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All She Ever Wanted

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,063 ratings  ·  212 reviews
"All She Ever Wanted "presents the stories of three generations of women who left home on a journey to escape her family's mysterious past and to start a new life.
ebook, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Bethany House Publishers (first published 2005)
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I both like and dislike Lynn Austin, and in this book, everything I love and hate about her writing is there.

What I Love:
-Her characters, who are usually well-rounded, and can be charming, engaging, and flawed. While they're not as well-drawn as the characters in, say, a Francine Rivers book, they seem real enough.
-The little bits of humor she manages to sneak in.
-The conflicts are always character-centered, and every event serves to develop the characters more.
-The historical detail. I fel
Paula Vince
This story focuses on four generations of women in a family line. Each deplored her mother and resolved to be completely different. The passage of time hid the fact that they were all most alike, especially in their decisions to sever all ties with their families. Kathleen, who is number three in the pattern, realises that her relationship with her teenage daughter, Joelle, seems to be heading the same way. She delves into their past and becomes aware of the trend, arming her with understanding ...more
Naomi Bennet
Wow. Wow. Wow. I always knew Lynn Austin was my favourite writer (or very close at the top, anyway) but yet, this book BLEW ME AWAY.

This is the last Christian Fiction Lynn Austin book I've read, and I'm glad I waited till I was a little older. This is Lynn Austin's most mature book, I'd say, and covers a lot of topics I wouldn't have looked at in the right way several years ago. So yes, I would only recommend this book to older readers.


What I loved:
1. It was
Kathleen Seymour is having a "no-good-very-bad-day." A fight with her boss. A phone call from the police department about her teenage daughter. A fight with her daughter. And an invitation to attend a party for a dad she's not seen in over 35 years.
Too many events have stirred Kathleen's childhood memories. A trip back to the past (literally) is a chance for closure.

My Thoughts:
There are a few aspects of the book I really liked. There are a few aspects I did not like.
What I liked:
Annette Moore
This is a book that will likely stick with me long after tonight. It was both joyful and heart-wrenching in places. It's so sad how each character, in some way, had run away from her life--be it emotionally or physically, thereby leaving her family. Also very sad to me was the running theme of thinking you really want something, but when you finally get it, it isn't what you thought you wanted at all. I thought it was also very sad how the characters failed to ask for God's will in their lives. ...more
When I pick up a Lynn Austin book I have a hard time wanting to put it down.(In fact, I have stopped reading all my other books right now because my Austin books that are on hold keep coming in at the library!) I have come to really appreciate her writing skills and her ability to help the reader not only learn more about history and contemporary times, but also teach principles of forgiveness and compassion in a very enjoyable way. In this book, Austin explores the past of different characters ...more
I wanted to like this book. I really did. The first couple of pages had me thinking I would. The problem for me was that this story was too easy to walk away from and not think about again. There was not a single character that I rooted for--not a single one. And the problems they dealt with, though they created a complex web of family dysfunction, were just too shallow. Domineering man vs. helpless woman. Rich vs. poor. These same simple themes occurred in all three generations and I get that t ...more
I really enjoyed this book. And as far as Christian fiction goes, it's really nicely written. There were a few eye-roller moments at the end, but generally throughout the book references to religion and God seemed natural, not forced. That's my problem with most Christian fiction, God is forced into everything and it ends up being corny. Anyone who reads Christian fiction knows what I'm talking about. The God references are just eye-rolling moments where you're like, "good grief." But Lynn Austi ...more
Elizabeth S
Not Austen's best work. Austen has great potential but she makes the mistake of preaching way too much. While it is certainly not as bad as Though Waters Roar it is far too much.
The stories of the women are interesting but they ought to have been told in a more linear format. As it is I find it disjointed.
Fiona's story is the most tragic and the most horrible. I felt sorry for her but as the story continued I found her lack of understanding that her actions affect others highly annoying. She w
I was a little scared to read this book when the author bio listed going to church as an interest of the author (I had never heard of her or Christian fiction). I read the first chapter and was quite turned off by the references to the bible, church and Christianity. There was a conflict between mother and daughter and the family would try to deal with this by looking to the bible. I put it down but then I was on a plane and had nothing better to read so I picked it up again. The book did get be ...more
“This was a really interesting read, by a first time author for me (Lynn Austin).
The story is told about four generation of women in the same family, from present day, Kathleen, and her daughter Joelle , Kathleen's mother Eleanor and back to when Eleanor's mother ( Fiona) came over from Ireland as a teenager.
It starts out when Kathleen's daughter Joelle has been caught shoplifting and this actions brings back memories from when Kathleen was growing up, and a life she never told her daughter abou
Margaret Metz
I'm a big fan of Lynn Austin and have read several of her books. Most of them were favorites of mine. I had a hard time with this one.

Part of it was that it was a series of flashbacks instead of one story -- and those flashbacks didn't really make sense to me. The people telling the story told it with details they couldn't possibly know. I kept thinking - how would Leonard know all that from before he was born. Only a few newspaper clippings and a reluctant admission they were true would have be
Mandy McHenry
This is definitely one of those books that I couldn't put down and stayed up late to keep reading. A little over-the-top preachy at the end, but not until the last few pages. Otherwise, the stories got more and more intense and heart-wrenching. Reminds me of "Eve's Daughters", which is another one of Austin's books. Did not give it a 5 because it was a little too cheesy in some parts. :)
Love it, the depth of the characters, the stories, the descriptions... Only down side is a slightly-to-perfect/fairytale ending, but that's not enough for me to lower it down a star (hey, I grew up on Janette Oke... I'm used to overdone, fairytale endings!). I need to buy some more of Austen's books, I've read all I own :(
I think Lynn Austin is an excellent writer but this one just went on a too little long. Also, there was hardly a decent man in the whole book, it was just vulnerable women being taken advantage of, over and over.
Kathleen has struggled all her life to escape her past. After growing up in poverty with a disinterested mother, jail-bird father, and crazy hooligan brothers, Kathleen has vowed never to visit, speak of, or even think of her family. But when Kathleen's daughter is caught shoplifting - despite the advantages her mother has struggled to give her - Kathleen wonders where she went wrong. Furthermore, when Kathleen gets an invite to a family party celebrating her father's parole the same day she was ...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
This is the story about three women (or maybe I should say 4?)

