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The Best Kind of Beautiful

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  314 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Florence Saint Claire, former child star, generally prefers plants to people. She's a reluctant member of a musical family with a legendary father, an impossible mother, a sister who can't keep still and a brother who walks to his own beat.

Albert Flowers is a people person, life rushing at him from all corners, carrying him to weddings and parties and late nights in
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Macmillan Australia
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  314 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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I adored this book, loved it from the first few pages.
Centred around a quirky family who make up a family music group, the Saint Claire Swingers. Their claim to fame was and still is the very popular song ‘Santa Was A Jazz Cat’

But really this is about Florence, the eldest of three children trying to find her place in the world. She hasn’t sung with her family for a number of years since a bout of stage fright. She now works in the local library with the ‘Green Team’ educating groups regarding
Helen Goltz
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! For my money, this is Frances' best book yet, I loved it. Such quirky characters, engaging and fascinating accompanied by a story of acceptance for those who find they don't fit the mould. Many lovely turns of phrase, plus imagery that is so unique to Australia. I saw a little of each of the characters' traits in myself and my family! Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the advance copy in return for an honest review. And thank you for a delightful read, Frances.
Felicity Waterford
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this simple story and the poem in the acknowledgements.... be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. This is a book about the quieter people, finding their passion and taking small bold steps. 8.5 out of 10. And the best kind of beautiful for me? Appreciating people for their less beautiful moments, their flaws and vulnerabilities.
Carolyn Miles
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one was a beauty! I really loved the pace, the characters and the witty and clever observations. The premise that not everyone is how they appear on the surface is given a light and entertaining treatment in this novel and it was just what I felt like reading. Florence Saint Claire, former child star and Albert Flowers, nature-loving party-goer both reveal their true selves over the course of this sweet story and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Amy Schmidt
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read it on a beach, on a plane, in a waiting room. A quick, light-hearted novel and you won’t feel bad about dog-earing the pages. Find me a hunky plant-loving mixologist please.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It is funny, quirky and just delightful. The characters are so endearing and the story just wraps itself around you and pulls you in from the very beginning.I will definitely be looking up and reading all she has written.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. A sweet tale of two awkward people.
Carolyn Taylor
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-books-read
I enjoyed the names of the characters (Florence, Albert, Orla, Isolde), the settings (2 of my favourite places, library and forest) and the jazz background because it is different to the norm in novels I have read.

All the ingredients were there for a fabulous story, however; I found the main characters a bit irritating/frustrating and the story was too slow moving for me. Especially the friendship/relationship between Florence and Albert.

Not a bad read, but didn't love it.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the premise of this book, the setting and story line, and I love the whole meaning behind 'The Best kind of beautiful'. I just love those words alone. But sadly, this one didn't grab me like 'Walking on Trampolines' did. That is one of my all time favourite books. I really wanted to love it.
Sharyn Swanepoel
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Relatable in many ways.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Another easy read. I liked walking on trampolines better but still enjoyable. Just a little bit vanilla
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it
This novel, set in Australia, is a pleasant read about families, quirky characters, acceptance and finding their way .
Leanne Lovegrove
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story of two people who think they don’t fit in but fit perfectly together and about the real and messy families who support them
Leona Silk
Feb 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
DNF.. didn't grab me i didnt find it interesting or engaging.
Jen Jurss
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adorable story about a pair of sweet oddballs and the lovely people in their lives who like them just how they are
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: library-books, ibooks
Not sure why I chose this to read - feel as though I read a review of it but cannot find it now.
Weak, unbelievable characters with almost zero plot line.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful uplifting book. A beautiful and innocent love story with quirky, adorable characters.
Sarah Jones
3.5/5 honestly feel like there’s no chance a jazz family would be famous in Aus, esp the most famous one being a clarinet player, but otherwise thought this was really sweet and a lovely read
Denise Tannock
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a very special read. It was gentle and understanding of Florence Saint Claire and Albert Flowers who are the most beautiful, shy people. The other characters helped weave a wonderful story.
Susan DeLong
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this delightful book about what it is like to grow up in a famous family.
The Saint Claire family, led by the handsome father, Lucas, who played the clarinet and recorded a Christmas song, “Santa was a Jazz Cat“, that was played ad nauseam, every festive season.
You can just imagine how the kids at school teased and tormented the Saint Claire kids!

