All The Forgiveness by Elizabeth Hardinger

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All The Forgiveness is a stunning debut novel by author Elizabeth Hardinger.

This story follows Bertie, a young girl born in Appalachia in early 1900’s, through the trials of growing up poor and with minimal education, the trauma of losing siblings and parents, alcoholism and it’s effects on the family.

Thrust into an impossible position of responsibility at a terribly young age, Bertie makes decisions that leave her haunted with guilt for years to come.  As the years pass, learning to trust in the strong woman she has become, forgiving herself for things that were never in her control, and believing herself worthy of love and happiness may be the hardest challenge of all.

This is one of those stories that although I know is just fiction, touched me deeply. Imagining a child faced with the responsibilities and sorrows most adults would find difficult at best, I couldn’t help but feel for and root for Bertie.

I enjoyed everything about this book. It is written in the speech patterns appropriate for the times, locations, and educational levels of the characters. It took a page or two to get used to, but soon became charming in its own simple way.

The characters are diverse and believable, the movement through time flowed seamlessly. I appreciated that there was no one major climactic event in this story, rather a slow build of events that brings relief with a final realization and satisfying conclusion.

My typical expectation of historical fiction is a fictional story woven around a person, place, or event of historical significance. I’m not sure this meets that description. Maybe more accurate to be classified as simply Fiction?

Regardless, it’s a lovely story I highly recommend.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

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