by Barbara Freethy

December 2004
ISBN: 0-451-21365-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

In All She Ever Wanted, Barbara Freethy craftily weaves a romantic, yet suspenseful tale of four sorority sisters ten years after attending the University of Santa Cruz in California. Once dubbed the “Fabulous Four,” each attempts to put their lives together, after Emily falls to her death at a house party. Now, a new book is circulating, eerily similar to the haunting scenario that took place that night. This book could have dire consequences for them all, as the mysterious author insinuates that one of the “Fabulous Four” had pushed Emily to her death.

The story opens with Natalie, a resident emergency room doctor in San Francisco, and the roommate of the innocently, vivacious Emily. Besides being her best friend, Natalie had been madly in love with Emily’s brother Cole. Devastated, Natalie not only lost her closest friend that night, but the love of her life as well. Cole and his whole family now hold her in contempt, as she had promised them that she would look after Emily. Overprotected, and a child of privilege—college life had been Emily’s only opportunity to experience real freedom, as she had spent her youth confined to her “fairy-tale” bedroom, due to debilitating asthma and pneumonia. When Emily arrived in Santa Cruz, she needed the steady hand and calm influence of Natalie. She alone could keep her feet firmly on the ground. Natalie had grown up in Los Angeles, fatherless and poor, yet self-reliant. Her widowed mother was an alcoholic who needed constant looking after. Therefore, watching over Emily had not been a hardship; she had loved her dearly. It was simply one more responsibility in her already overburdened life.

Nevertheless, now after ten lonely exhausting years, carefully picking up the pieces of her life, in one day all her dreams, her hard work and sacrifice could come tumbling down. Bombarded by the past, and mortified, Natalie learns of the book “Fallen Angel.” Then Cole will make a surprising appearance in the emergency room with a cut on his head, courtesy of his model girlfriend. Her career with the hospital jeopardized, Natalie begins to look for answers, as the book insultingly implies that she really “murdered” Emily. The author fraudulently claims she was desperate to secure her grasp on Cole and that Emily had disapproved of their burgeoning relationship. Fiction or no, St. Timothy could not possibly keep her on staff with all the rumors and publicity now surrounding the book.

Soon, three of the Fabulous Four are reunited. Not by choice, but by circumstance. The beautiful and driven Madison is now working for a high powered Public Relations firm in San Francisco. She will not let anything hinder her pursuit of Dylan, Cole’s best friend, and the only man who ever refused her advances. She will use any means necessary to manipulate any situation. Yes, she knew too that Dylan had secretly loved Emily. Nonetheless, she was now in a position of power, a power she believed would ultimately prove too intoxicating and seductive for him to refuse her again.

Laura who had always considered herself the “fourth” of the Fabulous Four, was now the wife of an up-and-coming attorney, destined for a brilliant political career. With a lovely home and two beautiful daughters, her life appeared ideal. However, Laura knew appearances could be deceiving, as her marriage was not all that it seemed to be. In fact, she wondered if Drew really loved her at all. Had he chosen her because her family had connections, and then stayed with her merely because her influential parents adored him? Throughout her youth and adult life, her successful family had belittled Laura; now, her parents sincerely believed snagging Drew was her “only” worthwhile accomplishment. Moreover, the new question was, is Drew somehow involved in the publication of “Fallen Angel,” and if so, why?

To be fair to the readers of this review, I have not read the ending of All She Ever Wanted. If I would have, I may not have been able to maintain the element of surprise. I have my suspicions about the real killer, but I will let you enjoy the development and impact. I promise you . . .you will be captivated from the very first paragraph.

You can never really go wrong with any story penned by Ms. Freethy. She brings each character to life, and puts a tear in your eye, while giving your heart a tug with their endearing promise of love. Believe me, this WONDERFUL book is no exception. Come on, go out and buy All She Ever Wanted and let’s all find out who really killed sweet Emily.

Reviewed in December 2004 by Janice.

Read more reviews of Barbara Freethy books.Click Here