Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman

I was delighted to be sent this book to read and review as I had heard some really good things about it and liked the sound of it. I devoured this book within a matter of days and can definitely say that I wasn’t disappointed by it at all. This was a very good book to read for some light hearted escapism but also had enough depth and emotion to it to make it a very rich story.

=== The story ===
Anna has a very difficult relationship to her mother Bea. The only way her mother communicates with her is with a weekly phone call, if anything happens during the week (including the birth of one of her children) Anna has to wait until Thursdays to tell her mother the news. Her children Violet and Harley have very little relationship with her too and Anna finds it upsetting that her mother is so distant.

On evening, the phone rings and it is Bea. The phone call is not at the usual time so Anna instantly thinks the worst but actually it’s her mother telling her that she has met a man, Walter, and she intends to marry him and she would like Anna to help her plan the wedding.

Anna is so desperate to build a relationship with her mother that she finds herself saying yes and so ensues a big operation to plan a huge wedding with no expense spared. Bea disagrees with almost all of Anna’s ideas and rings her during important meetings at work to discuss first dance songs and what stationary she should choose. But whilst they are planning the wedding Anna learns a lot about her mother and it is clear that there are many things that she wasn’t aware of which explain why she is so adrift from them all.

=== Characters ===
I think these characters were extremely well created. At first I thought they were a bit stereotypical- one who’s very materalistic and another who’s frustrated by this but that was just the surface of the characters and as the story progressed I really got to know what they were like and there was a great depth to the two main characters that made them very believable.

Bea on the surface seems very selfish and likes to show off about what she has in life. She appears to not care about anyone else, she doesn’t mind interrupting an important meeting or making her opinion heard but then we learn more about her and realise she isn’t as happy and confident as she appears. She has put a front on as a kind of survival mechanism and is actually more vulnerable than she makes out. I thought this made her a really well rounded character but also made me think of some people I know who are the same. Bea made me remember that we shouldn’t just judge someone right away but that there is more to them than meets the eye.

I liked Anna, at first she was quite weak, just agreeing with her mother but then she grew more confident and spoke to her in an assertive way, telling her not to just give her children money for their birthdays, to spend time with them, buy them a gift instead. I liked the way she was a lot more forceful as though she wasn’t afraid of her anymore.

The characters within this book were brilliantly formed from the jolliness of Walter, the steadiness and dependable nature of Anna’s husband Cole and the honesty of the children Violet and Harley. I think they really made this story work.

=== Writing style ===
I found that this book was very easy to read with the writing style being all in the current day. There was no jumping back and forth to time periods or telling it from different points of view. Sometimes these features of a book help to create a story but it wasn’t needed here and it made it really easy to read so you could get right into the story and immerse yourself in the world of Bea and Anna.

There was no specialist topics or confusing twists and turns which could make for a book that involves lots of concentration and brain power, instead this was a book that was written really well to have you captivated and lost in this other world for a while which is exactly what I want when reading. I don’t want to feel like it’s an effort to understand.

=== Opinion ===

I really enjoyed this book because it was light hearted but there were also moment that were very moving too as some truths were revealed which made Anna understand her mother and also her own past a bit better. I thought that these situations were written so beautifully that at times they made me tearful which I think is a sign of a very good writer.

The ending has a twist to it, I did actually have a sneaking suspicion about it a few chapters before it happened but it wasn’t enough to make me know exactly what as going to happen and I still think it’s quite a big surprise. The twist does make you think about things and I wanted to reread the book to see how it all fitted together.

When reading this book I was able to escape the real world for a while and enjoy the world of wedding planning and relationships for a bit which was very enjoyable to do! I also was able to think about relationships in my own life and times when I may have jumped to conclusions or such like. It does make you think about how everyone has a back story and that how people behave is a result of those.

I loved the ending, a nice, positive way for it to go which left me feeling all warm and happy after the emotional rollercoaster of the book.

I would definitely recommend this, I think it would make a perfect holiday read.

  • Available on Amazon now for £3.32 on Kindle
    • ASIN: B016E6FS4G

One thought on “Plan Bea by Hilary Grossman

  1. thanks so much for such an amazing review! I am so glad you enjoyed Plan Bea, but I am even more happy that the book gave us the chance to connect. I love tweeting with you!


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