Thursday, March 24, 2022

Review: Going to Beautiful by Anthony Bidulka

About the Book



Stonehouse Originals

Release Date
May 1, 2020

Synopsis from Goodreads:

International chef Jake Hardy has it all. Celebrity, thriving career, plenty of friends, a happy family and faithful dog. Until one day when a tragic accident tears it all apart. Struggling to recover, Hardy finds himself in a strange new world--a snow-swept prairie town that time forgot--a place where nothing makes sense. Cold is beautiful. Simple is complex. And doubts begin to surface about whether Jake's tragedy was truly an accident after all. As the sun sets in the Land of Living Skies, Hardy and his glamourous, seventy-eight-year-old transgender neighbour find themselves ensnared in multiple murders separated by decades. In Bidulka's love letter to life on the prairies he delivers a story of grief and loss that manages to burst with joy, tenderness and hope. Redolent of his earlier works, Going to Beautiful brings us unexpected, under-represented characters in settings that immediately feel familiar and beloved. Beautiful--a place where what you need may not be what you were looking for. 

My Review

Jake Hardy, a world renown chef,  thinks he has it all…a loving husband, son and a great career.  He’s truly happy until one day, one tragic event changes everything.  Jake wants answers.  He heads to the small town of Beautiful, Saskatchewan - a province in Canada - he thinks it will give him what he’s looking for.  His neighbor, a 78 year old transgender woman accompanies him on his journey.  

Jake is stunned by what he finds in Beautiful.  It’s more or less a ghost town these days.  Not the answers he was seeking, but instead, he is faced with new questions.  He’s determined to learn all he can about this deserted town.  Although, it’s not completely deserted.  There are still people living there and he hopes they can give the answers he seeks.

This is a well-written, heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and inspiration.  It’s filled with emotions and characters you can truly care about.   I don’t read many books set in Canada, but the author brought me right to the Canadian province. I felt I was right there with Jake wanting answers.  The author’s exquisite words brought it all to life.  I didn’t want to leave my new friends.

I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I’m so glad I’ve “discovered” him with this book.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a hidden gem that I never would have known about if it wasn’t for blogging.  I devoured this book.  I couldn’t put it down.   A stunning and memorable novel.

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.



  1. Thank you for venturing with me to Beautiful. I greatly appreciate your kind and thoughtful words.

  2. I love memoirs! And I love stories set in harsh climates and extreme weather. So this title is going right on my Wish TBR list to read in the future. Thanks!

    1. Just to clarify, this is not a memoir. It's a fictional novel.


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