Book Review: The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

About the Book:

Meet Mercy Blain, whose house has just burnt down. Unfortunately for Mercy, this goes beyond the disaster it would be for most people: she hasn’t been outside that house for two years now.

Flung out into the world she’s been studiously ignoring, Mercy goes to the only place she can. Her not-quite-ex-husband Eugene’s house. But it turns out she can’t stay there, either.

And so begins Mercy’s unwilling journey. After the chance purchase of a cult classic campervan (read tiny, old and smelly), with the company of her sausage dog, Wasabi, and a mysterious box of cremated remains, Mercy heads north from Adelaide to Darwin.

On the road, through badly timed breakdowns, gregarious troupes of grey nomads, and run-ins with a rogue adversary, Mercy’s carefully constructed walls start crumbling. But what was Mercy hiding from in her house? And why is Eugene desperate to have her back in the city? They say you can’t run forever…

Published by HQ Fiction AU

Released 7th July 2021

My Thoughts:

Sometimes a book finds you at the right time and so it was with me and The Other Side of Beautiful. There was so much in this one that I could relate to, on a very deep level, just as there was so much more to Mercy Blain that what appeared on the surface. We meet Mercy Blain as her house is burning down, a significantly traumatic event for anyone. As the story unfolds and we gain insight into how Mercy’s been living and why, we also reach a point where we see just how desperate Mercy was right before her house caught fire. To say my heart hurt in those moments is an understatement.

From the point of crossing the South Australian border, the road trip Mercy takes is one I took myself about 8 years ago. I wasn’t in a clapped out campervan, nor was I alone, and I didn’t have a gorgeous dog with me, but the roads travelled were the same and the landmarks familiar, generating a lot of nostalgia within me. Mercy’s observations of her fellow travellers, the grey nomads, and their travel routines were highly amusing. I could relate to her instinctive refusal of their hospitality but also relished their kindness and persistence in the face of it. Mercy had a fragility about her that was likely apparent to all who met her. She wasn’t a rude person, she just wasn’t in a good place, and those who mattered seemed to recognise that. It’s not easy to put yourself back together after breaking and I loved this novel all the more for intricately demonstrating this.

The Other Side of Beautiful is an exquisite blend of heartache and hope. Life affirming and bittersweet, this novel is like a breath of fresh air. A celebration of the kindness of strangers, taking on life moment by moment, and discovering the beauty of just being present. I loved this novel, in all its glorious pain and pleasure. Remember the name Kim Lock. You’re going to want to read all of her books.


Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

This review is featured by Twinkl in their blog about the latest must-read books. See more recommendations and get involved at Book Lovers’ Top Picks For Your 2021 TBR List.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

  1. Oh, I’m SO glad you loved this one! I loved it too! It came to me at the perfect time as well, just as lockdown was beginning and leaving the house became a terrifying prospect. Wasabi is my new favourite fictional character 😅🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Other Side of Beautiful, by Kim Lock | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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