There aren't many romantic novels that I do find appealing these days for reasons I probably watched most of them in the cinema. Of course, books and movies aren't the same thing when it comes to execution but I have always been looking for a book that really works on me. Most of All You: A Love Story is one I picked up because of its good reviews and its blurb. While I took a month over to complete reading it, I wasn't as impress as what others had said about it.
The book itself gave two perspective (it has been a trend for many authors writing such a style) - Crystal, a girl with a past, broken beyond any able to trust any men that what she understood, love brought only pain in her life. When she met Gabriel Dalton, a man with a known history of his past needed her for therapy, they never knew it would take them on a journey to healing... one that brings hope to each other.
Such a premise I had seen before but as a reading material, I can't find any thing exceptional about it. Do not get me wrong - its a good read but the characters, as much as any romance book can get, its pretty much typical of any script written for a movie. The formula is there - broken girl don't believe in love, broken boy had a trauma in life, two met and two with a past fall in love. That's just how it is with most romantic stories these days. While nothing new is offered, I can't help but find a familiarity in this book. Although I love the writing, its just a book I can't seem to find any thing that lifts up my expectation. I wasn't disappointed at all when I finished it, its just I felt I had known such stories before. For a season reader and movie-goer on the topic of romantic stories, this is on a level I do enjoy, just not that high a level.
Well I liked this one more than the last two books which unfortunately were just back and forths between Fingal O"Reilly and when he met his first wife and lost her during the war. I think that Taylor should have just had one book looking book at his time and not having it go back and forth between present day and past. "An Irish Country Love Story" is the 11th book in this series, and it showcases the different stages of love that Taylor wishes to show in the villagers of Ballybucklebo, between O"Reilly and his wife Kitty, between Barry and Sue Nolan, and even a dangerous sort of love (flirtation) between Barry and the new doctor that has been brought into the practice, Nonie. We even have a new love starting between O'Reilly's brother Lars and the Marquiis's sister Myrna.
The book goes back to the setup of the earlier ones in the series with some focus being on O'Reilly and Barry. We get both of their third person POV's in this book.
O'Reilly is a content married man now, but I am leery about O'Reilly thinking more about how to get Kitty to retire to work with him at a futuristic practice that would include many doctors and specialists. This book takes place in the winter of 1967 so I don't even know if that would be something that would even be thought of in Ireland at the time.
The big plot point with O'Reilly in this book is the fact he may lose Number 1 (his home) after a lorry runs into his dining room. It seems that if the village allows the house to stay, they will rack up taxes if they build another road that will take the lorries and other heavier vehicles away from the village center. O'Reilly has another nemesis we have not heard about until this point, who is on the village council who wants to do whatever he can to make sure O'Reilly loses his home. Not going to lie, this whole thing was boring, and O'Reilly was being high handed with the Marquis and others. Eventually things are resolved, but it didn't make much sense to me so there you go.
Barry is dealing with his fiancee Sue off doing a course in France for a couple of weeks. Barry being Barry at this point frets about things, but goes forward with trying to find a home for the two of them. A setback in Sue's family pushes the wedding date out, and I think Taylor was trying to make a conflict between Sue and Barry. All of a sudden Barry is concerned about having children and doesn't know if he wants them. How do you not have this conversation prior to marrying? Also it just reads as a roadblock that Taylor throws up to have some conflict in the book because the series is a bit samey at this point.
Another point of conflict is the new doctor who apparently is all for having some "fun" with Barry. It was weird and vaguely upsetting since she didn't seem to care about Barry's fiancee Sue, who she had to have met at this point. I didn't like the new doctor and then Taylor manufactures a crisis with her. I hope she goes by the next book.
The villagers are the villagers. Nothing much there at all to see.
The writing is okay, but Taylor now just spits out medical facts as a patient is being treated. And the doctors continue to over explain things and it makes my eyes glaze. The flow was okay, I just have to say like many readers, this may have been a solid read, but ultimately boring.
The setting of Ballybucklebo remains a favorite to me at least. I still re-read "An Irish Country Girl" and "An Irish Country Christmas" every year to get me in the holiday mood during Halloween and Christmas.
The ending was okay. I do think that maybe Taylor should consider ending this series and skipping forward with Barry and Sue married with kids and O'Reilly looking to fully retire or something.
I gave up on this series, but decided to take a peek at this one. Not bad, not great, but definitely better than the last book. A solid three stars. I think it helps that Taylor focused on O'Reilly and Barry in this one and we didn't keep going on about O'Reilly's past during the war. Due to the rehabilitation of one of the characters, it looks like Taylor is setting up a new nemesis for O'Reilly.