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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In All Things by Shawna K. Williams

In All Things by Shawna K. Williams
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Inspirational, Recent Historical
Length: Full Length (208 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Lily

Jakob and Meri's story continues...

Meredith Louis's Hollywood career is at a point of transition. No longer under Majestic Studios control, Meri is free to broaden her appeal as an actress and finally earn the recognition she desires.

Meri and Jakob return to their hometown for the holidays where Meri hopes to reconcile with her parents after a decade of silence. But after a disastrous encounter, Meri is plunged into turmoil as old fears resurface in unexpected ways.

Jakob, already dealing with unresolved family issues of his own, is further burdened by his inability to help his wife. Can he learn to step aside and trust God's plan. Will Meri recognize what she already has?

In All Things is a sequel to No Other which I hadn’t read -- but that was no obstacle because it was easy to pick up the storyline. Meri and Jakob have survived a tumultuous romance and come out the other end in a contented, comfortable marriage with three children. Jakob is now an architect and encourages his wife to follow her career dream which is to be an actress. So they move to Los Angeles.

This is a story about lack of communication in families, misunderstandings and the inability to express true feelings that lead to turmoil in relationships that have already been damaged by poor past decisions.

It’s a fascinating insight to visit 1950's Hollywood and the divas that inhabit its unique world. The author creates such a perfect atmosphere that you can smell the grease-paint and see the action in play. There’s a specially amusing scene when Meri’s performing a typical 1950's unrealistic stunt of dodging thunderbolts: “She simply did as told. Ran to her mark and looked terrified, then ran to another mark and tried to look more frightened…” I expected Rita Hayworth or Grace Kelly to wander on set at any time. Yet the simmering jealousies, frustrated sexual emotions and devious manipulations that simmer just below the perfectly coiffeured-seeming surface threaten to bring about Meri’s downfall.

In an attempt to rekindle their initial relationship, which currently stands at about tolerance-level, Jakob suggests they return home for the Christmas holidays. But their past catches up with them, causing them both anguish which threatens to separate them even further.

In All Things is perfectly plotted. It seems very gently paced but is in fact packed with drama and action that kept me engaged throughout. The inspiration thread is woven throughout the story but at no time does it feel “preachy”. Instead it is fundamental to the characters’ actions and decisions and I found myself pondering the issues after I’d finished the book. Although there is no explicit sexual activity, there is plenty of emotion to keep readers satisfied on a temporal as well as a spiritual level.

Ms. Williams is a great observer of character and portrays the various personalities with ease, efficiency and often great humor. I particularly liked the scenes with the children and their natural discourse. Villains abound and some are loathsome and strong with issues that range from plain jealousy to being downright evil.

This is a story that takes time to read and absorb, but it’s well worth it. Readers who enjoy likeable, well rounded protagonists whose happiness is at risk will find this thought-provoking novel perfect.