Date: 29 November 2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Hachette NZ
Nancy is four, nearly five. She talks all the time. But then, one February morning, everything changes, and Nancy stops talking.
Eva is forty-four, nearly fort-five. She didn't expect to be the third wife of a semi-retired bad boy Michael Quinn fell in love. It was the love of a lifetime for them both - until Mickey dies suddenly, leaving Eva alone.
While Nancy's parents negotiate their separation, the question of weekend contact is solved when Patrick volunteers his siser Eva's house. It's plenty of room for her to get to know a niece and nephew she's barely met.
The fortnightly presence of two children in her peaceful, grown-up home initially drives Eva to exhaustion, but as spring turns to summer, a trust slowly forms between an anxious little girl and a woman who realised too late that what her soul years for is the love of a child.
All I Ever Wanted is a book that drew me in and had me hooked into the lives of the various characters in the book.
Nancy is a small four year old, full of life, until she makes a wish that comes true, and she is so traumatised by it she stops speaking. She is a sweet little thing and I love her relationship with a dog.
Joel is ten and it seems like he bounces of the wall at times. He exudes energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes that lands him in small time trouble. Yet he is kind and thoughtful and always has an eye out for his young sister Nancy.
Patrick is their Dad, we aren't given his point of view in the book so at times it was hard to get a read on him. He certainly has his annoying qualities and at times I was ready to totally despair of him. Yet these qualities were balanced by others that redeemed him, and so I was holding an open mind for him - just!
Caitlin, his wife and mother to Nancy and Joel, I found equally frustrating. At times she was rather in my view irresponsible and while she rightly resented some things about Patrick, she still had faults of her own that needed some attention. Yet she is a wonderful mother and her children are at the centre.
Eva is Patrick's sister, widowed after a shortish marriage, she is just beginning to re-evaluate her life and to see what she wants now. I loved her the most, and along with her two dogs - Bumble and Bee - she is very integral to the story. My favourite scene in the book involves her and the dogs. Won't give away who else is there as well!
All the characters develop in the book in satisfying ways. All of them could be your next door neighbour. They weren't idealistic amazing people, but like you and me, facing the challenges thrown at them, sometimes well and sometimes not.
It was my first time reading a Lucy Dillon book, and I will certainly be very happy to read other books by her.