit, it is too deep, too wrenching to fit into the often airy, light place I tend to deposit chick lit. Normally I would not read so far out of my comfort zone. In my fiction reading I tend to like romances, mysteries and sff. Stories that have a definite arc and tend to end the way they are supposed to end. And I definitely shy hard away from books that deal with the illness or jeopardy of a small child. So, by rights this is a book I normally would not have read. But I did and I am glad I did.

Nova Kumlisi and Mal Wacken grew up together. Their families were intertwined since since the two were babies -- helping each other through a series of hardships and illnesses. Nova and Mal's deep and abiding friendship over the years was their bedrock, the thing that grounded them both. They had also fallen deeply in love with each other but could never articulate it or let it really blossom so it was never truly explored. Into their tight circle of two comes Stephanie, the woman Mal would eventually marry. Stephanie is threatened and resentful of their relationship and both consciously and unconsciously seeks to sabotage it at first. But over time the three settle into an easy sort of detente.

Then Stephanie gets a fierce desire to have a child.
Read more ›
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