I was fortunate to be given an ARC via The Book Club on Facebook in return for a fair and honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I must be honest with you. When I asked to review this book by author Eva Jordan I had not read the first book in the series, “183 Times A Year”, so my first stop was to do just that. I read the books back to back so it is possible I may muddle some events, BUT the first thing that I would recommend is that you do read the first novel before embarking on “All the Colours In Between” for both maximum background and enjoyment. I will try my best not to give any spoilers for the second book!
The modern blended, extended family. Marriage, divorce, teenagers, love, deceit, 3 generations, ex partners, friends, illness, flying the nest – this list is the tip of the iceberg of the life topics to be found in “All the Colours In Between”. Lizzie is the mum, step mum, lover, daughter, ex-wife, friend and mentor driving the story of her family and the individual members life journeys. She lives with her daughter, step daughter and son – all young adults by this book – and her partner Simon. Her parents play a huge role in the family, along with her brother and his family and not forgetting the rollercoaster that is best friend Ruby. The relationship with her ex, the father of Cassie and Connor, is strained at best. But at this point Lizzie has become an author against all the odds – selling real books and featuring in the best sellers list – whilst in the first book she dreamed of this whilst working with books as a librarian.
In this book Lizzie’s daughters Cassie and Maisie have grown up, ditched their teen disguises, spread their wings and left home. Her son Connor has evolved from a lovely pre-teen into a grunting, hoody wearing, sullen sixteen year old. I normally write a bit more about the plot in my reviews, but I really don’t want to give too much away. Reading both of Eva Jordan’s novels gave me the same feeling that I had when I first saw the BBC comedy Outnumbered. I was certain that someone had planted cameras in my household! Of course as mum I identify with Lizzie – so much. When she describes her conversations with her children and her own parents, I was shouting “Yes!” The feelings of exasperation trying to get through to a teenage boy who looks like a man, is the size of a man, sounds like a man, and thinks he is a man yet is really a man boy – these could have been penned by yours truly! The descriptions of her forays onto Social Media mirrored my own – my young adult kids shake their heads and ask themselves why they introduced me to it!
But Ms Jordan shakes up the commentary by writing different chapters with the voices of different family members. In the first book she writes as Lizzie and Cassie for the majority of the time, and in this book Connor features to a greater extent too. The Cassie of “All the Colours In Between” is older, slightly wiser, but still hilarious in her ability to use completely the wrong phrase or to misunderstand a saying. Whilst her story is extremely dark in places, her love for her family shines through from start to finish. Her description of a particularly stressful car journey with Maisy toward the end of the book is just hilarious – no spoilers, so no more! Connor is that teen who feels misunderstood by all adults, is just experiencing sexual attractions, the pull of alcohol, spliffs and parties, yet is still damaged from the rejection by his father as a young child. Maisy has moved across the world as true love struck, but when life took an unexpected turn (including a meeting with biological mum) it is her family who she returns to.
I really could write an essay about this book, but needless to say I LOVED IT! There is no sugar coating life here – relationships fail, family life is hard work to maintain, good things happen and shit happens. Eva Jordan gives us it all in a way that had me laughing out loud one minute – particularly with Salocin, the grandfather – and then crying the next. But no matter what life throws at them, this family will continue to grow and love each other….with some hiccoughs along the way. I cannot wait for the next instalment…..please, Eva Jordan!
Five golden stars from me.