This book was a bit of a gamble. I had read another of Smith’s books, “N-W” earlier in the year, and was not impressed at all. But having read so much about her, I thought maybe I am missing something. Anyway, when I came across “On Beauty” in a book shop during the summer I thought “Why not – everyone deserves a second chance.”
The story centres around two very different families and their working and emotional ties and is set mainly in New England, with occasional trips to the London suburbs. It is all about relationships; those we have with our families, our work colleagues and lovers. All of the characters in the book are forced at some point to question their feelings about those they love and come to terms with their own failings.
The two feuding families – the liberal Belseys and the conservative Kippses – must look beyond their differences and find ways to get along as their lives become closely entwined.
On Beauty is actually quite a funny book in placers, despite the strong moral message about love and family ties. Some of the twist and turns are reminiscent of a soap opera, but are delivered with much more finesse.
Personally I am very glad I took the chance on this book which I found to be a captivating read. I really enjoyed the way the characters were portrayed and felt an instant affinity with all the characters.