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All This Time (Walker Family Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 352 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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I love the Walker Family series, and Raegan and Bear's story was the perfect note on which to end it. Raegan captured my heart immediately. I thought I knew who she was--the flighty youngest child who doesn't want to grow up. Wow, was I wrong. Raegan is filled with hidden depths including compassion, artistic brilliance, determination, and a fresh, optimistic way of looking at the world. Additionally, Rae's struggles give her a relatable backstory and vulnerable edges, perfect for God and Bear to smooth off. She leaps from the page and makes you root for her.
Bear is no slouch, either. Again, he's a fairly stereotypical character at first glance. He's the rebel, the neophyte Christian with a dark past and a lot of secrets. Well, he does have those, but it's not for the reasons you think. Through Bear's half of the story, Melissa executes some plot twists that, while not breath-stealing, were unpredictable and surprising. She also cashes in on the kid factor brilliantly, letting Bear show a softer side through his interactions with Jamie and Erin.
As always, Maple Valley's secondary cast more than measures up. I would be remiss if I didn't say the Walker family as a whole really "pops" in this novel. These people have been through a lot together, and it's taught them how to hang with each other no matter what. No matter how loving and stable our real families might be, we could all take a lesson. Outside the Walkers, characters like Megan Harrow, Elise Linder, and Raegan's teacher/mentor Mr. Hill give the story a lot of flavor. However, if I had to choose a favorite secondary character, it's probably Sara Jaminski, the late Mrs. Walker's best friend. I wanted to see a little more of her; maybe in the future, Melissa?
I wish there were more Walker books, but that's the mark of a good series--it always leaves you wanting more. If you haven't read the entire series yet, I recommend doing so ASAP. Kindle has a great deal on all four books. Melissa, please write more like this soon.
Throughout the course of this series, Maple Valley became a real place to me and the Walker family real people. Their interconnected stories have been both humorous and poignant, and each bring up a unique issue or conflict within the story. Raeghan’s story is no different. Though Raeghan loves Maple Valley, she has been hiding a secret her family that has kept her tied down and afraid to leave. Bear’s past has kept him tied down emotionally, and despite traveling all the way to Brazil, he can’t outrun his past. Something that really drew me into the story was the predicament of Bear’s family. His nephew and niece tugged at my heart strings. I’ve also always found Raeghan to be the more mysterious of the Walker siblings, so I loved getting her perspective on things. The two of them separately are intriguing, layered characters. Together, they are just utterly adorable. Their bond feels realistic because they were friends for so long, and Tagg definitely captures the tender shift from friendship to something deeper.
There is just something cozy and lovable yet realistic about these stories. Tagg excels at creating characters evoke empathy, situations that feel unique but universal to the human experience, and romances that simmer with both tension and sweetness. Though sadness is realistically portrayed, hope is always present. I recommend the entire Walker family series to readers of contemporary, inspirational fiction. And do start from the beginning. While I suppose this could be read as a standalone, I think that there is something special to building up to the last book after being with the Walkers for so long.