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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must-Reads: 'Hello Beautiful'

“Julia was in the back garden, an eighteen-by-sixteen-foot rectangle hemmed by wooden fences, watching her mother dig up the last of the season’s potatoes at the exact time William was due at the house. She knew he’d be punctual and that one of her sisters would let him in. William would probably be flustered by her father, who would ask him if he knew any poetry by heart, and by Emeline and Cecelia, who wouldn’t cease moving or talking. Sylvia was working at the library, so he’d be spared her inquisitive stare,”

That’s an excerpt from Ann Napolitano’s novel Hello Beautiful. When the story begins the four sisters are inseparable. The oldest, Julia, is a freshman in college with her entire life mapped out, the next step being to marry William, a basketball player at her college. He had a very lonely childhood, having been born the same year his three-year-old sister died, an event from which his parents never recovered. Sylvia is the second oldest. She loves to read and is waiting for her one true love to appear. Emeline and Cecelia are twins who grow up to be a daycare worker and a mural artist.

The close-knit family falls apart the year their father dies, Cecelia has a baby out of wedlock, and William suffers a mental breakdown and divorces Julia. This is a beautifully written book about family dynamics and in particular, siblings who learn to love and accept each other for who they are. As the book jacket says, this book is “an exquisite homage to Alcott’s Little Women, a profoundly moving portrait of what is possible when we choose to love someone not in spite of who they are, but because of it.”

If you’re looking for a book that will cause you to contemplate your own family relationships, then you must read Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.