Such a Beautiful Family by T.R. Ragan
11/29/22; 272 pages
Thomas & Mercer
Such a Beautiful Family by T.R. Ragan is a highly recommended psychological thriller.
Nora and David Harmon are happily married and the parents of two children, a 15-year-old daughter, Hailey; and a 13-year-old son, Trevor. Sure, they have a few issues but they all love and support each other. When Jane Bell, the owner of a software company, starts contacting and courting Nora to come and work for her company, it seems too good to be true. Nora is reluctant but decides to accept the offer. She likes the job and Jane, who is aggressively pursuing a friendship with Nora and her family. But Jane is overstepping all sorts of personal boundaries and inserting herself into Nora's home life. Is she simply lonely or is something more nefarious in the works.
First things first, start the novel knowing that you need to suspend disbelief right at the start. Once most people had an employer trying to be a friend and a part of your family daily, they would set some firm boundaries very quickly and perhaps even leaving the job asap. Even the most open-minded and accepting couples would put an end to Jane's behavior. Once you set the disbelief aside, this is a well-written thriller that moves at a rapid pace and is entertaining throughout. The fast pace helps keep your focus on the narrative and overlook some of the more improbable events in the plot.
There isn't a great deal of character development among the cast, with the exceptions being Nora and Trevor. They are are likable and portrayed as realistic individuals with depth. David is a bit too milquetoast to be believable as he never tells Jane to back off and go home. Hailey is a typical teen impressed by what Jane gives her. But, set this lack aside because the focus is on figuring out what Jane's end game is and using good sense to tell her to back off would make for a short plot.
Such a Beautiful Family is a page turner that held my attention throughout because it is fast-paced with short chapters and keeps moving relentlessly to the end. The ending is exciting and worth overlooking any flaws to get there.