Fiction Reviews, The Top Shelf: YA or Adult

{Book Review} All Manner of Things

“I know that. And I want you to have a wonderful time.” She sighed. “I just want your life to be easy.”

I opened both my eyes to see her digging through her makeup case, her lips pushed together tightly.

“Who said that life was supposed to be easy?” I asked.

“All Manner of Things” by Susie Finkbeiner

About the book…

Annie Jacobson’s father left years ago, and now duty calls her brother Mike to leave as well, but the circumstances are entirely different, she keeps reminding herself. Her Dad chose to leave. Her brother was called to leave. One did it for himself. The other did it for everyone else. When tragedy hits the Jacobson home during Vietnam, Annie, her mother, and younger brother Joel, are forced to face the tragedies and hurt of the past in order to unite their family in the face of suffering. They learn that their own strength is not enough, they need the strength of the One true Healer.

About the author…

Susie Finkbeiner lives in West Michigan with her husband and three children. She is the author of CBA bestselling novel, A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. You can visit her on her website here.

Some personal thoughts…

I laughed. I cried (a lot). I finished it in two days.

All Manner of Things swept me away in every sense of the phrase. I instantly connected to the characters, Annie especially. The sibling bonds and comradery were beautiful and accurately depicted in a way that made me feel as though I belonged amongst them. As the oldest in a large family, I connected multiple times with each of the Jacobson children in one way or another.

The story unfolded in a breathtakingly simple way. There were no cliff hangers at the end of chapters, but there was still something amongst those pages that prevented me from putting it down. I believe it was the art of allowing a reader to step into the story, become a part of it, that Susie has mastered. It wasn’t suspense that kept me reading, it was connection.

Endings are the biggest part of novels for me. I don’t love it when every loose end gets tied in a bow, and each character finds a happy ending. Life doesn’t really work that way, and novels that demonstrate that reality are my favorites. It doesn’t take a happily ever after to finish a story well. I’d much rather a story end on the breath of hope. All Manner of Things does just that.

Satisfying. That’s the word I would use to describe this masterpiece.

Things worth mentioning…

This book takes place during the Vietnam war and deals with loss and pain that come from it. Family separation, and tense relationships. Other than that, this book is a delightful read with nothing too alarming in its pages.

Here at The Corner Shelf you’ll find All Manner of Things on The Top Shelf.

**I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own.

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