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I considered not even writing a post about All The Ways We Said Goodbye by White, Williams, and Willig. Quite frankly, I didn’t like this book. But then I realized this book would be a great example of the exact thing I feel most strongly about a book.
Even though I didn’t connect with a book, it doesn’t mean you won’t.
So here is a post about why I didn’t enjoy All The Ways We Said Goodbye by the three Ws.
All The Ways We Said Goodbye As a Collaboration
This is the third collaboration between the three Ws, and I have immensely enjoyed each book before this one. So I was surprised to find myself easily putting down this historical fiction book. I panicked thinking, I can’t write a post about this book. I didn’t feel enough to gather up words to talk about it.
So I checked out Amazon reviews wondering if I was the only one who didn’t connect with this book. At the time of this writing, there are 29 5-star reviews on Amazon. It was at that moment the light bulb went off. I may not have connected with this book but others did. So here are the reasons why this one fell short for me.
Nothing will kill a book faster than flat characters.
This World War I and II fiction novel follows the timelines of three different characters, Aurelie, Daisy, and Babs. The only one I cared about even a little bit was Daisy, and Babs went and murdered that plot line for me. (I won’t say why because it’s a spoiler.)
Aurelie gave me nothing. She’s a privileged young woman trapped behind enemy lines in France when she flees Paris out of spite for her mother with their family’s talisman.
Guys, this talisman. I just didn’t get it. So much was based on this talisman, and in the end, nothing really happens with it. It’s all summed up in a couple of paragraphs of explanation. Like really? I just read 400 pages about this thing, and you’re going to tell me, not show me, what happened with it?
But I digress. Aurelie has a romantic relationship with one of the German soldiers she knew before the war, but I couldn’t care about their romance. I wasn’t on board with Aurelie’s childish motivation, and the German soldier was kind in a vanilla sort of way. But I couldn’t get behind them.
Babs vs. Daisy
I am so heartbroken over these two characters. I cannot at all root for Babs. Not at all. She is a selfish, horrible woman. And the way the story goes, we’re supposed to forgive her at the end.
Well, I can’t. I caught myself skimming through her timeline. She undergoes a makeover sequence when she arrives in Paris to discover the identity of an agent during the war named La Fleur who may have had a romantic entanglement with Babs’ now deceased husband.
If you have read any historical fiction book ever, you will quickly figure out who La Fleur is. You will also figure out who Daisy’s mysterious book shop man is. The characters are so flat it leaves little guess work.
But Babs’ makeover seems forced, and the connection between Daisy, Babs, and the mysterious book shop guy is too simple.
Too Much Telling, Not Enough Showing
For how long this book was, there was a great deal of telling rather than showing. The entire summary of the secret agent web during the war is revealed in a flurry of dialogue at the very end.
A secondary character suddenly proclaims to be a second La Fleur and reveals the entire set up.
Wait. What just happened?
It was like a stage hand coming on stage during the third act to read from the script.
There were several loose ends in the plot, and I even went back to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.
The biggest loose end is Daisy’s husband, Pierre. He appears in Babs’ timeline after the war and implores Babs to find Daisy and his children. And we never hear about him again.
Did Babs ever tell him about his children? Why have Pierre be so imploring if what he’s asking for never comes up again?
Guys. The dog dies in this one. There was no label on it. No warning. And as you know, the issue of dogs is why I write up this section regarding every book.
So the trigger issues you may find in All The Ways We Said Goodbye by White, Williams, and Willig is…
- THE FREAKING DOG DIES!!!!
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I hope this book discussion doesn’t stop you from picking up this book if you enjoy this genre. I am an ardent fan of the three Ws, and despite how I felt about this book, I will absolutely pick up their next collaboration.
Did you read All The Ways We Said Goodbye by White, Williams, and Willig?
If so, tell us what you thought of it in the comments, but please – no spoilers!