The mother, Amanda, was just as famous, sultry and beautiful. She made entrances everywhere she went surrounded by her admirers.
Florence, the
It took me a while to get into this book. I think I read the first 4 chapters and then it sat on my bedside table for a few weeks. But one afternoon I picked it up again, and nearly finished it in one stitting. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed it.
The characters have believeable and relatable quirks and their interactions with each other make you realise the value in your own relationships. It's a reminder that there is something more to all of us than meets the eye and to be understanding
Monique Mulligan
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
A delightfully engaging read about two people seemingly at cross purposes ... who together might just be the best kind of beautiful. If they can get their acts together, that is.

Themes of music, grief, relationships, gardens, love, laughter and family resonate through Frances Whiting's latest novel. She has a quiet and warm writing style that I really like, and that fits this story perfectly.

For me, Walking on Trampolines was a stand-out, but The Best Kind of Beautiful made me smile in the
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has some lovely elements to it but overall I think this story needed more direction. I nearly stopped trashing multiple times as I just didn’t know where it was all going (in a bad way... not a suspenseful good way ahha) The Aussie quirks that were sprinkled in worked really well and it did have quite a festive feel to it but I think the author could of really explored some of the characters more or on the other hand taken the story in more of a light hearted funny way. Not sure if I ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
"Florence followed the park's main path through its avenue of Hill's figs, lifting her eyes up as she always did to their light grey branches clasped in prayer above her. People shouldn't bother going to cathedrals, they should just look up, Florence thought, if it's grace they're looking for."
This was a strong little book- so much character in these characters. There is a bit of Florence in all of us, a fear in how we live our lives- the judgment, the past we think defines us. Ended all a bit
Feb 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This is another one of those difficult-to-review novels. I loved the connection between the main characters Florence and Albert - two wounded souls who had a lot more in common than their passion for nature. But I couldn't warm to Florence's narcissistic parents, especially the pretentious Amanda. What sort of people would name their child "Puck"?! As other reviewers have commented, the storyline/plot could have been tighter. But because of the heartwarming ending, I ended up giving it 3.5 ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is about a musical family who's biggest hit was a song called "Santa was a Jazz Cat" (which sounds almost as annoying as Mariah Carey's "All I want for Xmas is You"). The eldest girl (Florence) freezes on stage in her teens and never performs again. She later goes on to be part of a bush group. It is there she meets, and develops a crush on, Albert Flowers.

I thought the book was a nice read but it didn't really grab me. It is a light read and may be good for a holiday book.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I just realised I returned this one to the library before my review! ... I'll have to do my best ...

I loved the title and I really loved the cover, it's a little quirky and different.

The end of the story really leaves the reader hanging ... what happens with Florence and Albert?

3.5 stars. I liked the story, it was very readable, just so slow and nothing much really happens. (I'm used to thrillers )
Amy Heap
Florence Saint Claire is a former child star from a famous, musical family. These days, she works for a horticultural group based in a library (?!), alongside Albert Flowers, who seems to have his social life sorted, unlike Florence. It's about overcoming fears, fitting in, connecting, and kindness. A sweet, gentle, quirky read, for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Beautifully written (I would expect nothing less from Ms Whiting) - however it took time for me to warm to the characters, then once I had their progression seemed to be a tad rushed and come to a halt. Still a fantastic Christmas read (and better than having to buy the Courier Mail to read Frances' work).
Maria Bell
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a great book about the struggles that people have in relationships and and in family groups, with struggling to find an identity and being accepted by themselves and others. Sometimes when you look so closely at what it means to be human, it is a miracle that we survive the way people treat each other.
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