#bookreview – The All of It – by Jeannette Halen

Awarded 3 stars on Goodreads, but it deserves more like 3.5 stars.

allofitFirst off, let me say that I liked this book much more as I was finishing it than I did while I was reading it. At its heart, it’s about the relationship between a lonely parish priest in a small village in Ireland and a recent widow, Enda. A complex relationship.

The novel has two threads. One is the deeply intimate story Edna shares with the priest, immediately after her husband dies, explaining how and why she and her husband had lived a lie throughout their 48 years together. The second thread is about the priest’s passion for salmon fishing, the activity where he feels most alive.

The impact Enda’s story has on the priest and the way in which he reacts to that story, in turn, impacts her — and that’s what this book is really about.

The language of the book is beautiful, particularly if you happen to be Irish. And the detailed descriptions of fishing under horrible conditions make it a fun read for fans of the sport.

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