BOOK CLUB: With All My Love

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Author: Patricia Scanlan
ISBN: 978-1-47111-077-1
RRP: $24.99

Patricia Scanlan is the author of many Number One bestsellers and this one is sure to join them in that list. I was not familiar with the author or her work before picking up With All My Love and I must say that I’m glad we have had this introduction.

I laughed, I smiled, I cried and I choked back the tears. I was heart broken and I was awash with the warm and fuzzies. This is a book that I wish I could have hidden away from the world with for an afternoon; with a large, hot coffee and a packet of chips. I think I would have devoured it in an afternoon if I had a distractionless one.

Much of the story is told in flash-back and memories of Valerie as we learn of the events leading up to the cataclysmic, and quite possibly catastrophic, discovery of a letter in an old photo album. I did find that the timeline of the story jumped around quite a bit so I had to really immerse myself to be sure I would know exactly where I was.

With All My Love beautifully demonstrates many of the different issues that women face in their role as mother, and the way that things have changed for women through the generations.

I really love the way that Scanlan explores the cyclical nature of history and the effect it has on her characters, and the follow on effects that carry through the generations.

The book begins with Briony and her young daughter Katie adjusting to some fabulous new lifestyle changes that have been thrust upon them due to economic uncertainty. Briony has always been a working career mum so when she is made redundant with a four year old daughter it is cause for many mixed feelings. This enforced unemployment has granted her the blessing of time with her rapidly growing daughter, a blessing that is irreplaceable and priceless – even though it means giving lots of extra analysis to every shopping choice and the placement of every purchase on the priority list.

with all my love

Briony and Katie are helping Valerie, Briony’s mum, settle in to her villa in Spain when Briony comes across an old letter addressed to her. A letter that is set to change everything, but will it tear the family further asunder or begin to repair some of the cracks…

At this point Valerie loses her battle with the memories of the past and we follow most of the events that brought us to this point through those memories. The timeline shifts from the present rift between Valerie and Briony to the events that brought them to this.

Valerie’s memories transport us back to the early 1980’s in Ireland where it was a very different time, more liberated than the generations preceding Valerie’s but still a far cry from the freedoms we enjoy today. We see a young couple struggle through many of the issues faced by young people still today, but these days they don’t face the added societal pressures that were present in the early 1980’s.

If we didn’t already know a little about how things turn out, there are stages throughout the book that make you think it will all work out and everyone will get their happily ever after. The traditional happily ever after is out of reach but that isn’t to say that these strong yet vulnerable women won’t make a happily ever after all of their own.

Scanlan explores the insecurities and hidden vulnerabilities of these three women beautifully, capturing the beauty in even their brashness. I could look at each woman objectively and come to my own conclusions about their culpability.

Perspective is a beautiful gift and it is often a gift bestowed only in hindsight, as Valerie discovers rather painfully. Every action has consequences and if you don’t consider those consequences when you make your decision it could haunt you for a very long time.

There were times I could not bring myself to agree with the actions of any of the main characters but I could still empathise with them and feel where they were coming from.

Another major aspect of this book is one that my mother would absolutely love, but that isn’t for everyone. Scanlan has not really utilised traditional religion in With All My Love but she certainly addresses a more spiritual side of life. It is not something that is omnipresent throughout the entire novel because much of the story takes place in flash-backs where Valerie and Jeff were together and happily in love even if things weren’t quite perfect.

There is great emphasis placed, in relevant sections, on the fact that we aren’t alone and that those we’ve loved and lost aren’t gone from us forever. They remain around us and we will know they are there if only we pay attention to the signs. I love this way of looking at things but I know that not everyone holds the same opinion.

Immerse yourself in Rockland’s and Dublin, get to know Valerie and Tessa as you follow their trail of heartache and spite all the while cheering them on to what you can’t help but hope will be a happy ending.

I recommend you go out and get yourself a copy of With All My Love, it has so much to offer. The story is an emotional roller coaster with a little bit of intrigue and a lot of heart, it speaks to the protective nature of every mother and those of us who have lost someone close that need a quiet reminder that they are always near.

41 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: With All My Love

  1. An interactive novel, as I found part of me in some of the characters. I don’t know if I would have gone as far as some of them as it’s not in my nature, but I wish I could have at times. I found I could relate and it had me riveted from the start.

  2. You have certainly inspired me to go searching for this novel and read it Michelle. It certainly sounds like a book that I would love.
    I have to say Michelle, you certainly captured my attention with your last paragraph…..reaching for a tissue now as it struck a chord with me.

    1. Thanks Mandy50,
      I am thrilled to know my review has had that effect and if that paragraph struck a chord then i would definitely recommend this book.

