Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Book Review: "All for One" by Melody Carlson

Summary from BN.com: Life is heating up for the four Lindas—and it’s not just hot flashes! Abby’s losing sleep over her husband’s health and neglecting her bed-and-breakfast dreams. Caroline may have waited too long to put her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mom in a care facility. Marley’s hard-won independence is threatened by her grown son’s neediness. And Janie’s having a hard time being everyone’s rock as the relationship she counted on falters. Add to that a house fire, a missing set of dishes, a bully brother, plus a half-crazy blonde named Donna, and things get really complicated. But with each new twist their lives take, the Lindas are learning that good friends are the best family a girl can have.

Out of all the books in the series so far, this one I felt was the best at finally giving each woman their own storyline that was unique and interesting. The Four Lindas spend time together and help each other out, yet each has a distinctive voice and character that sets them apart from each other. Even though these women are in their 50s and closer to my mom's age vs. mine, I really enjoyed reading about them. The age difference doesn't really matter because Carlson puts these women in situations that can happen to women at any age, but does give it a different spin due to the generation that they are in. It's fun to see women in their 50s still dating and NOT always being grandmothers.

In the past, Marley's story has been sort of lackluster for me at least compared to the other women. However this book gives her more dimension. While I didn't find her romance with Jack to be very interesting, her relationship with her son caught my interest. Ashton is gay. He's one of the few gay characters I've seen introduced in Christian fiction and I'm really glad that Carlson does not present him in a stereotypical way. Marley accepts him for who he is and loves him 100%. She does not condemn him at all and neither does she tolerate people who do. I found it interesting during a Bible study in the story where the topic of homosexuality comes up, based on the members' divide in opinions, Marley comes to the conclusion that things are not going to be black and white and that she'll wait for God to help her understand it instead of choosing a position right now.

Janie's story involving Victor and his crazy ex wife drove me a bit batty. One, I do not understand why Janie chose to stay somewhat committed to Victor after he told her his ex-wife was coming back to town to reconcile their marriage AND stay in his house. Did I mention that she was crazy? Because Donna was a bit delusional throughout the entire book. I certainly would have not had the patience Janie had, in fact I probably would have dumped Victor the second he told me about her arrival. I did find the resolution to this situation to be really interesting because it went the complete opposite of how other Christian fiction books would have handled it.

Caroline's story involving her mother comes to a close and it's bittersweet. Her brother comes back into her life and the revelations that happen there are a bit startling. It's scary to think that how parents treat their children and invoke favoritism can really ruin a child's perceptive on things and haunt them for the rest of their life. Abby's story this time came across as a bit boring. She's rather annoying in this book and I didn't really feel that her relationship with her husband progressed as much.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I feel that each book is getting better and better in the series as we learn more about the four Lindas. Carlson's writing is spot on and I really love how she tackles subjects and situations that most Christian authors won't dare to touch. She puts her characters in realistic situations and lets them figure the ending in a completely believable way. As this is the third book in the series, I highly insist that you read the other two books before reading this one. To read this as a stand alone is too confusing as there are many back stories that continue from the previous books. I know that I will be looking forward to it and hope that other authors and publishers will see that readers DO like books with realistic situations that don't always end up tidy.

All for One by Melody Carlson is published by David C. Cook (2011)

This ARC was provided by a publicist

Other books in the Four Lindas series that I've reviewed:

As Young as We Feel (Book 1)
Hometown Ties (Book 2)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting storyline with the son in light of everything you've been talking about -- glad to see it! :)

    ReplyDelete

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