Book Review: It All Comes Back To You by Beth Duke

“A love story can be described, but it’s truly known to only two people. They share the first accidental brush of fingertips, every sigh and private joke. They dance to the same music in their hearts for a lifetime.”

― Beth Duke, It All Comes Back to You 

Southern fiction is at its funniest, coziest, saddest, craziest, inspiring, and most beautiful in It All Comes Back To You. Duke creates a fascinating old character to treasure in the vein of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, as well as a young protagonist to win your heart. 

Synopsis from Goodreads...

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.

My reaction to this novel...

Because of the impression its cover provided me, at first I assumed this work had anything to do with fairy tales.  I am looking for a light read, so I've decided to start reading it. When I first read the synopsis, I had second thoughts since I suspected the narrative would be dramatic. Yet, because I was too sluggish to browse for another book on my shelf at the moment, I ignored my concerns and began reading it.

When it comes to the elderly, I truly have a vast compassion. Perhaps because I grew up with my grandparents, reading and discovering things about the elderly made me emotional. So I fully braced myself for any emotions I could experience while reading this. It also became meaningful to me when the protagonist of the narrative is also a nurse, as I am a nurse as well, even though I do not work in the same field as the protagonist. Oh, anyhow, I can connect to a nurse's ability to empathize with their patients for sure because all medical professionals can relate in this kind of feelings everytime they are taking care of their patients.

I rather like reading more about Violet than Ronni. Though she encounters several bad circumstances, her narrative is more entertaining. She added color to the book, and I can't stop thinking about and wanting to read her chapters. Reading this actually took me a while, not just because I got busy but also because there were several portions, particularly when Ronni's point of view was mentioned, that truly added to my boredom. I truly believed that Ronni plays a significant role in Violet's life—not just as a nurse, but in deeper ways—so I was a little disappointed when the plot diverged so drastically from what I had anticipated.

There were several occasions when I disagreed with Violet's choice. She ought to have fought more for her rights and the rights of her kid, in my opinion. She shouldn't just go with the flow; instead, she should fight for what she wants, since I believe she missed the chance and changed from the person she once was. She experienced the affection of various men, but she ought to have known better. I thought the one she will chose to love was not the one she ended up with in the book, but it contributed to the story's twist and crispness, so I really want to applaud the author on that. Nevertheless, I never anticipated this story to take a unique turn, so I'm a little shocked, but I also felt a little sorry for Violet.

This story merits the rating it currently has. Even if you will become bored occasionally, like I did while reading this, I can still tell that Violet's narrative is so vivid and captivating that it will leave every reader wanting to know more. I like her a lot. This book is absolutely worth reading and recommending.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐(4/5)

“This sadness will transform you. All sadness does. It will help you understand yourself. Let it guide you.”

Occasionally, when we are overcome by our own sadness, we have a tendency to forget this. Every sadness offers us the chance to gain new knowledge and get a deeper understanding of not only the people around us but, most importantly, of ourselves. We frequently confront and manage our sadness with the assumption that it will never go away. that the darkness it possesses would engulf us. We weren't aware at the time that this sadness would also lead to the understanding we seek.

“Laughter was the only way we could cope. It was like the momentum needed to keep going forward on a bicycle. The humor propelled us down the halls.”

Laughter, in my opinion, is one of the things that propels us ahead. Without such positive things, we would be enveloped in darkness, thus we search for things that would make us smile or laugh. We can't live without the things that make us happy. Happiness and laughter go hand in hand so that individuals can have something to look forward to or have a cause to get up every morning with a smile on their face and a warm heart.


Disclaimer: Booksreadbyhannel is not a business website. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and based only on my own feelings and reactions while reading the books I featured here in my blog. My reviews reflect my utmost sincerity. I paid for the books I review here out of my own pocket. Books provided by authors and publishers are otherwise specified.