  3. I dont tend to get emotional reading books but for some reason I felt teary on a few occassions reading this book.
    I did enjoy the story line but sometimes found myself re-reading sections to try and understand the point the author was trying to make.
    Having said that it was an addictive read that provided me with much enjoyment.
    Should you be looking for a story that will capture your imagination and make you feel something more than the average chick-lit book – then this is the book for you. x

  4. Thank goodness that I received this book on the Friday of a long weekend! This is a great big sweeping and riveting story of three strong women and the choices they make and the consequences that follow. I loved the Valerie’s story from the 1980s (I was so there and it reminded me how far we have come!) as well as story and perspective of Tessa and most interestingly of Jeff, Lorcan and Terrence.

    This is a great great book. Perfect way to relax on a weekend or any time. Highly recommended – I will definitely be reading more of Patricia Scanlans novels!

  5. Gosh I have to say this is really THE best book I have read in quite a while. I so much related to the people in this book and some of the things that were said by the grandmother I remember being said to me as a child by my own Nan as in “when it thunders it’s just God moving his furniture around ” lol.

    I absoloutely adored this book and can’t praise it enough, it will be a well kept favourite of mine for a very long time. Anyone thinking of reading this book will not be disappointed…a fantatic read.

  6. This book focuses on the lives of three women. Tessa, mother to Valerie’s husband Jeff and grandmother of Briony, Valerie, loud and boisterous but with a huge heart and her daughter, Briony who had no idea why contact with her paternal grandparents has been lost. I found the story a little slow to start and follow but as it developed it all started to make sense the book itself was hard to put down.

    With All My Love is a bit of an emotional roller coaster one minute everyone’s over the moon and the next you find yourself in tears for one of the characters. This is a bit of a tear jerker so best have the Kleenex ready as the plot unfolds on a family torn apart by a festering tangle of secrets and lies.

    Scanlan is without a doubt a very talented writer with a flair at keeping you guessing right to the very end. I had no problem escaping reality while reading this book, I could even have been a character in the book as I found myself being reminded of fond 80’s memories of my own! Glittery boob tubes, Queen singing We Will Rock You, and Charlie perfume seeps of 70’s and 80’s vibes!

    The book deals wonderfully with parental love, the overpowering love a parent has for their child and also the bonds of families. It is beautifully written in such a way that I think everyone will be able to relate to something or someone in the novel.

  7. What a mind blowing read. While at first I had issues with keeping the characters straight in my mind I found myself coming to an undestanding of what eachof three generation of women experienced personally and as part of each others lives – the roles they played. I often found myself in tears as revelations and the unexpected death of a much loved partner came to light. As an adult Briony fins a letter addressed to her – she was denied a precious relationship with her fathers parents when her mother Valerie took her away. Lives of three generations are dramatically changed when the past is revisited and trruth comes to light. What was a world of secrets,betrayals and sacrifices each woman finds themselves understanding the why’s and hows. This novel reveals a lesson that eventually love and forgiveness is all that matters.

  8. When I finally got the chance to get into the rhythm of this book I liked it, as I enjoy reading it was something new with each turn of the page, for some reason this book was a little hard to get into at first and I had to take a few goes at reading the first chapter before fell in love or at least like with the characters.

    The writing style was good and it flowed easily I’d recommend this book and give it a 4 out of 5

  9. I enjoyed reading this emotional and heart wrenching novel.
    The way the author developed the characters by allowing the reader to hear their voice and point of view, allowed me to better understand their actions and behaviours.
    It is a tragic story one filled with sadness and grief. At the same time it is also a story of love and hope.
    I have recently lost a loved one and could relate to the pain some of the characters had suffered. Also the idea that everything happens for a reason and our loved ones who have passed are watching us, had struck a cord within me.
    The novel deals with intense issues and explores both the good and bad aspects of life in a warm and engaging platform.

  10. I certainly found this book very difficult to put down and really enjoyed reading it. Definitely needed a box of tissues as the plot unfolded – there were quite a number of very emotional moments.

    The three women, Valerie, Briony and Tessa were all quite strong characters and there were many times I felt sorry for each of them.

    For Briony to be deprived of seeing her paternal grandparents for so many years as a result of the altercation between Valerie and Tessa after Briony’s father Jeff died suddenly was terrible. I am sure that a lot of families could relate to family disputes like this.

    I loved the way the author Patricia Scanlan incorporated that lost love ones are not gone from us forever and that we only need to look for signs to know that – this I know is not everyone’s belief.

    The flash-backs in the novel helped the story to unfold and to really know the characters.

    I really liked the ending with Briony re-uniting with her paternal grandparents and with Valerie finally knowing that Briony’s father really did love her and if he hadn’t died would have proposed to her.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity read this wonderful novel.

