Goodreads Summary: On a crystal clear Mediterranean day, Briony McAllister sits playing with her four-year-old daughter Katie while she waits for her mother Valerie to join them. Valerie has recently moved to a picturesque town in southern Spain to forget her turbulent past and find the peace that has always eluded her. But Briony and Valerie’s relationship is about to change.
As Briony studies an old photo album from a box in her mother’s new home, a letter falls to the ground. My Darling Briony, it begins. Reading the words that follow, Briony is seized with a stunning realization: her mother lied about what happened to her beloved grandmother Tessa all those years ago, denying Briony the very relationship Valerie now enjoys with Katie. It is just the beginning of a series of discoveries that revisits a complex past—and changes forever the lives of three generations of women.
A brilliantly woven tapestry of secrets, betrayals, and sacrifices, this riveting tale of family bonds puts Patricia Scanlan’s legendary storytelling talents on display as never before.
Title: With Ally My Love
Author: Patricia Scanlan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Australia
Release Date: February 2013
Source: Simon and Schuster Australia via The Reading Room - thank you!
Where to begin… With All My Heart is a very heart-warming journey of betrayal, forgiveness, secrets, family and above all love. I fell in love with the characters that were created in this book. Patricia Scanlan has an amazing way of telling her tale that you just can’t help but relate to the attitudes and feelings and even the behaviours of each of the characters, so therefore you just have to fall in love with them.
Briony McAllister is a 30 year old mother to a 4 year old girl, Katie. Briony’s mother, Valerie has moved to Spain and Briony has taken Katie over to help settle her in. While going through old photo albums a letter falls out and it is addressed to Briony. Briony has no idea why her mother had a letter addressed to her and hadn’t passed it on. Upon reading the letter, Briony is mortified that her mother has kept a horrible secret for all these years and kept her from the relationship with her Grandmother, Tessa.
Valerie is beside herself with grief that Briony had found the letter after all these years. How could she have been so careless? Going back over her memories all those years ago, Valerie tries to discover what and why it happened?... Valerie Harris is an ordinary teenage girl living her life of fun, school and parties. She doesn’t have a very happy relationship with her father, he only thinks of money and society. Valerie starts seeing this boy, Jeff and snuck out to see Queen, her first live concert with him. She thinks she has escaped without being caught only to get busted the next day. Her father lashes out at her and destroyed what relationship they did have, but this at least brings her mother out of her shell and Carmel is now sticking up for her daughter, Valerie. Valerie and Jeff go along and their relationship blossoms. Jeff’s mother, Tessa, can’t take to Valerie though and everything she does seems to put Tessa on edge. This is just the beginning of their story…..
This book tells the story of the three women (Briony, Valerie and Tessa) all linked together by family. It tells of their own lives, growing and becoming mothers; their hardships; their sacrifices; their relationships with each other, but also with their own separate families. The stories are all interwoven with each other brilliantly and the humour that the story includes just brings everything closer to mind and reality to the reader. All the detailing from the different times, right down to the leg warmers, technology and the way everybody spoke was amazing and so vivid. Just a warning though when reading this book, make sure you have a box of tissues on hand, because when you fall in love with Valerie and her life, the tears just start falling along with hers.
One of my favourite quotes: “Yikes, you nearly got Jeff Egan in the goolies!” snorted Lizzie. ~ Ha, thought this was so funny.