REVIEW: With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan
An Irish family torn by a terrible tragedy spends years grieving their loss and the anger that tore them apart. Will time heal all and bring them to forgiveness?
With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan
Category: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books (July 30, 2013)
Rated 3.5 out of 5
Format: Print read, eBook available
Briony McAllister and her four-year-old daughter visit her mother in Spain at her new vacation villa. While looking at some old photos of family, a letter falls out and shocks Briony with its contents. How could her mother have lied to her all of her life about her deceased father’s family? She just wants to return to Dublin to her husband and home, far away from the vacation she had hoped for because it’s now ruined by her mother’s lies.
Valerie Harris wishes she had thrown away that letter when she found it. Now she’s afraid she’ll lose her daughter and her granddaughter forever because of what she did. She tries to explain why and how it came to be like this to her daughter, hoping that Briony will feel the pain Valerie endured and understand that the choices she made years ago had been made for their future.
In Ireland, Tessa and Lorcan grieve their son and the loss of seeing their son’s daughter grow up. Lorcan blames Tessa for being so discourteous with Valerie and spoiling their son when they had a chance to make things right. Lorcan has tried to understand Tessa’s side of it over the years but he feels she should own the blame as it’s hers to accept. He still loves his wife for all her faults but he wishes she would see reason on this one thing before it’s too late.
To understand how it all came about, the story must begin when two young people meet and fall for one another. Going from past to present, each has a different viewpoint of the facts and how it affected all their lives, along with a few secrets to rile things up a bit more. As seen through each character’s memories, the story unfolds, recounting everything as it happened. In the end, will forgiveness prevail or will the sins of the mothers be passed on?
This is a very complicated story and it starts out by giving the reader a glimpse of what each character is feeling right now, after years of living with the mistakes made in the past. Then it goes back into the past, retold by each character so the reader follows as the family unravels. Can a woman and her child be instrumental in getting to the truth?
A love story more than a romance with some deep sadness at times, WITH ALL MY LOVE delves into an Irish family’s history and how their faith, as well as society, influenced their choices. Good or bad, once the choices are made and hurtful words are spoken, time may or may not heal them in the future. Although a big part of this novel can be very sad, the end is uplifting so it comes full circle.
I found this novel hard to read at times because it is so emotionally charged. The descriptive passages slowed down my ability to read, then I’d hit a sad part and I’d have to take a break to read something faster and lighter. The vernacular is Irish so if you’re not used to reading contemporary Irish books, then you may need to look up some phrases used in the dialogue but I feel it added to the authenticity of the story and the years that transpired, giving me the flavor I crave.
WITH ALL MY LOVE is good women’s fiction that explores family dynamics in Ireland at a time when society was much stricter with the roles it expected of men and women. Patricia Scanlan paints a vivid portrayal of the tightknit fishing communities and their decedents, including all the joys and trials of coming home and accepting life as it has been dealt with love and understanding.
Reviewed by Dorine, courtesy of Romance Junkies.
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