My Review – All of You

My Review - All of You - Monzon

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All of You is a dual-timeline romance.

Maryland, Present Day

Jacquelyn Rogers can rebuild anything…except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she’s worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.

After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.

England, 1944

With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.

Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future.

Why This Book:

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra Barela in June at the SoCal Christian Writers Conference where she invited me to join her Celebrate Lit Team. When I saw the opportunity to join a Celebrate Lit tour for Sarah Monzon’s latest book, All of You, I was immediately excited because I had previously read and enjoyed Monzon’s award-winning debut novel, The Isaac Project. Signing on to this tour was a no-brainer.

Opening Line:

Present Day, 100 Miles off the Coast of Virginia

Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington pulled up the zipper of his green flight suit and stared at the mass on the opposite rack.

First Impressions:

As a dual-timeline novel, this book felt as though it had two first chapters – one for each timeline. Starting with the contemporary timeline was a clever move by Monzon since that scene held the most drama. Beyond that, she did an excellent job putting the reader on a naval ship and showing us what it meant to “Finch” to be there. In a very tangible way, it shows the readers exactly what is at stake and leaves us wanting to know what happens next. Monzon’s second chapter, which reads as the first chapter for her historical timeline, has more dialogue and less action, but does a good job introducing us to another main character, Alice Galloway, and getting us settled in the realities of her world. In fact, one of my favorite quotes is from the second chapter:

She peered down the harbor line looking for any evidence that reality wasn’t a nightmare. That the tension-charged air she’d breathed on the voyage and the hushed whisperings of U-boat threats were due to her falling down a rabbit’s hole like the Alice in Lewis Carrol’s storybook.

Characters:

Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington –  A young man who’s grown up knowing exactly where he belongs and what he wants from life . . . until a freak accident forever separates him from everything he wanted and expected. He’s forced to reexamine not only his life’s goals, but his very identity. Anyone who has ever grappled with identifying their purpose in life, or faced unexpected tragedy and struggled to make sense of it, will easily relate to this character.

Jacquelyn “Jack” Rodgers – A confident airplane mechanic who specializes in restoring old planes. Capable of caring for herself, her depressed father, and her older brothers, Jack’s not afraid of much . . . except her abusive ex-boyfriend Mitch Stavros. Wanting to believe she can handle anything, Jack fights her fear and resists the assistance Michael and her family try to offer her.

All of You - Shoe Image Quote

Henry Caldwell – A well-liked, confident newspaper reporter with his own agenda, he is attracted to Alice (and she to him) from the start. He won’t take no for an answer when he asks if he may show her around town. His actions following this show him to be good and noble, but he is often away and an unplanned encounter with Alice threatens to destroy their budding relationship.

Emotional Engagement & Pacing of the Story:

While both timelines have their share of action to propel the reader forward, it’s really the character development that kept me reading – especially as regards the contemporary timeline. The author did an excellent job of giving me enough answers to keep me from feeling frustrated while still leaving me with enough questions that I didn’t want to put the book down.

Elements I especially liked/disliked:

I especially enjoyed the fully-developed characters and watching them grow and change in this book. Michael and Alice were both characters enduring or exploring roles in life which I have not read about before (rehabilitating amputee & WWII female pilot), and I always enjoy uniqueness such as that.

As much as I enjoyed this novel, I must be candid in saying that the scene in the forest between Alice and Henry (and to a lesser extent the events immediately leading up to it) made me cringe a bit. I just didn’t buy it. For two reasons: 1) WWII is definitely not my area of historical expertise and I don’t read a ton of fiction set in WWII, but this particular sequence seemed just a tad beyond my sense of plausibility. That said, sometimes reality defies belief, and I would love to learn there is a historical basis for the events described. 2) I just didn’t buy the way Alice and Henry reacted in this scene and the way it all unfolded between them from that point.

Themes:

For both timelines, there is an overarching theme of self-discovery and finding ones’ purpose in life.

Ending:

As I mentioned above, the WWII timeline lost a little of its shine for me near the end. Those concluding events and reactions just felt a bit too contrived. I also felt Henry and Alice needed more time than they got after that forest scene. However, it was by no means a terrible ending, and I was very pleased with Jack and Michael’s conclusion and how it played out.

Overall Rating:

3 out of 5 stars

BONUS Mini Review:

Although the books in Monzon’s Carrington Family Series can be read as stand alone books, I prefer to read a series in order whenever possible. Therefore, I made a point to read Monzon’s Finders Keepers before reading All of You, and boy am I glad! Finders Keepers was a fun and fast-paced read with some seriously swoon-worthy moments and true heart! I highly recommend it!  (P.S. If you’ve read it, am I the only one who mentally cast Chris Hemsworth as Trent?)

What do you think of dual timeline romance novels? Can you relate to these characters’ struggles to identify their life’s purpose and/or make sense of tragedy?

TWEETABLES:

Relatable characters make sense of tragedy and find their purpose. #BookReview

Character development that keeps you reading. #BookReview

Psst! Feel free to borrow any of the above photos in this post for sharing on social media and remember to tag me @KathleenDenly !

All of you FB banner copy

About the Author

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Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters. When she isn’t in the world of make believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 Selah award for contemporary romance.

Guest Post from Sarah Monzon

I’m so excited to be here today and getting this opportunity to hang out with y’all in this virtual world. If you are anything like me, you devour books faster than my son drinks orange juice (and he really loves orange juice!). Because of that, it is sometimes hard to come across a book with a unique premise or a message that you haven’t seen incorporated a thousand times before. As a writer, I always try to bring something fresh to the table.

In the first book of the Carrington Family Series, Finders Keepers, neither of my characters were Christians. What? No Christians in a Christian fiction novel? Most Christian fiction books usually have at least one or both main characters a Christians. Don’t worry, they both found their way to Jesus. With All of You, however, I wanted to take yet an even different approach.

I’ve ready lots of books where the main character is angry or upset with God for such-and-such thing that happened in his/her life (I’ve even written a character like that), but I hadn’t really read a story about a character that, no matter what life threw at him/her, he/she was going to trust in God no matter what. As a life-long Christian, this is a message I can identify with. The “If not, He is still good” resonation that is sometimes harder to hold on to in the midst of pain and struggles.

So, as with all my books, I hope the freshness of the story and the realness of my characters will inspire and uplift you as you travel along with them on their journey.

God Bless.

Blog Stops

September 12: A Baker’s Perspective

September 12: Quiet Quilter

September 13: Books, Books, and More Books

September 13: Jeanette’s Thoughts

September 14: Cordially Barbara

September 14: Smiling Book Reviews

September 15: Avid Reader Book Reviews

September 15: Carpe Diem

September 16: Inklings and notions

September 16: Christian Bookaholic

September 17: Christian Chick’s Thoughts

September 17: Artistic Nobody

September 18: Bookworm Mama

September 18: Remembrancy

September 19: Back Porch Reads

September 19: Kat’s Corner Books

September 20: Just Jo’Anne

September 20: Margaret Kazmierczak

September 21: The Power of Words

September 21: Mary Hake

September 22: 100 Pages per Hour

September 22: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

September 23: Zerina Blossom’s Books

September 23: Simple Harvest Reads (spotlight)

September 24: Blossoms and Blessings

September 24: Moments Dipped in Ink

September 25: Kathleen Denly

September 25: His Grace is Sufficient

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bd52

 

4 thoughts on “My Review – All of You

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