Audiobook, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance

All That We Are by Mariah Stewart #MariahStewart @BrilliancePub

the setup…
It’s been over ten years since Emma Dean’s husband Harry died suddenly from a heart attack. He was president of the local bank, a family tradition, and left her well cared for financially. Over the years, she’s carved her own path, creating and managing the town’s art center where she helps promote and feature local artists. Her son, Chris, a famous rock star and lead singer for DEAN, helps support her efforts. When she decides to empty out some of her husband’s old records to make room for her business, she discovers evidence of a longtime affair with a woman she knows well. It shakes her to her core, calling into question their entire relationship and the life they shared together.

the heart of the story…
Even though Emma has made the art center a success, this was sort of her own coming of age story where she begins to see herself as more than Harry’s wife and Chris’s mother. She’s a preacher’s daughter who went straight from college into marriage, the more conservative and proper of her two best friends Maggie Flynn and Liddy Bryant (think signature pearls with every outfit). It was refreshing to see her go through the stages of new grief after discovering Harry’s duplicity as it was not only realistic but it helped peel back the veneer she’d developed during her marriage. For the first time, she makes decisions based on her own needs, including the possibility of a relationship with Owen Harrison who is from a prestigious family in the community and offers her new experiences well beyond that in Wyndham Beach. But it’s the surprise visitor who shows up at her front door that is truly life changing. It consumed me more than any of the other plot lines.

the narration…
I found the two previous narrators were perfectly suited for their characters and it was no different here. She seemed to exemplify in voice, tone and affectation all that I believed Emma to be. I enjoyed her performance as she not only came across authentically as Emma but handled the other characters distinctively.

the bottom line…
Before this story, I didn’t find Emma all that interesting beyond being the mother of a rock star. She shines here as she finds her own voice and makes some brave and important decisions that maybe she would have handled differently if she hadn’t become introspective about the realities of her marriage. There’s a major storyline that would be spoilerish to talk about so all I’ll say is that it was fascinating and life changing for Emma. While her romance with Owen was a bit tepid, I liked where it was going. I enjoyed the story overall and really believe the open threads go beyond my imagination and merit another book, at least a novella! I love this series and am not ready for it to end. Emma turned out to be a really nice surprise.

Book Info

  • Release Date: December 13, 2022
  • Series: Wyndham Beach #3
  • Narrator: Linda Jones
  • Audio Length: 12 hours, 4 minutes
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio


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(Thanks to Brilliance Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

19 thoughts on “All That We Are by Mariah Stewart #MariahStewart @BrilliancePub”

  1. Just finished it and loved it. I found the “adoption” thing strange though. If a child had turned up like that here in UK, social workers etc would be involved. Can children really turn up on the doorstep in US like that and noone bothers?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful review, Jo. I love that this series is about strong women, with different issues that could affect anyone. I am so looking forward to this one and it is read/listen on KU.


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