  11. This was a really enjoyable read, but “With All My Love” also had some aspects which really annoyed me.

    First, the positives: this was written in an easy and contemporary style which made the pages just fly by. There was some odd slang used – I assume it was Irish specific – but it was clear enough what was meant. Although the first chapter was a little awkward in dumping a great deal of background information rather than integrating it into the story or action, this soon ceased to be a problem and the rest of the novel flowed very well.

    The characters were extremely well drawn. Although Valerie and Tessa were at each other’s throats for much of the novel, it was easy to empathise with both and understand both sides of the story. Each of the minor characters came to life and was an individual. These were mostly females, the males in this story were almost asides compared to the main story of the relationships between women; but the men were still drawn vividly even where their parts were small.

    This was largely a story about relationships, with a fairly slender plot beyond that. That still made for an interesting story that rang true, and one which a lot of people will empathise with. Not many people carry their conflicts to the extent Tessa and Valerie did, but I’ll bet most people have experienced at least some part of their frustrations with one of their own relatives. If you haven’t already looked at the other side of the story, this novel will prompt you to do so.

    The negatives? I’ve lost a child, and I find the people who prattle on about “everything happens for a reason” highly offensive. Even in a novel I find it makes me want to smack the speaker. And in a similar fashion, I’m not keen on the “they’re always here somewhere” stuff. It grates. For that reason, there were some parts of the novel that turned me off completely. And I think it would have been a stronger book without the epilogue – this was totally unnecessary for the story, didn’t add much, and for people like me, was an active turn off.

    In addition, there were some plot points that were incredibly obvious, and even clichéd – I saw Tessa’s final revelation to Valerie coming about 300 pages earlier. This didn’t really impact on the readability of the novel, but I suspect it will mean I won’t find it all that memorable in the long run.

    But on the whole this was an engaging and readable novel; a fairly light read, but an enjoyable one. People who enjoy novels which focus on relationships will get a lot out of this.

  12. I found With All My Love to have an engaging plot and many complex characters but felt the writing style was a bit rigid and formal for the storyline and context. The landscape descriptions were beautifully written. I found the story dragged towards the end, it could have been written just as well if it was 50 or so pages shorter but it was an interesting story of how the life events of generations before can very much shape the lives of generations to come. I enjoyed the character of Lizzie, she added humour and light, I thought more could have been done with Finn’s character because he was brought into the story when Briony rang him to talk about what had happened in Spain but then his character didn’t evolve and could have been more involved in the final scenes of family reunion. I did like the way all of the characters were resolved at the end of the story, particularly Terence who obviously had the villain role. Overall, I found the book to be a pleasant read.

  13. This beautifully written book had me mesmerised from the start. I loved that each chapter was written from a point of view of each character as I got to know everyone and their reasons behind their actions. That is probably why I needed a box of tissues as I got emotionally involved in the saga that spanned over three decades.
    As in real life not all is rosy and the family dynamics are complex, I could understand how paths that most characters made could be reached. In most I mean I never understood how a father could disown his daughter but it happens and I only felt sorry for Valerie’s father and the lonely path he chose through his pride. Lorcan on the other hand was the father in law every girl dreams of.
    I could relate to amazing Lizzie, the best friend anyone could ever have, as she opened Valerie to the beauty of spirituality and life after death which gave this storyline a touch of magic.
    The point where Valerie and Tessa come to the realisation that in hurting each other they cost themselves suffering is compelling. I was relieved that they finally chose to forgive and unite the family after understand the struggles each faced those decades ago.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this beautiful novel which I wish never did end.

  14. What a welcoming surprised to be asked to be part of the book lcub for this gorgeous book With all My Love.

    What an interactive story, I found myself slipping into the characters, this made is so hard to put this book down. Many nights i was up very late wanting to know what was on the next page.

    I adore how the author Patricia Scanlan has brought in the story of lost loves but they never leave us. This is something that is quite dear to my heart, from loosing close ppl in my life way too soon.

    Thank you beauty and lace for making me fall in love with the written word. Really looking forward to one day being picked again!

  15. This was certainly a page turner! Full of emotion, it takes the reader into the world of the protagonists and you really feel as if you are there living it with them.

    I think the author really understood how to to make all of her characters sympathetic even those who made wrong choices and made us the reader realise that there is always two sides to every story.

    A really beautiful story, it made me reflect on my own personal relationships and it was quite therapeutic in that sense.

    Patricia Scanlon is an excellent writer and I can’t wait to go on to read her other books which I’ve missed out on previously.

  16. Thankyou B&L for the opportunity to read this story. I haven’t read anything by Patricia Scanlan before but I did enjoy reading this book.

