All We Have is Now by Kaneana May is an entertaining and moving story of three women facing the kinds of challenges and complications that many people will come across in their lives. It is generally realistic and grounded while taking an optimistic view of life, despite the vivid portrayal of grief.
Elsie, Bree and Olive have just opened Healing Hands, their dream business. Working out of a converted home, Healing Hands is a wellness centre designed to help people physically and emotionally. The three of them are good at their jobs, and the centre is soon flourishing.
However, each woman is facing a different set of problems, all of which have the potential to upend their lives.
For Bree, it’s the return of her wayward sister that disrupts her easy life of casual sex and good relationships with family and neighbours. Olive has a secret that she doesn’t want her friends to find out about, and is increasingly preoccupied with her mother’s failing health. And Elsie longs for a baby of her own while navigating life as a stepmother and her husband’s fractious ex.
Most people are likely to have experienced at least one of these problems, or something very close to it. May explores the situations with sensitivity, drawing the reader into her characters’ heads and making you care about them. You may not endorse their choices, but you’ll understand them.
May’s first novel, “The One”, took a lighter approach, but still had something serious to say. Here May has written something closer to a drama. It is not a difficult read despite the more serious approach, and I found much of it absorbing. The writing is well-paced and draws the reader along easily.
About halfway through the novel, a character experiences a significant event (I’m trying not to include spoilers: I think you’ll know when you get to it). This generated my one problem with the novel: the way she is treated in hospital and later by other people is unrealistic.
Despite this, emotions and actions throughout the novel are generally credible and described with considerable empathy, for all the characters. This is one of the strengths of this novel.
Apart from that one incident, I enjoyed this novel immensely. It is a little tough to read in places, given the emotional impact of some of what the characters go through. However, it’s well worth it. May’s approach is broadly optimistic and the novel is extremely satisfying.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and I love sharing that joy.
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, across all genres. There’s not much I won’t at least try. I’ve been an enthusiastic book reviewer for years. I particularly enjoy discovering writers new to me, and sharing good writing with others.
My career has included time spent writing and editing technical documents, but it’s fiction that really moves me. I’ve reviewed for a number of different outlets over the years, and have been a judge in literary competitions.
I’m now raising little bookworms of my own, which brings a whole new kind of joy to sharing books.
More of my reviews can be found on my review blog www.otherdreamsotherlives.home.blog .