MEET THE WALSH FAMILY
Lucy: Mother. Wife. Falling to pieces . . .
Aidan: Father. Husband. In too deep . . .
Connor: Son. Friend. Can never tell the truth . . .
Everyone in this family has something to hide, but what are they trying to protect, and at what cost?
IT WAS ALL FOR YOU.
I was approved to read an eArc of All For You via NetGalley. I am grateful to the publisher for the approval and hope that you find my review acceptable.
All For You is a family-focused thriller with an emphasis on the Walsh Family and the trials in which they all face. Lucy, a mother struggling to cope with her youngest son, potentially fatal illness. Aidan, the husband and father figure that is attempting to cope with his own mistakes. Conner, the eldest son who has been involved with a terrible incident connected with his school life, and Kieron, the youngest son thrust into the depths of it all. The crux of the novel is how the family cope and come to terms with the vast amount of secrets each of them keep hidden and how they impact the lives of those around them as they are revealed throughout the story.
Each of the characters has its own merits, each of them having its own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Throughout the book, as different elements to their character are revealed, I found my thoughts on them changing; initially despising Aidan for my assumptions about his actions only to have him earning my sympathies further down the line. A kinship for Lucy for her desperation when it comes to her youngest son, only to be horrified when learning the truth. I felt a keen empathy for Conner and his overall situation and reveled in the hope that radiates from him as the book progresses. Each of the character’s thoughts, interactions, and mannerisms felt connected but unique to themselves. There’s a real sense of family between them all, but that of a family that has been broken by what they’re going through and their own individual actions. I felt connected to them as a reader and along with an absolutely magnificent plot, I was eager to turn the pages and discover the truth to all their turmoils.
Louise Jensen has been extremely clever through the writing of her book. With masterful use of deflection and assumptions. Leading the reader down dark alleyways of prejudiced thought; seeming to pick up the thread of well-known tropes only to turn them on their heads when they ‘big reveals’ happen. Nothing in All For You is as it seems and I am in awe with how much this book blind-sided me and kept me guessing. Leaving behind the question of ‘How far would you go for your children?’ as a bold discussion point once the novel has come to its final conclusion. All For You is a bold book that lingers with the reader long after it has finished.
Each of the character threads compels the reading in similar ways; the desire to learn the truth. What happened with Conners school to warrant such dire treatment? Who is Aidan skipping out on his family to liaise with? Can Lucy keep herself and her family together long enough? These questions adapt and change as the novel progresses and with each new level of questioning, there’s a desire to know more, building the tension along with the events. It’s a masterfully crafted story with deeply connecting characters the propel the reader through the pages, which only get better as the threads weave together.
If there was one critique to the novel; some of the scenarios felt a little far-fetched. Some of the depths the characters went to for their families became very extreme, but in relation to the rest of the novel, the reasoning behind them was solid enough to not cause me too many lingering doubt about the authors writing skills. The reasoning behind such events panned out and just because they aren’t the lengths that I would go to, doesn’t mean that others (both readers and characters) won’t go past beyond personal boundaries.
There’s a complete feeling of love, loss, and tragedy to this book that might come across as a bit smotheringly dark to some readers; while there is a flicker of hope that grows throughout as the story progresses, it is fleeting. So, if you like your stories to feel more upbeat, even your thrillers, then this might be a book to pass up – personally, I adore darker themes books, so for me, All For You was the perfect book.
Each of these plot elements does come together and wrap up into a clear, concise ending – something that is always appreciated when compared to the plethora of open-ended thrillers. The last 5% of the book is spent wrapping up the stories of the characters and filling in all the blanks that could easily be left behind; it was a fulfilling experience seeing ‘what happened next’ to some of the characters.
This was my first experience of Louise Jensen’s writing, her style sat very well with me. Being clear in her descriptions and dialogue without lacking in personality. Her ability to weave deflection in All For You was sublime and was an absolute treat to read; just when you think you have it all figured out, you really don’t! I’d love to read more of Louise Jensens novels to have the rug pulled from underneath me, once again.
An absolute treasure of a story, All For You is a tense, fast-paced psychological thriller with a family focus. Strong, individually personalities to the main characters and supporting cast. A wonderful narrative to the plot that relies on turning well-established tropes on their heads with masterful deflection. Honestly, one of the best stories I have read all year.