    This story showed how complex family relationships can be and how it doesn’t take a lot to drive a wedge between family members, that unfortunately can carry on for generations. I found I could relate to many of the characters’ feelings and ideas and I believe that everyone who reads this book will be able to relate to at least one of the characters.
    I love the way Patricia allowed me to see life through each characters perspective, it helped me to get to know each person on a more personable level. Valerie and Tessa are both so much alike, both pig-headed with too much pride. And I could see and understand some of their reasoning for what each lady did. Tessa was too nosey and pushy and should’ve taken a step back and there was no excuse for her not informing and giving Valerie back the ring Jeff had intended for her, it could’ve saved years of lost relationships. I understand why Valerie wanted Tessa out of her life but to do that to Lorcan was unfair.
    I enjoyed reading and seeing Jeff and Valerie’s relationship unfold in my mind, their ups and downs, the love and neediness of Valerie and the trapped feeling from Jeff of being in a commitment with marriage and child.
    So many complex relationships; Valerie and Jeff and the uncertainty between the two and Tessa and Lorcan had the same type of uncertainty between them – although more on Tessa’s side than Lorcan’s. The relationship between Valerie and her father was tempestuous at best. Tessa and Valeries’ relationship of jealousy and protectiveness and stubborness. Carmel and Terence’s relationship was lacking in many things – unbeknownst to anyone Terence had gone through tough times when he was younger. The relationship between Valerie and her own daughter Briony was built on lies. I enjoyed reading everyone’s relationship problems and the whys and hows of them all. One relationship that stood out as a positive influence was Valeries’ long lasting, trusting friendship with her best friend Lizzie, her solid rock in life.
    The story flowed along perfectly, gathering momentum as it travelled along, peeling back the layers of each character. The last 1/4 of the book I I bawled like a baby on and off, I found the events so touching and my heart went out to Valerie, Tessa and Lorcan especially for losing one of the people they loved most in this World.
    I loved how the story played on the belief that Jeff was still around and that at certain times during Valeries, Lizzie’s, Tessa’s and Lorcan’s lives magical and unexplained events would occur that would allow them to feel Jeff still with them, I loved this as I myself believe in this……it gave them all hope.
    It is very sad to know that if it wasn’t for Briony stumbling upon the long lost letter from Tessa, things may never have changed and grandparents and granddaughter may never have gotten to know each other and repair their lost bond. But it was in the finding of this letter that the healing began to occur, Valerie had to give Briony the truth so Briony could make up her own mind. And it was around this stage in life that Valerie had begun to feel guilty about what she had done, as Briony had her own daughter, Katie, who Valerie adored and she realised how heartbroken she would be if Katie was taken away from her. Briony made her mind up to seek out the loving Grandparents she had once known and I cried so much when they met up again at the cemetery, Patricia decsribed the emotion packed interlude perfectly.
    I fell in love with Lorcan during this story, OMG..what an amazing, patient, gentle and kind man. He never held a grudge towards anyone and was always the go-between and peace-maker, he had the ability to diffuse any situation. I would love to met Lorcan in real life!
    The end of the book was beautiful….everything came together, walls came down and truces were made. It was a very poignant moment when Valerie and Tessa finally said genuine kind words to one another and could be honest to each other about how wrong they both were…..the moment when Tessa produced the engagement ring to Valerie and Valerie placed it on her finger and the flowers from above shook free from their branches and danced lightly around the womens shoulders…..a true sign of Jeff’s spirit still being around. A moment he would’ve revelled in.

    Awesome story…I truly loved it and I am passing it on to my Mum to read tomorrow, she will love the story too and I know she will relate, especially to Carmel having Alzheimer’s – my Mum’s Dad had Alzheimer’s before he passed and it was a very difficult time for Mum, and even though I KNOW she will shed tears, I still believe it will be healing for her to read.

  17. Well, I seem to have missed something that other readers have written about. I found it quite difficult at times to follow. I enjoyed the characters and their different personalities, that shines thru, but I had to reread certain parts as it jumped around a bit.

    I thought the guts of the story was excellent but the writing style somehow let it down and I cant quite put my finger on it, other than to say it became a bit tedious at times.

    I could relate and understand certain events but overall I was disappointed especially as the front cover stated ‘like being enfolded in a hug’. I thought that bitterness and anger became more prominante and this was quite repetative. It just wasnt what I expected.

  18. Thank you for giving me a chance to read this book as I probably would not have picked it out to read myself. It struck a chord with me as I had a very similar relationship with my mother in law as Valerie did with Tessa at the beginning of our relationship. I was getting angry as much as Valerie towards Tessa and it brought up feelings that I had long left in the past. Scanlan has put across emotions in this book so well that you can feel them yourself. The storyline of this book could be a story from so many people’s own families and I think that is why this book is just so good. This is the kind of story we all carry around but hate to talk about, it’s just so real. Scanlan has a really smooth writing style that I found flowed so well. I loved it and will be seeking out more of her books.

