I always enjoy Lynn Austin’s books. She is a great storyteller basing many of her stories on historical facts. The characters and situations she creates are so believable, you forget you are reading fiction. All she ever wanted (Bethany House, 2005)tells the story of three gene rations of women who mostly lived in America in the 20th century. Rather than start at the beginning, Austin chooses to start at the end of the story with the current generation and work backwards from there. This has the interesting effect of meeting some rather obnoxious characters early in the book and then discovering some painful events in their past which led to their unpleasant behaviour. One is left to wonder how often we do this in life. We meet people who are decidedly disagreeable and we form poor opinions of them. Yet we really don’t know what pain and suffering they may have endured through no fault of their own which has led to them being the way they are.
Lynn Austin, through the use of fiction, also explores the corrupting power of wealth. Several of her characters are wealthy but they use their financial position to oppress and take advantage of the poor and unskilled. It is a sad commentary on human nature. However, while there is a tragic side to much of the book, Austin also provides moments of light relief through the use of good humour as well as some mystery with a murder to be solved.
Overall a good read.