All He Ever Wanted

All He Ever Wanted

Large Print - 2003
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Etna Bliss has just moved to the New England town where her uncle teaches college when her life is transformed in a single stroke. She is dining ia a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. Amid the smoke and chaos standing under a streetlight is the man who was dining in the same room-a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss. That man is Nicholas Van Tassel. He is ill equiped to deal with the ferocity of love. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds his memories of the years that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night. This is no ordinary tale of obsession. All he ever wanted is a story about different kinds of love, different ideas of what love is, and how lives can be strained to breaking over those differences. It is a powerful exploration of the music and silences of family life, the unhinging forces of desire, the wrenching power of secrets unrevealed, and the bewildering territories of betrayal and loss. Written with the maturity, beauty, intelligence, and grace that are Anita Shreve's hallmarks, all he ever wanted is a story that powerfully conjures another time and place, peopled by unforgettable characters as real as the emotions that bring them together
Publisher: Boston : Little, Brown, and Co., c2003
ISBN: 9780316711128
Branch Call Number: LP F Shr
Characteristics: 479 p


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Dec 06, 2018

This novel is a prequel to her novel Stella Bain.

Feb 12, 2013

All he ever wanted was a beautiful wife, a nice family and a comfortable life. Nicholas van Tassel got all that but the true love of his wife eluded him. Etna Bliss said yes to his marriage proposal but was frank about not loving him. Their lives are unremarkable, spanning the turn of the century and the changes that took place over that time. He is a successful professor at a small college and she is a wife, mother, and volunteer at a charity centre. She does have a secret that is revealed at the end of the story. Throughout, the tone is calm. Seemingly, nothing ruffles many feathers, and even the reveal seems subdued. Shreve's stories, for me, all seem to have that same swimmy quality where things happen but the edges are blunted, where emotions and reactions are toned down. Those who like her stories will find this one even more muted than usual.


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