  19. Thank you for giving me another amazing book to read.

    ‘The lives of three generations or women will change forever as the past is revisited and the truth unfolds.’ Yes that does happen but the change that does occur is a very small part written near the end of the book. I was expecting that the whole story was going to be about the change and was surprised that it wasn’t.
    ‘Secrets, lies, betrayals and sacrifes’- Makes it sound like a very scandalous delicious story with these things flowing out from the pages, but it’s not as bad as it seems. All these things are rolled into one and are really the whole reasoning of the book.

    I don’t think the back blurb does actually give a good indication of the story. I doubt whether I would have picked it up based on the back blurb. So glad I was given this to read.

    It begins with Briony visiting her mum and discovering a letter that lets her realise that all those years ago her Grandparents did want to see her, which is not what her mother had let her think. So begins the betrayal or was it just really a heartbroken woman trying to survive on her own.
    I felt that this was going to be a story about Briony and was a bit miffed when it suddenly went to Valerie and Tessa and Lorcan, Carmel and Terence, and Lizzie and Jeff. I kept wondering when it was going back to Briony which is just a little bit nearer the end of the book. That may just be something I got into my head.
    The most amazing story is told as Valerie goes back through her life and we are held captive by the most amazing story of love and survival. Each side clinging desperately to love and happiness.
    I felt like Valerie herself was sitting there with me telling me her story full of love and romance and broken hearts and wrongful decisions.
    This is the most beautiful story of a mothers love from 3 different sides. At times I found myself wondering what I would have done in the same situation.
    I laughed and smiled and felt the rush of love when her baby was born and I cried, oh boy did I cry at certain moments. I had to stop reading to finish crying and then read through tear filled eyes.
    Every woman will love this story as it is so touching and honest and soul searching.

  20. Arm yourself with tissues and settle down for a great read. This is a compelling novel about three generations of strong-minded women. I just loved the wonderful characters Patricia Scanlan created. They make you want to laugh and cry with them as they come to terms with their past actions and finally come together as a family.

    Put simply a beautifully told heart-warming story which I really enjoyed and found hard to put down.

  21. With All My Love; Patricia Scanlan.
    What a lovely story of friendship, love, loss and family relationships.
    This beautifully written story spans three generations of women tied together through the love of one man. Jeff Egan is the son of Tessa, father of Briony and partner but not husband of Valerie.
    Tessa is bitter and vindictive not allowing herself to let go of Jeff, even in death. She adores her Granddaughter, Briony, but refuses to accept Valerie, the girl who becomes pregnant with her son’s child.
    Valerie carries the stigma of being an unmarried mother throughout her adult life.
    The behaviour of Tessa after Jeff’s death, saying unnecessary and unforgiveable things to Valerie leads to Valerie cutting Jeff’s parents out of hers and Briony’s lives.
    Briony, with her own daughter, finds a letter from Tessa and so begins the unravelling of a mother/daughter relationship.
    The past has to be faced.
    I can sympathise with Valerie and the position she took after Jeff’s death. I could not accept under any circumstances, the way Tessa treated Valerie then refused to accept that she had been at fault in any way.
    The way the relationship issue is played out and resolved is beautifully written. It is fitting that Tessa’s husband, Lorcan, Briony’s Grandfather and one of the few members of Jeff’s family to accept Valerie isn’t left to grieve what could have been in the later stages of his life.
    My only concern with the way the story develops is that it is almost predictable. That said, the way the book is written more than makes up for that possible minor flaw.
    The book begins its conclusion with the release of all the bitterness that had caused so much sadness and anxiety, For a book to be so heavy with sadness but also so uplifting is great testiment to the beautifully written text.
    I wasn’t familiar with Patricia Scanlan but I will definitely look for other works of hers.
    I really am delighted to have been selected to read and review this book and say a sincere Thank You to Beauty and Lace.

  22. Firstly, thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this book:D

    This is a book that is a bit a tear jerker in places…
    so, get the tissues!!! hahaha
    It really did hit a nerve. Im sure everyone knows of someone with a similar story to one of these characters. Although in saying that families do seem to keep secrets so, maybe not everybody knows their family secret yet!! 🙂
    The woman are all lovely characters and you can relate to them quite easily. At times I didn’t agree with some of the decisions they made but, I understood why they made them.
    I did enjoy reading this book and I did find it hard to put down but, I did think it was a little drawn out in some places. You just want to keep reading to find answers to questions that you end up having.
    I haven’t read anything by this author before but, I will have a look at one of her previous books….and I do look forward to her next novel.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace
    Patricia Scanlan…. 😀 <3

  23. Take a trip in a time warp as “With all my love” takes you from the present, to the past and back and forth in the perspectives of main characters, Valerie, her partner, Jeff, his mother and father, Tessa and Lorcan and her parents, Carmel and Terrance.

