McCormack, Annabelle. All This Time. self-published, 2022. 376 pp. ISBN 979-8986529400. $16.99
Supercomplicated plot: Sam, home to take care of her sister Laura, who is having her third child, ends up staying to care for her mother, who collapses at home while Laura is still recovering from her C-section. Photographer Sam, on deadline for holiday work, pitches in at the rental cabins her mother manages, and finds herself falling for old frenemy Garrett, her best friend Katie’s ex-fiance–the one who left her at the altar–who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend Eli’s best friend. Brocode is that you don’t date your buddy’s ex-girlfriend, but the Army vet handyman and Sam go way back, having bonding in elementary school when both their less-than stellar dads were fodder for town gossip. Even though he’s labeled as ASSHOLE in her phone and they haven’t spoken in awhile, Eli asks Garrett to look after Sam and he is all too happy to do so… and she is happy to let him.
It was challenging to keep all the dynamics straight and I found the characters pretty one-dimensional and immature for their mid-twenties. While the various storylines are resolved, everyone is quick to accept apologies from toxic people and ready to move on. There is some fat shaming and Sam’s boss comes off as stereotypically Jewish and not very nice. While better than a lot of new adult titles I’ve breezed through, the setting doesn’t particularly stand out, the writing was highly dramatic but rather pedestrian, and I didn’t like or feel vested in any of the characters. I don’t tend to look too closely at publishers when selecting my NetGalley requests, and when I saw this was a self-published title, went, oh, makes sense; there was no editing.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #AllThisTime from #NetGalley.