My Rating: 4/5*
I have avoided the romance genre throughout my entire life. Two people falling madly in love and having a perfect life – could life really be so magical?
However, something about “Most of All You” by Mia Sheridan drew me in. After constantly seeing it on the shelves of Chapters and after seeing the incredible reviews on Goodreads, I decided to give it a try. Plus, this story didn’t seem like the usual fairy tale romance that one might read.
For Crystal, the main character in “Most of All You”, life has been hard. She regards love as “only bringing her pain.” After losing her Mom at a young age and after living through abuse and rape, Crystal doesn’t love herself or even know how to love.
When Gabriel meets Crystal, he has his own baggage because he was tortured as a young man. Unlike Crystal, Gabriel can love someone but is often triggered in a negative way when someone touches him. Gabriel’s body won’t allow him to forget the physical and emotional pain he has endured.
“Most of All You” begins with a predictable plotline but then there is a twist. It is no longer a formulaic boy-meets-girl, boy-and-girl-fall-in-love-and-are-happy-together, romantic story. The characters of Crystal and Gabriel feel very authentic because they deal with really difficult situations from their pasts. They constantly have to ask themselves whether they can love and be loved because of their previous emotional history.
What really captured my attention in Mia Sheridan’s novel was how she made the reader aware that neither Gabriel or Crystal could “fix” one another. It was refreshing to read that love can be extremely difficult and that one must be in a certain place to accept love.
Have my views on the romance genre changed? The answer is yes. Thank you, Mia Sheridan, for opening up my eyes to a whole new genre and for writing a love story that is not cheesy or predictable. Well done!
Review by Sarah Wreford