    Time heals all wounds, if you would let it, and this story tells of a long time feud between Valerie and Tessa that impacted on Valerie’s daughter Briony, as well as Lorcan.

    A child born out of wedlock as an unexpected “blessing” from an unexpected pregnancy found Valerie and Jeff in an a position neither thought would be their fate. The controversy of getting pregnant in the 1980’s, without first having been married, brings about circumstances they could not have foreseen.

    Although wanting to do the right thing Jeff and Valerie did not marry before the birth of their daughter, this being at the suggestion of Tessa. Causing the underlying issue between Valerie and Tessa, forcing them both to make bad decisions, compounded by the untimely death of vibrant Jeff and angers and irrationalities surrounding his death. Valerie found the only solution was removal of herself and young daughter, Briony, from the lives of Tessa and Lorcan and the memories of Jeff and the past, causing the deepest rift in a family that should have grieved together.

    An unexpected find, Briony learns from a letter that the loss of her grandparents was due to decisions made by her young mother. Angered by this Briony unknowingly almost makes the same bad decision as her mother and sends us into the time warp of the memories flooding by Valerie as she replays her turbulent past. How do you make up for the decisions of the past, especially when these decisions affect those you love in the harshest ways?

    Tugging at the heart strings, Patricia Scanlan makes the cases for each of her characters. Brings you close to each and makes you feel their pain, their anger and their desperations. Not all stories have a happy ending, and this is in many ways one of these stories. While the past is forgiven, much was lost between the families that could never be retrieved.

    “With all my love” is a good read for a rainy day, curled up with a nice warm drink and food to soothe the soul.

  24. First of all, thank you so much Beauty and Lace for allowing me to review this book. It was a really good read which I would recommend. I did feel it was abit long with 504 pages, it could have been shorter, but it was full of great drama and intrigue.
    Initially I thought the book was a little slow to start off, but when it did take off it left me enthralled.
    The story revolves mainly around Valerie, Tessa, Jeff and Briony and Lorcan, Lizzie, Carmel and Terence play a significant part.
    One thing I don’t particularly like in novels is when it goes from the future and then suddenly flashbacks to the past but the author somehow managed to pull it off overall quite well.
    Much of the book sees Valerie and Tessa at each others throats and begins with Briony finding a letter written to her from her grandmother Tessa and that is when all the family issues from the past begin to surface and unravel.
    Considering the rocky relationship that existed between Tessa and Valerie, I found their characters very much alike in that they were two Alpha type females, both hotheads and both had the same situations with unexpected pregnancies as well as their unconditional love for Jeff and how their worlds were shattered after his death.
    In some instances I did feel sorry for each of them and what they went through, other times the opposite.
    I felt for Briony’s character who was kept in the dark by her mother and deprived of knowing her grandparents when she was younger on her father’s side.
    I loved Lorcan and Lizzie’s characters who kept an unbiased view on the issues surrounding the family and had everyones best interests at heart and wanting to help in terms of a reconciliation. Carmel was also a very good, kind and loving mother to Valerie and also had a level head and was loyal to her daughter.
    Terence really gave Valerie a hard time and I could understand why she didn’t respect him but I got the feeling he did love his daughter deep down. Briony’s daughter Katie was humorous throughout up until the meeting with her great-grandparents.
    I really like the idea of signs left by people who have passed. I could relate as I have found the same thing with people close to me who have passed away.
    I loved that the main characters made their peace with each other and even Valerie with Terence.
    I thought the Prologue and Epilogue were wonderful. The Prologue surrounding itself with the leadup to Jeff’s death and the Prologue focusing on Katie’s newborn baby Jeff and that of his grandfather Jeff and great grandfather Terence who had passed on, that was very touching.

  25. Let me start by saying “Wow” what an amazing book, I laughed I cried and I was shocked. Patricia Scanlan wrote an amazing insight into how a family can get it so wrong. A powerful book that delves into the darkness of death, revenge and peace. I found many parts as a single mother that I could relate to and for someone to be able to capture those feelings and put them into words and build a remarkable story is pure genius. The characters were so real the descriptions so true that you could see it all playing out right in front of you. Patricia Scanlan was able to take each character and give them an identity that suited their part in the story. The way she was able to weave the deceit and lies and final betrayal of the “secret ring” was amazing and then to draw a full circle and use this to mend broken hearts was true delight.
    I felt the story line was well paced and each chapter left you wanting to read more. The insight and reflections into the past had the right balance which gave you enough insight into what had happened to appreciate the present day situations being faced by each character. I liked that Patricia did not dwell on Tessa and what was happening in the lost years and made more of the focus on the main characters Valerie and Briony.
    I can truly say that this has been only one of a few books that I have read lately that has NOT left me wanting and asking what happened at the end. I was an amazing journey from the first date to the birth of the second child. Pure brilliance.
    I have recommended this book to my friends and the wider public it takes on a subject and explores the depths of what a human heart and mind can endure and survive. I will look forward to reading more of Patricia Scanlan’s books.