It starts with Kathleen telling her daughter Joelle about her upbringing in a family with a thief for a father,a resigned mother who favors her younger brothers,and the live in maternal communist uncle.They are poor and because of the fathers and brothers shenanigans have a very poor reputation in the city where they live.

Kathleen through a friends mother finds solace in religion and the chance she might leave one day and never come b
This is the third novel that Austin wrote as a stand alone book. Her other works are Biblical series or trilogies which I won't be reading.

In 'ALL SHE EVER WANTED', Kathleen fled her home and family some thirty-five years ago to escape shame, poverty and the difficulties the family was having in keeping up with bills, clothing and the like.

Kathleen is married to Mike and they have a 16-year-old daughter named Joelle. At 16, Joelle is self-centered, selfish, angry at the world and is prone to st
Ah, another Austin book to devour! This one is labeled “contemporary fiction” rather than historical — the main storyline is set in the present-day. But the problems of the present have been wrapped up in legacies of the past … ooh, there’s that historical fiction aspect I love! ;-)

It’s really quite an example of the hearts of the children turning to the fathers — or, in this case, the mothers. A lack of communication between mother and daughter had been the legacy in the family — causing each s
Reading this book reminded me of Daphne Du Maurier's famous work, "Rebecca." The plot and characters are vastly different, but they both gave me the feel of a story rolling out like a ball of string, twisting and turning, raising new questions, answering some, enticing the reader to the conclusion.

In this novel, I appreciated the ability of the author to tell the story from a certain perspective without giving away excess details. We hear the account of Katherine's childhood, but it remains from
Plot Summary: What happens, When & Where, Central Characters, Major Conflicts[return]Kathleen doesn't like to talk about her past. But a confrontation with her daughter and an invitation from her estranged sister force her to open up about her background. As she and her daughter travel to the New York town where she grew up, she tells her about what it was like to grow up in extreme poverty, with a dad who was a thief and a mother who was chronically depressed and ill. Kathleen never wanted ...more
Liz Collins
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved this book, a good story with good principles written about forgiveness over three generations of women. I liked the concept of how one's past can influence one today and the future and how one must face the ghosts of the past in order to face the problems of today. This book also deals with the desires for wealth without regard to the cost of pursuing wealth when that pursuit disregards morals. Austin portrayed an accurate feel for the 1950 - 1960s era along with earlier eras.
I almost took this back to the library not quite half read. I had other things I wanted to read and the story just hadn't grabbed me yet. Luckily, I had a night of "pregnancy insomnia" and zipped through the rest. Boy, would I have missed out on a good story!! I should know by now that Lynn Austin is a careful storyteller, building her characters and their relationships so they're real and tangible and sometimes that means being giving the book a few chapters to get it's hooks into you. This boo ...more
Regina Spiker
Another book on how secrets and poor choices can affect many generations. Even though the book begins in the present day with secretive Kathleen distraught over her teenage daughter, Joelle, caught shoplifting - it all began in Ireland, with lovely, young Fiona moving to America with her father in a quest for all that they couldn't have back in the green Isles. Fiona's choices affect her son and daughter, Elenore, in turn during the war years, whose bad choices and secrets affect Kathleen - who ...more

This penning by Lynn Austin is totally worth the read. She does a remarkable job of taking you through four generations plus two countries,Ireland to the USA. Money played a big part of the lives in this story and shows how money has both good and evil outcomes. In the end love overcomes the evil and that love endures forever with Jesus Christ our Lord..
I enjoyed the book. There were times I was frustrated at how the book unfolded with going back first one generation and then two. It could have been done a little better I think. But it was a good concept as we lived the experiences of Kathleen going back and ,earning about first her mom and then her grandma.
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. Generally I have a low tolerance for books in the Christian Fiction section. They are often cheesy and just not my style. This book is well written, contains developed characters and an excellent moral. Definitely one of my favorites for the month.
OK here's the conclusion I've drawn about Lynn Austin after two books. She is great at developing depth and meaning to her characters. She is good at entertwining her Christian themes within in her fictional stories in a way that keeps you turning pages... Until - she gets bogged down. I noticed that as you near the end of the story she is trying to drive a point home that she beat until it was quite dead within the first few chapters of the book. I loved the story and the characters, but near t ...more
This was a 5-star book till the very end. The plot was really interesting and well-written. I loved how the author introduced you to the characters so that you saw what they had become, then flashbacked to show you how they got down the road they ended up on. Then you got to see what made the people who influenced THEIR lives. It gave an interesting view of how people's experiences and their choices form their characters, ultimately changing their lives and the lives of those around them.

My onl
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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 ...more
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“You have beautiful hair"... and she reached out to touch it, her bejeweled fingers gently caressing my head. A tear slipped down my cheek. I knew how the lepers felt when Jesus touched them and made them whole again.” 0 likes
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