Wednesday, October 12, 2022


Title: Such A Beautiful Family
Author: TR Ragan
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 266
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Nora Ruth Harmon is an IT marketing whiz, living the good life with husband, David, and children, Hailey and Trevor. When Jane Bell, the founder and CEO, of a rapidly rising IT company, offers her a job at a fantastic salary, twice her current package, with flexible working hours, it seems to be too good to be true.

Pretty soon, Nora’s problems and work pressures begin to increase. The new job doesn’t give her the flexibility she thought she would have. Hailey, nearly 16, begins to act up, bringing home a boyfriend, Alex, that Nora disapproves of. She’s also worried about Trevor, who has withdrawn into himself after an incident in which he nearly drowned. Her dad’s dementia is getting worse.

As if all this isn’t enough, Nora suspects that her boss is trying to steal her family, by ingratiating herself with them, particularly whenever Nora is absent.

 Soon she begins to wish she had never accepted this job. How can Nora reclaim her family before it's too late?

I was intrigued by the Prologue, but the very first chapter was a let-down. The quality of the writing in the first chapter was all tell, no show. It felt like someone was telling us a story, a very boring one, without dialogue and, for the most part, without emotion. This chapter was a Story-so-far, with the author bringing us up to speed on whatever had transpired before events in the current timeline began. This can be very exhausting for the reader.

Thankfully, the writing got better afterwards, in subsequent chapters. Even the pace was quick and steady. It was a quick read, not really challenging but still capable of holding reader interest.


At one point the author tells us, Everyone loved David. Including Nora. But David was the least likeable among the characters. Jane too began to grate on my nerves. She felt pushy and aggressive.


The only characters I liked were Trevor and Tank. My heart went out to Trevor for his vulnerability and goodness, and to Tank for how big and adorable he was.


Alex had a blink-and-miss role. Towards the end, it felt as if the author was trying to redeem him in Nora’s eyes but the effort didn’t work out. Nor could I understand David’s indulgent attitude towards Alex, particularly when he reeked of cannabis.


The chapters were written in the 3rd person limited past tense PoV of Nora and Trevor. This caused confusion, especially when both of them were in a scene, because the narrative flitted between referring to Nora by her first name and as Mom in the same scene.


Incidentally, I wondered if Tank, the family dog, was written in later. The author introduced him to us in Chapter 6. Prior to that, Trevor celebrated his 13th birthday at home with his entire family, but Tank had not even been mentioned.

Also, we never get to know what happened to Allina, a crucial event in the Prologue.

(I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

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