So if you’ve been following my blog for a long time you’ll know I’m doing my own little blog challenge this year…my Mum’s Must Reads Challenge. Each month my mum, who’s really into books herself, recommends me a book to read. March’s book was With All My Love by Patricia Scanlan, so let’s get into the review…
With All My Love at it’s core examines the effect that secrets and lies can have on three generations of women in a family. It has twists turns and more than a few surprises. It really wrenches on your heart strings and as a book I probably wouldn’t pick up myself, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
My mum did originally give me the print book but as I was in the thick of university assessments, I decided to get it on audible. This was a really interesting change because it made the book feel almost like a TV series. It flowed like episodes between the different perspectives and times and made for a really enjoyable read.
For the most part we follow Valerie and her relationship with Jeff in Ireland in the 80s. I really enjoyed reading about when they were both young, it felt really nostalgic and the author really captured the feel of what I perceive the 80s to be like in her writing. The book spans a good fifty years, so you really get involved in the characters and their life and I suppose it’s that, that makes the book feel like a TV show. You see not only Jeff and Valerie struggling as a young couple but also their parents struggling with the repercussions of that relationship.
The novel jumps in time and the parts that are set in the “present” day are set in a gorgeous sunny Spanish resort, which only adds to the enjoyment of the reading experience. Though the jumps in time can get confusing at times, trying to keep on track with who is who and what stage their relationship is at at that given time.
A lot of the characters were unlikable, though I think this was the author’s intention. It added an interesting dimension whee you were wondered whether the different characters’ morals right or not, with each character flipping your opinion with each flip f a page, the action was near enough impossible to guess.
I have to say, for me, the book did drag a bit. It seemed to span such a vast amount of time, that sometimes the substance of the story was a little lost on me. I think this is more to do with my personal lack of experience of this particular genre, not the author’s writing. In fact, Patricia Scanlan has the ability to let you sink out of your reality into a new one, which I really appreciated! There was one big issue I had with a very spoilery spoiler where I didn’t like it’s execution and for that reason, my rating for this book suffers a bit.
However, if this is the sort f book you enjoy reading, pick it up as I am sure you will love it! It certainly has a lot of tension, drama and secrecy, I have to say!
An intense, homely and addictive novel with characters you will love to hate.
Thank you lovelies and happy reading! ox