All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner

Book description:

Ivy Darling can’t have children of her own, and her husband Nick’s resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick’s family has never welcomed her into the fold.

When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally barren marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late?

My review:

What makes this book is the characters.  Although the Darlings are all part of the same family, there all have their own distinctive problems, strengths, and personalities.  Gardner’s description of Ivy and Nick and their marriage is spot on in terms of describing a relationship in which there isn’t any overt abuse or neglect, but one in which the partners are not fulfilling each other’s needs.  What I thought was so great, was how Gardner established the nuances of their relationship at the very beginning through their interactions.  It was a great example of showing, without a lot of narration, the relationship between two people.

This book is about relationships – what makes them live and what makes them die.  I think anyone reading this book can see something of themselves in at least one of the characters.  Gardner explores so many different types of relationships, spousal, family, in-laws, parents, children, and friends.  She doesn’t shy away from characters making really bad choices and having to deal with the consequences.  She shows really great insight into people, the hurts, and what unforgiveness can create.

Although the characters are the shining draw to the book for me, the plot also has a lot to offer.  Gardner offers lessons to readers in such a gentle way.  She demonstrates the slippery slope of drinking, married people befriending unmarried people of the opposite sex, and withholding forgiveness.  What is so great about this book is that it isn’t preachy at all, it paints a realistic picture of the consequences of those choices.

This book is one of those that demonstrates ordinary people walking the walk of their faith day by day, in every circumstance.  I love these kind of books.  It helps me to see realistic people that make mistakes, sometimes truly dreadful, but continue to walk in their faith.  It is inspiring and encouraging.

If you love slice-of-life books, this is the one for you.  I loved every minute of this book and can’t wait to read another Darling family book!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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