by Lynn Austin

October 2005
ISBN: 0-7642-2889-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Bethany House Publishers
Trade Paperback

Kathleen Seymour fled her childhood home thirty-five years ago, vowing to start over. She feels the FBI needs to take lessons from her on providing new identities, after all, she is an expert at running away and starting over somewhere else when the going gets tough.

Now, her fifteen-year-old daughter, Joelle, has been arrested for shop-lifting. Since it is her first offense, Kathleen talks the authorities into going easy on her, but it seems to have the opposite effect. Joelle seems to think that since she wasn’t arrested, it was no big deal and that Kathleen is just over-reacting. Joelle’s solution is to run away. Before Joelle gets out the door though, her father, Mike comes home and talks her out of leaving and into getting counseling.

To finish off a perfect day, Kathleen is fired from her job and has been invited to her sister’s home for a party honoring their father. An invitation that Kathleen is determined to ignore, tossing it straight into the garbage.

But that invitation refuses to stay put! When Joelle goes to counseling, the doctor insists on talking to Kathleen too. And soon her past is rearing its ugly head. When Joelle waves the invitation in Kathleen’s face in front of the doctor, Kathleen has no choice but to go . . . but is she ready to face the past?

All She Ever Wanted is an intense story. It isn’t the sort of story one reads to escape, but it is, never-the-less, well-written and an engaging tale. I couldn’t exactly relate to Kathleen, not having grown up in the type of home she grew up in, but I still felt for her and hoped she’d be able to make peace with her family and find closure.

Kathleen and Mike are trying to have a Christian home, but the past is making it Kathleen’s testimony anything but the way she hopes. I could understand how Joelle would react the way she did to her mother, and I hoped their relationship could be mended. Pick up a copy of All She Ever Wanted for a story that will make you think.

Reviewed in May 2006 by Laura.

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