Hard to Put Down

Okay.  Let me begin by saying that as I write this review, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  It comes from my background of experience with author Shelley Shepard Gray’s earlier books. My experience with this author has been through her works in the genres of romance/historical/mystery&suspense mainly involving Amish and Mennonite.  They have also been labeled as religious/christian/clean&wholesome.  Thus, my conundrum begins.  I had to separate & get beyond my past experiences with the author’s prior works in order to give my honest thoughts about All In.

So, let me just begin by saying that my first challenge was to accept that All In doesn’t fit into a mold that I’ve experienced with the author’s prior works.  That being said, it was scary, refreshing and exciting for me to read.  Scary in that from the beginning, I could tell this was a different type of story from what I was used to from this author.  Refreshing in that from the beginning, I was immediately drawn into the characters, which were different from the other works I’d read by this author.  Exciting in that I really wanted to see where the story would go.

I was indeed drawn in from the start when Meredith Hunt is mugged and two guardian angels in the form of Ace and Finley Vance, show up just in the nick of time to help her.  The problem is that Meredith isn’t used to being helped.  She didn’t have the best situations while growing up.  The difficult situations in her life and relationships have made her self reliant and hesitant to receive help from anyone.  Even in this situation, she found it uncomfortable to

have someone, make that two someones, helping her.  

Ace Vance hasn’t had things so easy either.  He’s just moved to Bridgeport to make a better life for his son Finn and to get away from Finn’s mother.  His main focus has been to make things better for Finn.  The situation with Finn’s mother combined with his focus to make a better life for Finn has kept the whole dating thing off of his radar.  

And as for Finley Vance, he’s had his share of bad experiences in his young life, most of which stem from his mother’s lack of mothering.  At his young age he feels the need to be self reliant but also struggles with things he’s missed out on, as well as the typical challenges faced by teens.

The lives of these three become entwined when Meredith’s mugging brings them together.  The story has romance, mystery and intrigue. But the largest part of the story revolves around how these three individuals come to terms with their pasts and how they are able to move forward from there to find forgiveness, healing and love.  

So, I said all that to say this.  All In is a clean, wholesome read with a slight contemporiness (is that even a word?)  to it.  It will take you to a place where you will find just how powerful love, and love’s healing, can be.  

***I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Created by Phred St Laurent May 27, 2010 at 11:35pm. Last updated by Phred St Laurent May 31, 2010.

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