I recently ‘met’ author Beth Duke in a wonderful Facebook group called Book Connectors (if you’re an author, reader, blogger, go find them, it’s a great place to connect!) and we got chatting about her book and I agreed to read it.
I am so flipping glad I did!
If you follow my blog, you’ll know I typically read thrillers with lots and lots of twists and dead bodies and blood, guts, and gore but every so often I love a good palette cleanser and Duke’s It All Comes Back To You was perfect for this.
Here’s the blurb …
Alabama, 1947.War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing. Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world. Everybody loves her. In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers. Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention. When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year. As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time.
It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs. Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline. But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person.
And they don’t stop. Everything changes.
Alternating chapters between Homecoming Queen Violet in 1947 and can’t-quite-find-her-crown Ronni in the present, IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU is book club fiction at its hilarious, warm, sad, outrageous, uplifting, and stunning best. In the tradition of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, Duke delivers an unforgettable elderly character to treasure and a young heroine to steal your heart.
My thoughts …
Veronica works in a care home and is surrounded by some hilariously quirky characters. She’s plodding along through life until her favourite resident, Violet, dies. Ronni is distraught until she discovers Violet has left her a challenge of sorts.
All the stories Violet shared with Ronnie have much more to them and she wants Ronnie to share her life with the world and she’s left her diaries and letters as she wants Ronnie to publish her life story and has set everything up so that can happen. And, if Ronnie does it within a year, she’ll inherit a fortune.
Thankfully, Ronnie loved Violet too much for this quest to be focussed on her money. She wants to find out the rest of the tales, she wants to understand the woman who made her feel loved again because Ronnie’s life wasn’t all roses either.
As we swap between now and then chapters, we discover how Violet became the vivacious character she is in her final years, we discover how her life wasn’t always filled with laughter and love, we discover how she went through dark times to come out into the sunshine.
We also learn all about Ronnie’s upbringing and how these two women, born decades apart in completely different worlds, are actually very similar.
Ronnie goes on a huge personal journey during the next year. She meets a man, she faces her own past, and in doing so, she blossoms.
I really enjoyed this one. It’s sweet, romantic, funny, and heartbreaking. I laughed and cried and felt all the emotions.
Definitely one for the TBR if you like a feel good romance with a twist of mystery and intrigue.
Go and grab your copy now!