Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
As previously discussed, I’ve really enjoyed Laura Florand’s books; she’s definitely one of my favorite authors and one I reach for for comfort reading. All For You is the start of a new series–this one is connected to the earlier Amor et Chocolat series, but also introduces some new characters.
I found that I was a little less fond of Joss than some of Florand’s heroes, because he’s so determinedly wrong through so much of the story. He’s a sympathetic character, and I had no doubt that he would eventually work through his issues. But it was also sometimes frustrating to see him not seeing Celie clearly, and to see him reacting in exactly the wrong ways.
That being said, for me Celie was really the heart of the book, with her mixture of toughness and vulnerability. She’s so much someone who cares about other people and yet who also knows her own worth. This doesn’t mean she’s always sure of herself–in fact, she’s quite often not–but I feel like seeing a heroine who won’t commit to a relationship without having that respect is really valuable.
I also found that the overall arc of learning to see each other truly was really important. And I loved the fact that Celie is allowed to be angry, and that the effects of her anger are shown. She’s not always right, but she’s also not condemned for being upset, for pushing back. I really appreciated that she’s allowed to be a little bit spiky. I also loved how much she bosses around her boss Dominique, not letting him get away with much and calling him on his choices when it’s something important.
And as usual, I loved the setting, and the wealth of little details in the writing. The echoes of fairy tales are little less pronounced but definitely there (I noticed one in particular). And Joss and Celie themselves: Celie’s relationship to the chocolate she makes, to the space she works in, Joss’s stubborn imposition of will on everything around him, and yet his willingness to apologize and try to make things right.
Book source: review copy provided by author
Book information: 2015, self-published; adult contemporary romance