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Sheila O'Flanaghan always writes great novels with absorbing story lines and strong characters. Her latest book, 'All For You' has this same winning formula and I did not want to put it down from the moment that I started reading it. It tells the story of two women, Deanna and Lainey Ryan, and explores their somewhat strained mother and daughter relationship.
Lainey is a successful meteorologist and weather presenter whereas her mother Deanna lives in California where she is a prominent feminist fighting for real equality for women. Deanna gave birth to Lainey when only nineteen and knowing that she was not ready for motherhood, especially as the baby's father had abandoned her, allowed her own parents to bring up her daughter in Ireland while she stayed on in America. On the occasions that they have met over the years they have been more like polite strangers rather than a close family unit.
However, Deanna is back in Ireland for a longer period of time as she is working on a documentary and this should give the two women the opportunity to really get to know each other. They are so different though with Deanna hardly prepared to give men the time of day whereas Lainey is a hopeless romantic with a love of fashion and the colour pink. With two broken engagements behind her, she is desperate to walk down the aisle and often allows herself to be taken advantage of because of this desire. As the two women get to know each other better, they also get to know themselves and perhaps both realise that they have something to learn from each other.
'All For You' is such an enjoyable novel that I felt compelled to keep reading to find out what happened to both women. I loved the way that their relationship developed and it was possible to really sympathise with both their points of view. I very much enjoyed getting to know both of the main characters and starting to understand what made them tick. They are both interesting and strong minded and the differences between them make for riveting reading. I did despair sometimes about their inability to communicate properly with each other and also the way Lainey allows a particular man to treat her so very badly.
I thought the way that the story moved between what was happening in the present and Deanna's life thirty years earlier worked particularly well. It slowly reveals what happened when she was a teenager and helps the reader to appreciate the choices that she made at the time and had such a dramatic influence on her relationship with her daughter.
'All For You' has all the essential ingredients for a great summer read - an absorbing story, believable and likeable characters and a few long buried secrets that are about to surface. It is another brilliant read from Sheila O'Flanaghan and will no doubt please all of her fans. Also, with Lainey being a weather presenter, there are many references to sunshine and showers, also very appropriate for a typical British summer!
'All for You' is currently available on Amazon for £7.79 in hardcover.
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.curiousbookfans. co.uk