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Everything Will Be All Right

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  377 ratings  ·  42 reviews
When Joyce Stevenson is thirteen, her family moves to the south of England to live with their aunt Vera. Vera and her sister Lil aren't at all alike. Vera, a teacher, has unquestioning belief in the powers of education and reason; Lil puts her faith in seances. Joyce is determined to be different: she falls in love with art (and her art teacher). Spanning five decades of ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Picador (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  377 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Claire Fuller
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 1960s, 1950s
My first five-star book of 2020. The novel is the story of three generations of English women from just after WW2, to about the present day. it's their ordinary lives, loves, work, and children. Beautiful writing, wonderful characters.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It's hard to explain why this novel kept me so absorbed. There's no plot as such, and not all that much happens, other than normal life events seen through three generations of women. But Tessa Hadley's skill is in taking you so thoroughly into the heads of her characters that you become them. Their experiences touch you as if you were living them. I found this particularly the case with Zoe, no doubt because she is the same generation as me. I recognised not just myself in her, but people I ...more
Oct 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Tessa Hadley's amazing. This is the second novel I've read by her (Accidents in the Home's the other) and I'm looking forward to reading her two new books. She's without a doubt one of the very best contemporary writers. Her characters are real and memorable and she makes them this way quickly, with lovely sentences and details. I thought the structure of the book was great. It opened with a contemporary scene, introducing us to four generations of women that it then moved back in time to show ...more
Gretchen Achilles
Of all the Tessa Hadley books I've just read (3, started by a story in the New Yorker recently) This was the best. The plot sounds tired, a look at 4 generations of women in in one british family, but it is anything but. It is absolutely fascinating to see how the culture of each generation affects them, and how they change and age/come of age.
Sara Habein
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wanted to hug this book’s face off. If you’re not familiar with Sara-praise, that’s the kind of swooning compliment I reserve for Noel Gallagher and The West Wing. As in, I find very few faults in what I see, and the faults I do find, I brush off with the affection of an indulgent spouse. Talent moves me, particularly good writing.

So you’re saying you liked the book, Sara? Yes, I loved the book.

Intense longing, bedtime smells, English accents and complicated artists? Man, it’s like someone
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, family-story
I love Tessa Hadley's writing. She is young, willing to push against the traditional fictional fences, and gets how people talk and interact with each other today. This is an early novel, one I'd never heard of; I couldn't even find it when I googled Hadley's novels. I just happened to find it while browsing in my local library.

Everything Will Be All Right is a wonderful story of the changing course of marriage and family dynamics from post war England in the 1950s through to the early 2000's.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable read about mothers and daughters -- a topic that I usually disdain in a novel. Ron I forget his last name, the critic for the Washington Post just favorably reviewed Hadley's latest novel and I found this, her first I believe, at the library. According to Ron, when she failed in her early life to get a book published, she went back to school and got a graduate degree focused on Henry James. He believes that immeasurably influenced her writing, in a great way. Without out trying to ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful--Hadley sketches the four generations of this family in such lush detail. The women are all so realistically drawn--Zoe in particular reminds me of people I knew from school, who struggled when it came time to leave the world of the intelligentsia behind for family life and child-rearing.
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree with the Times reviewer: strangely compelling despite almost total lack of a plot. I would have liked to follow each main character for longer, but layering their stories added something, too. I like that Hadley concentrates not on courtship itself but on the early years of a significant relationship instead-- a new marriage, e.g. It's very interesting, and much less common to read about.
Gillian Williams
This book is definitely alright.

A good read about a family where the generations so represent their times. Very evocative of respective eras and way of life.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remarkably well written and complex, with characters that live and breathe. An enjoyable story, although at times it rambled so widely it seemed a bit off kilter. She's a terrific writer.
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
A rich and very satisfying meandering between four generations of women and how they attempt to discover how to live their lives. Superbly insightful and vivid and thoroughly enjoyable.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this author. Her writing is excellent. The characters are perfectly described. Life over the years. ...more
Choi B.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If everything hurts, always remember that everything will be alright! ;)
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still totally in love with the wonderful Tessa Hadley; I think it's because her books are just slices of the characters' lives, they feel so real, I could read their whole lives...
Linda Gaines
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Hadley's novels. this one takes a family through several generations and shows how people grow and change. the characters are vibrant and believable.
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man, I don't know. This was like all Tessa Hadley's other novels. Okay, not great. I just didn't find the characters real enough, or the plot particularly interesting.. Which wouldn't matter, I mean, I've read books where not much happens but I can't put them down because the writing is so good, the characters so vivid.. But that's just not the case here. I don't know, I mean, it wasn't a crappy book. It was a solid 3 stars, maybe 3.3. Some parts were more interesting than others, but all ...more
I didn't quite see the point of this book - a rather tedious account of the lives of rather stereotypical people. The writing is fine, but that didn't make up for the lack of plot and the rambling on through the generations.
Ruth Anne
Apr 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I very rarely put down a book without finishing it. About 100 pages in, I couldn't take anymore. Other reviewers gush about how well the characters are defined -- I found I couldn't keep track of who any of them were, being so poorly depicted. And the story, such as it was, was flat out boring.
Avril Caryer
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, the story of 4 generations of women in the same family. It effectively charts the social mores of the twentieth century.
Why is it necessary to abandon speech marks? I can’t see any positive reason for it and it just makes conversations more difficult to follow.
Billie Hinton
A good read, multigenerational tale that shifts in time and perspective.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's my comfort read. Never disappoints
Julia Schulz
Apr 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yawn! Another one I won't be finishing. Too many characters; too much fluffy description; too many books, so little time...
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very dry story also kind of dismal.
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy Tessa Hadley's writing and her soft and soothing depiction of home and family life and family ties, but sometimes I miss the fact that there really is no plot at all, just a telling of events......but still...she is an enjoyable read.
Keziah Shepherd
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting read, where, we follow the inner lives of three generations of women, Joyce, Zoe and Pearl unsure whether their 'wills' are the rudder of the river of life or if the bigger life is. The book travels from story to story, linking the heroines with an array of family and friends who either misread, connect, love or rebel. It has the same epic feel of Wild Swans, linking family sagas with the bigger picture, or Noel Coward's 'This Happy Breed' The book's events flow like a river, the ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tessa ties four generations of strong women together with family tales of acceptance and rejection. The men come and go, but the women struggle within their generation to find meaning, despite life's ills and false starts. After I read Tessa Hadley in the New Yorker, I knew I had to go back and read her fiction.
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging. Chronicles the lives of three generations of English women over four decades of social and political change. Interesting to see how the daughters reject their mothers when they are young but return and mimic them later.
Paula J.
Really 3.5 stars. This one started slowly, but then I liked the latter part of the book quite a bit. It covers the sweep of women's lives across three generations and has some beautiful and deeply painful moments.
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Tessa Hadley is the author of Sunstroke and Other Stories, and the novels The Master Bedroom, Everything Will Be All Right, and Accidents in the Home. She lives in Cardiff, Wales, and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.