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All She Ever Wanted Paperback – October 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

One of Christian fiction's favorite authors pens an engaging story about family secrets that begins powerfully, but eventually loses steam. Kathleen Seymour's carefully constructed world starts to collapse when her teenage daughter, Joelle, is caught shoplifting and a row with her boss leaves Kathleen unemployed. After a few sessions with a therapist, Kathleen tries reconnecting with her daughter by taking her to a party hosted by the estranged family members Kathleen left years ago. Through multiple points of view and rich, detailed flashbacks to previous generations, Austin convincingly illustrates how shame and bad choices can affect families for years. The fairy-tale ending is less convincing, as it's replete with former delinquents spouting pat phrases; it's also implausible that painful relationships between family members are easily repaired with a single trip back home. But the three-time Christy Award winner offers the surprising plot twists and fresh language that keep her fans coming back to the bookstores for each new novel. (Oct.)
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Review

"I found her style to be an easy read--her story is compelling and draws me into her characters." -- Marty Medley, Armchair Interviews.com

"Lynn Austin is one of the most engaging authors I have ever had the privilege to read. Highly recommended!" -- Sherri Myers, Christian Library Journal

"[A] brilliant novel about love, forgiveness, [and] suffering... perfect for women who have seen hard times... I recommend it...." -- Andrea Burns, Christian Book Previews.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; Reprinted edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764228897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764228896
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

Customer Reviews

This book keeps you reading from page one.
Kim Higgins
Lynn Austin's writing style is unique and memorable...a wonderful blending of history and life stories.
Amazon Customer
This was another WONDERFUL book by one of my favorite authors, Lynn Austin.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Ahlers on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ms. Austin has again penned another emotional and heart gripping read with her latest effort "All She Ever Wanted." This is a story that just about everyone can relate to at some point in their lives, and it aptly demonstates how family truly influences future relationships.

This story opens with the strained relationship between Kathleen and her daughter Joelle. Mother and daughter are on the way to see family that Kathleen has not seen in over thirty-five years. Along the way Kathleen begins to relive her troubled past in hopes that she will be able to reach her daughter. From there we travel back in time to see how three generations of women who have left their troubles behind truly effect the future generations that had yet come.

This was an awe inspiring read, one that will truly amaze the reader as they set off on an emotional journey of highs and lows. Joelle, Kathleen, Elenore, and Fiona are all dynamic characters and the reader will feel as if they have been drawn into the drama that created these women for better or worse. The use of faith in this story is subtle yet strong for the small role it plays again, in forming these ladies. This is one read that I highly recommend.

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on November 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
All she ever wanted was a loving husband, a close family, and a beautiful house in the suburbs. And Kathleen is living out her dream, or so she believes, when her daughter Joelle is arrested for shoplifting. As a part of her reconciliation with Joelle, Kathleen finds she must let go of her current dream life and face the reality of her past. Even as a Christian, she finds this too painful to bear.

Kathleen receives a homecoming invitation from her sister, and encouraged by her husband and daughter, she agrees to revisit her hometown. Kathleen and Joelle take the trip together, and together they begin to understand the mysteries of the past--not only Kathleen's but also her mother Eleanor and her grandmother Fiona. In this light, Kathleen is able to truly forgive and live anew.

All She Ever Wanted is the first book that I have read by Lynn Austin, but I will go back and read her previous releases. I found her style to be an easy read--her story is compelling and draws me into her characters. Her message about understanding and forgiveness makes me to consider my own life.

"Let what we suffer teach us to be merciful--let our sins teach us to forgive."

Armchair Interviews says: Lynn Austin provides a thought-provoking yet entertaining read for everyone.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Eby on March 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
All She Ever Wanted is one of those books you can't put down. The characters are engaging, the settings well-described and the stories believable and insightful. This author is immensely talented at bringing others' realities to light in ways that help us understand human existence and experiences with God.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristy Scott on August 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
I could hardly tear myself away from this book. The author brought the situations and feelings of the characters to life so well, I felt like I was there. Also emphasizes the significance of planting seeds of faith in a young person's life even when we don't see immediate results.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carol LeFlore on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really loved this book. I don't usually read historical fiction, but I believe this book is a great starting off place for anyone who (like me) doesn't really think they'll like it much. The "old" stories are stitched seamlessly onto a modern-day background, blending the best of both worlds into one book. As for me, I will definetely be checking out more historical fiction after reading this. Lynn Austin's writing style was witty, clever and funny. The only problem I had with this book was that the ending seemed a little rushed and thrown together. I don't think it would have seemed thrown together if it had just gone on a little longer. In other words, I liked the ending a lot but all the loose ends were just tied up a little too fast for my taste. Definitely check it out though. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Lovely to See You on August 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Once an English writing major at a liberal college, this reviewer was informed by one of my professors that Christian writers have no depth of substance for their books and little creative freedom. Boy, was she wrong! Lynn Austin's All She Ever Wanted is one of the most fascinating and addictive reads I have ever had the pleasure of discovering.

As other reviewers here have already delved into the storyline, I will cut to the chase and say that the old Biblical prophecy echoes like a ripple in a pond here. Kathleen's family doesn't just keep repeating its unfortunate history, but the men that her female predecessors get tangled up with are no help either, and the result is a fascinating battle of wills, guilt, and terrible tragedy. Through all of it, however is the amazing story of Kathleen's conversion to Christianity as a small child at the hands of a neighbor who was once her mother's best friend.

For 30 years Kathleen has been so angry with her family that she has refused to see them until her own daughter Joelle's misbehavior leads her to finally open up and let her into a very painful past. But the amazing surprise is yet to come when mother and daughter arrive in her hometown for a family reunion, and Kathleen is about to discover things she never knew before.

This book is beautiful and moving, deep and involving in ways you can only experience to understand how great it is. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone, no matter what your background might be. After all, there is a little of every one of us in it.
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