  26. Thank you for the opportunity to read a novel which will now be added to my favorites list! I loved this book. Patricia Scanlan created such diverse but lovable characters, each with their own past and story. I laughed at times, cried with their heartaches, joys & triumphs. Being a mum, I could relate to all the women and the maternal urge to fight for and protect your child. I think this is a novel that can be enjoyed again and again and will definately re-visit this again. Have already passed on to my mum and then my sisters to read. Highly recommended, a great read.

  27. “With All My Love” written by Patricia Scanlan was a gripping novel right from the very start. I was instantly linked to the characters, with the author transforming me into a world where I felt I knew each one of the characters personally. The novel connected me as the reader as it is based on a need that is inside us all, I want to discover our true roots and family history.

    Patricia Scanlan has managed to portray the power of words spoken in anger and the impact they can have on breaking a family apart. The theme of loss is spread across all characters in some form, and the overall direction of the book is towards a families journey to heal.

    The book is cleverly intertwined between past and present tense with the story of each character being developed and understanding created for the reader regarding why certain characters feel so strongly regarding a specific opinion.

    I enjoyed getting to know each character especially the strong willed female characters of Tessa, Valerie and Briony. I am thankful that I was given the opportunity to add this book to my collection, I will definitely source out other Patricia Scanlan books to read in the future. The warmth of the author shone through this book from start to finish and I found it perfect to read alongside a big mug of tea.

  28. Hi All. I enjoyed reading “With all my love”but I would not say it was my favourite. Cathy Kelly’s quote on the front cover related the book to being enfolded in a hug… sorry I did not feel this. I found it hard to get into and felt the storyline dragged on a little – it took chapters to get a point across, then we went through it all again a few chapters later. I was happy that the final chapters had characters working out their differences, and coming to understanding both their faults and good points. I enjoyed the addition of a prologue and epilogue – helped to bring it all together. Thanks for the opportunity to read ‘With All my Love”.

  29. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Patricia Scanlan for allowing me to read and review this amazing novel and for sharing it’s love with me. <3

    I have not read any other books by Patricia Scanlan, but now I will be keeping a keen eye out for other novels by her next time I am on the hunt. 🙂

    As I delved deep into the book I found myself looking at the cover from time to time and seeing myself as the woman on the cover as I spend a great deal of the toughest time in my life living near a similar looking beach and escaping there. It bought back some very painful memories. But also a sense of peace at how different my life is now and how I somehow got through it and thank god I didn't give up.

    When you find yourself in some way no matter how small relating to the characters, situation, memories and lives it is almost impossible not to get emotionally involved in the story and really feel your own emotions as you read along. As a mother myself and of course many of us are and we all have mothers of our own it is a book most women can easily find some relation to which makes the book all the more enjoyable.

    Another sensational book I will be passing on to my sister and mum to have a read. 🙂

    With All My Love – Thank you! x

  30. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read All My Love .
    This book is about 3 generations of women in the one family , Briony the youngest member of the 3 generations of women finds a long forgotten letter that had been hidden from her by her mother because she did not want her to know what transpired in the relationship between her mother and her grandmother .
    What follows is a story that jumps back and forth in time which is sometimes confusing as the reader .
    Briony has a 4 year old daughter that she does not wish to be put in the same situation as she herself grew up in .
    A very enjoyable read that takes us on an emotional rollercoaster that sometimes takes the reader a little more time to unravel .
    I have a feeling I will perhaps read this book over again to to really absorb the feeling and emotional content of the book . Overall an enjoyable book that needs a little concentration to read

  31. I was delighted to receive this book just in time to take away with me when I ventured off for a three day break. I thought that by the end of my stay away that I would either have the book finished or be close to it but I was very wrong. I had trouble with how much the book jumped from present day and then back in time and I found that even though I was on holiday I keep getting interuptions and I would have to go back and reread a few pages to work out exactly where i was in the story.
    I found that the storyline made me feel very sad and very frustrated at times and i thought it was interesting to see karma come into play.

    The book follows Valerie and her love for her daughter Briony and granddaughter Katie and opens with Briony finding a letter from her Grandmother that gives her information that she had no idea of and so starts the chain of events that rocks Briony and Valeries worlds.

