All for Anna is just that. Author Nicole Deese offers realistic characters, clearly established settings, engaging dialogue, and a plot that keeps twisting. The kind of book that keeps the reader turning the pages/tapping the screen.
Victoria Sales, better known to most as Tori, has been involved in a devastating car accident, and her guilt has escalated to the point of severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her family can’t reach her. She has distanced herself from social situations. Her chosen method of coping is to bury herself in her job as an ER nurse and to run long distances in her off hours. No time to think, no time to feel…and although she doesn’t realize it, no time to heal.
Tori moves back to Dallas to stay with her sister after a self-imposed seventeen-month “working exile” in Phoenix. Her sister is pregnant, and since her husband must be away for an extended time, Tori agrees to stay with her. The situation works well, as long as Tori continues to drown out the pain with work and running.
Then she meets Kai Alesana, a hunky EMT, and her determination to hold her pain inside begins to crumble. Will he be able to draw Tori out of herself? Will she learn to trust him?
Just as she begins to gain confidence that her inner devastation can improve, flashbacks drag her back to square one. As her friends and family do their best to support her, she begins to open up to the possibility that God cares about her. We think we see an upward trend, until Kai reveals a secret that sets Tori against him and everyone else in her life.
Author Deese has obviously researched PTSD extensively, and has successfully shown the progress of the disorder through the character of Tori. I appreciated the author’s realistic approach, in that Tori experiences no sudden miraculous turnaround that leaves her healed. As in most cases, the comeback is slow, unsteady, riddled with obstacles to healing.
I was so intrigued by the story I had to stop everything else to finish reading. A well-written story, a memorable plot, a lovely romantic line, recommendable to anyone who likes Christian romance.
Only one issue kept me from giving it the full five stars: after the halfway point, there were a number of grammar and usage glitches that interrupted the flow of the narrative. Although there were apparently many beta-readers involved in the proofreading, there could have been a couple more, in my opinion. Other than that, I loved the book and look forward to more from Nicole Deese. See below for the second and third books in the Letting Go series.
Books Two and Three of the Letting Go series can be read as stand alones, but they involve characters from Deese’s first book.