All She Ever Wished For by Claudia Carroll
Publishing Date: 6th October 2016
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 496
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
A gorgeous story of chance meetings and unexpected friendships. Because sometimes what you’ve always wished for isn’t necessarily what life has in store . . .
Marriage. It’s a dream come true. Isn’t it?
One wet winter night, two women meet on a bridge. One is Tess Taylor, a personal trainer on the way to meet her boyfriend for date night. The other is Kate King, a celebrity married to a handsome billionaire who just happens to make her cry. In the cold dark evening, there is nothing to link them together but the bridge they shiver on. Little do they know they’ll both hold the key to each other’s future marriage…
All She Ever Wished For tells the story of what happens when your dream is about to come true. And what happens when that dream turns into a bit of a nightmare…
Claudia Carroll brings you a Christmas gift filled with second chances, fateful encounters and a lesson in what true love means.
Oh wow. Really. I think that with every book Claudia Carroll is only getting better and better! Also, her stories are so different to each other, which only makes waiting for her new releases more and more exciting. Yes, I must admit, I was afraid that this book won’t capture my attention as in my opinion it was a real slow burner. It gathered pace only in the courtroom and this is when the book really started to feel incredibly exciting and thrilling, but till that moment I was already panicking and asking myself what’s happening? Let’s be honest, it dragged a little on and it was hard to see what this story is really going to be about, but as soon as we entered the courtroom and experienced what the case is going to be about, the book became unputdownable for me!
Tess and Bernard are getting married, even though many other people, including Tess’s family are of opinion that they just don’t make the perfect match. Nevertheless, the wedding should take place at Tess’s family home and this what looked like a really great idea starts to cause more and more problems. Moreover, Tess has just been called for jury duty and even though she has tried everything and every excuse to wriggle out of this obligation, she need to do her duty – she must also put her wedding organization aside and soon she needs to make some decisions that may change her life. Because suddenly she really has a lot of decisions to make, and to be honest, yes, I was wondering what she sees in Bernard, the more I read into this story, but then I thought, oh well, love cannot be compelled, right? I just couldn’t help thinking that they are totally not suitable, even though Tess was absolutely sure they belong together. And for my liking the hesitation, the questioning, it happened too sudden, too out of the blue and made me a little sceptic.
Enter Kate and Damien King, the golden couple of Ireland, young, successful, beautiful, who kept the whole nation with bated breath when reading about their life. However, as their marriage came to an end, now it’s time for the very public battle in the court, that is becoming a new media folly. What happened? What did go wrong in this marriage?
This is a story about two very different women who, in the end, want the same thing. I absolutely loved how very complex and vague the author made Kate King. She firstly lets us to know her worst side (supposedly) of her, and tell her story mostly in flashbacks, usually through the eyes of journalists who have already judged her, or through the eyes’ of Damien’s lawyer, and to tell that the things told about her were not positive would be an understatement, and then slowly started to reveal her real personality. I must admit, it annoyed me that Kate was so calm and she’s never said a single word in her defence, but on the other hand I totally admired her calmness, serenity, balance and the way she was. I think it must cost a lot of strength to be like Kate in such situation. Though – not everything is so obvious! There were also moments at the end of the book that the author made it so unclear, that I myself, the person who was supporting Kate no matter what, started to doubt if her intentions were really so innocent – thanks to Claudia Carroll for making this so thrilling and not straightforward!
Actually, all of the characters are brilliantly drawn and all are memorable people. All of them are so different and the author captured the differences and the little details that made them so exceptional and so realistic in a brilliant way. Tess and her family were great, and what’s important, they were really honest with each other. Sure, her parents, or especially her mum, were paying great attention to the appearances and it was important to them what’s outside, that what the other people see is clear and immaculate, but they also didn’t give a shit to the fact that they were not as well educated as for example Bernard’s family, who, in my opinion, couldn’t be more boring with their never – ending conversations about opera, lectures and “high” art. Is it a wonder that those two families just didn’t “get” each other?
And let’s not forget the jury members! They were the most colourful, entertaining bunch of characters ever! Tess was one of the youngest, and we had a mum of a few children there, a young car – salesman, some pensioners, and Will… Oh my word, Will. I won’t say anymore, please read the book for yourself, then you will understand what I mean about Will. But back to the jury – a group of totally different people that destiny thrown together and who must stitch together, no matter what now. There were some brilliant moments involving the jury, especially they trips to lunches, and I loved their interaction and how easily they found a common ground.
The two heroines are so different, and their perspectives as well, and I loved how their paths become entwined. They were both strong and determined, proud and they knew their worth and very quickly I found myself rooting for them – even though, let me admit, at the beginning, what with the story being on the slow side, I was not so sure of them both! But mea culpa, because in my opinion they both turned out to be different women to this what I thought about them, and hats off to the author for making them so complex and ambiguous.
This story is like one big jigsaw, like matching the puzzle elements, and I absolutely loved how the information were slowly revealed, and every new thing was like a new puzzle piece. There are many of them, however I never felt confused and I didn’t have problems to follow the flow of the story. It is also a story of two relationship, two very different relationships but both of them so incredibly interesting! “All she Ever Wished For” is a powerful, thought – provoking read showing that things are not always as straight – forward or so obvious and that there is always a hidden agenda and that it is worth to dig deeper and deeper to know the truth. It is funny and at the same time it is poignant and yes, I had a problem to get into it, but quickly it had me glued to the pages and I was desperate to know what’s going to happen and how it’s going to develop. Claudia Carroll’s writing is better and better with her every new book, it is engaging and she has a great way with the words, describing feelings and emotions, characters and their personalities, places and situations in the most engaging, genuine way. The storyline was complex and really clever and I really wasn’t sure where it’s heading, taking me on a great journey full of surprises.