    I felt there was a message in the book that was saying to stop and think before you do something….How would you feel if this was done to you?? Sometimes we do things and dont stop to think until something puts us in a place where a similar things is about to occur in our lives and only then do we think of any hurt or damage that we have caused.

    Although I found that I needed peace and quiet to be able to fully absorb this book, i did enjoy it and even if I struggled to fully understand exactly where some of the main characters were coming from.

    Certainly worth a read if you have a quiet time available to emerse yourself.

  32. Reading All my Love took me on a journey which I thoroughly enjoyed, getting to know the characters, their stories the good times as well as the bad. It made me really think about how well we have things now compared to previous decades.
    I could relate to the characters, coming from a family that has also been known to keep secrets hidden.

    There were many ups and downs and I will most likely read the book again as it is one of those novels that has so much depth that you tend to not absorb it all in the first read.

    A great book, thankyou!

  33. This was my first introduction to patricia scanlans Novel. I must say I was quite impressed and really enjoyed her style of writing.
    With All My Love transported me to the lives of three women three generations apart . I was on a roller coaster ride of emotions ,discovering how complicated the lives of women can be. We as women play an important part in this life and alot goes through behind the scenes of a womens life that cant be seen without a magnifying glass.
    Scanlan took us on a fair few flashbacks of valeries life , I found that I needed to read the book continiuosly without interruption to fully comprehend the story between the flashbacks , however Ijust could not put the book down as Scanlan kept her readers guessing till the end , the mystery kept the story interesting.
    I love how she had a lovely array of characters potrayed in the story,the proud tessa wasthe strongest character in the book in my opinion.
    I quite enjoyed the love relationship between valerie and jeff and admire the simplicity of their love story , and often it made me think that how complicated realtionships can get in this era.
    I quite enjoy reading this book and look forward topicking up more of Patricia scanlan’s novels . Thank you beauty and lace for giving me the opportunity and introduce me to a great author.

  34. I honestly have to go against the rest and say I didn’t enjoy reading this. Which is probably why it has taken me so long to do this review. I didn’t enjoy the style of writing, it seemed to drag on and on. I just wanted to finish it. Whilst I can say this is true, I can also acknowledge that some of the characters had elements which I could see many readers relating to, particularily mothers/older readers.

  35. LOVE this book. I actually could not put it down.
    I did guess that there was an engagement ring in Jeff’s bag that his mother found but did not want to tell Valerie. A good feel good book and a good reminder that our actions would impact future generations.

    I do agree with Sandra above that the writer did drag it on a little. But I guess that would be to do with her style of writing and story telling of what is essentially a “short” story.

    Still enjoyed this read very much. Thanks again!

  36. This novel is an interesting story of interwoven relationships of women of many generations. The characters are interesting, but I struggle with novels that are meant to portray women as strong but instead enforce the stereotype that women are highly irrational. I usually love stories about relaionships and I don’t need the drive of an active plot, but this novel is too cliche for me and too ‘girly’ in a way that I, as a real live, rational woman cannot relate to.

  37. To be honest, when I began reading this book I thought it was going to be overly descriptive with far to many big words to concentrate on. That was the first impression I got, but as we delved into the story or Valerie’s past with Jeff it settled and I was drawn into their world, picturing their homes, their lives and their stories. I felt drawn to the characters. I really wanted Valerie to tell Tessa where to go and to mind her own business (which for the time it was set, was not going to happen lol).
    Sometimes it was not an easy read – I felt a bit lost. But if I listened to the accents and felt their emotions, I could really immerse myself and I honestly ended up enjoying this book and will be sure to read it again.
    For some to read it may be a bit much – sometimes we need to escape into a good book and the author can easily take us there, sometimes we have to pull ourselves into the story and help the author out. Probably not the book for easy escapism, although once involved, like I said I did enjoy it.

  38. Wow such a heart felt book. Amazing as to what lengths some characters go to. I found my self reflecting on situations and now wished I had the strength to speak up a bit more on certain issues too. Very close to home. A great read.

  39. I found this an absolutely fantastic novel and I really struggled to put it down. I found it very interesting and I cant say there was any ‘boring bits’! I will definitely be recommending it to others 🙂

  40. Thanks Beauty and Lace for letting my read this wonderful book, With All My Love. It started out being Briony’s story but quickly turned back a decade or so to her mother’s story of teenage growing up and trying to break free from a hard father and a mother that didn’t or couldn’t stand up for herself or her child. The story progressed and held my interest with the in-laws and the kindness of the father-in-law and the stance the mother-in-law took until it is finally revealed, well you have to read the book for the hook.
    Thoroughly enjoyed and would love to review another.

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