From the blurb:A hopeful and emotional novel about twists of fate, enduring friendships, and life’s never-ending surprises by New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart.In the decade since Emma Dean’s husband died, she’s maintained a peaceful and organized life in her hometown of Wyndham Beach—until she finds evidence of her husband’s longtime affair. How, Emma wonders, can a man who’s been gone for ten years still break her heart?Still reeling from the betrayal, Emma must focus on the group of artists she’s invited to take up residence at the art center she founded, one of whom is secretly seeking refuge from her abusive ex. Toss in a charming businessman who’s returned to town with eyes for only Emma, and it’s becoming a most interesting summer.And the biggest surprise of all is about to ring Emma’s doorbell and turn her life completely upside down yet again.As Emma struggles between what was and what is, she discovers that the life she really wants—however unexpected—is just within reach, if she’s willing to fight for it.
Date: December 13, 2022
ISBN 9781542039635, 1542039630
Wyndham Beach Series:
1 An Invincible Summer
2 Goodbye Again
3 All That We Are
All That We Are is the third book in the Wyndham Beach series which is set in a small town on the Massachusetts coast. If you love reading about complex family dynamics, real life dilemmas, unexpected life events that make you question everything, second chances in love, and, above all, lifelong friendships, this is a series for you. It is better to start with the first book as you would get a much fuller reading experience, but All That We Are can be read as a standalone, if you don’t mind getting glimpses of the happily-ever-afters Maggie and Liddy, the protagonists of the previous two books, are living in this one.
The focus of this book is on Maggie and Liddy’s friend Emma Dean. Emma, who is always impeccably dressed and effortlessly ‘appropriate, has her own heartbreak to come to terms with and overcome in this story. Although she’s been widowed for a long time, it is only now that she starts looking through her husband’s papers and discovers that he had a long term affair with his co-worker. As the evidence keeps mounting, Emma is trying to reassess her life and decide whether she even wants her son Chris to know about his father’s infidelity. After all, neither of them can confront Harry who’s been dead for more than ten years. My heart went to Emma who had the proverbial rug pulled from under her feet not once, but twice in this book, when a stranger rings her doorbell and Emma has to deal with the situation she never thought she would have to face.
Luckily, Emma has her wonderful system of support and I don’t mean just her life-long friends Maggie and Liddy who keep reminding her who she is and what she genuinely and wholeheartedly believes in. It is the whole Wyndham Beach community with its very special atmosphere. I liked the way different generations with their different perspectives have their stories interwoven as they do in real life. If you’ve read the previous two books, you might also appreciate the development some characters (e.g. Grace, Maggie’s daughter) have gone through in the series.
The writing is very engaging and you need this kind of style when the topic can be summarised by one word: Life. Other topics include a relationship parents have with their grown-up children, which can be a reason for anxiety, feeling guilt, or pregrets, but can also be a source of joy, happiness, and support.
Emma’s age group doesn’t get enough representation and it is lovely to read a well-written series giving women in their late fifties-early sixties protagonist roles.
I am now a fan of Mariah Stewart and will be looking forward to reading more of her stories in future.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
About the author:
Mariah Stewart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of forty-one novels and three novellas and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. She is a RITA finalist in romantic suspense and the recipient of the Award of Excellence for contemporary romance, a RIO Award for excellence in women’s fiction, and a Reviewers Choice Award from Romantic Times Magazine. A three-time winner of the Golden Leaf Award presented by the New Jersey Romance Writers, Stewart was recently awarded their Lifetime Achievement Award (which placed her in their Hall of Fame along with former recipients Nora Roberts and Mary Jo Putney — very excellent company, indeed!)
After having written seven contemporary romance novels, Stewart found true happiness writing murder and mayhem. She considers herself one lucky son of a gun to have landed the best job in the world: getting paid for making up stories. At home. In sweats and J. Crew flip flops. Could life be sweeter?