I received this book for free from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.When We Were All Still Alive by Keith McWalter
Published by Spark Press on May 4, 2021
Genres: Biographical, Family Life, Fiction, Later in Life, Literary, Marriage & Divorce, Romance, Small Town & Rural
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The last great question of every long marriage—Who will die first?—has been answered for Conrad Burrell. After losing his wife to a violent accident, he discovers that he has one more lesson to learn about love from the women of his past, and the one woman he's certain he can't live without.
For Conrad Burrell—husband, father, and successful attorney in the autumn of his life—the world has come apart. Having long ago lost his first wife, the mother of his grown daughter and a widow herself, to youth and pride, he’s now lost his second to a violent accident,. “You think you’re finished, that you have no more stories in you,” his ex-wife warns, and he fears she’s right. Within hailing distance of the end of his days, after a lifetime of meeting the expectations of others, none are left but Conrad’s own, and he must discover whether love survives death as well as divorce—whether family memory can redeem individual mortality. What do we do, then, we widows and widowers for whom there’s nothing left but the world’s permission to stop what we’ve done all our lives? In the cities of his youth, in the deserts of New Mexico, but most of all in a small Pennsylvania town, Conrad finds he has one more lesson in love to learn from the women of his past, and the one woman he's certain he can't live without. When We Were All Still Alive is a novel of grief and healing, a portrait of a marriage, and a love song to ordinary lives.
This book was okay for me. I tend to enjoy books that deal with grief so I was eager to give the book a try and there were a lot of things that I really liked about it. There were some things that I didn’t like quite as much and I kind of felt that the book fizzled out before it was over. I am glad that I decided to pick this book up.
This book tells Conrad Burrell’s story. We see Conrad as a young up-and-coming lawyer entering his first marriage through his more advanced years as he tries to move on after the death of his second wife. I think that anyone who has been married for some time has thought about what their life might be like if something happened to their spouse. While we do see a bit of Conrad moving on, I would say that the majority of the book is the story of his marriage. I wish that I could have related to the characters in this book a bit more. I didn’t dislike any of the characters but they didn’t click with me for some reason. I was a little surprised by how little of the book actually dealt with grief. I think that an equal amount of the story was spent dealing with aging and growing older.
This is a book that I am glad that I read. It was a fairly quick read and it held my interest even though I had some trouble connecting with the characters. I wouldn’t hesitate to read more of Keith McWalter’s work in the future.
I received a review copy of this book from Spark Press.
It’s always tough for me when I don’t make a connection with any of the characters. I just finished one like that and it makes it hard to be truly invested.
It really does!
I am glad you seemed to like it, despite a few issues along the way. Thanks for sharing.
I am really glad that I read it, Laurel-Rain!
At first I thought this was a thriller. Sorry this didn’t deliver what you had hoped.
Definitely not a thriller 🙂
The aging and growing older part would get me to pick it up, but bummer you couldn’t connect with the characters.
I really wanted to love this one.
Sorry this didn’t quite work for you. Character connection is vital for sure.
Like Kimberly, I would’ve thought this was a thriller. It is hard for me to get into a story where I don’t connect with the characters, so I get it. I hope your next book is better.
I would have thought more grief too
I expected most of the book to be dealing with grief so the fact that it wasn’t was a surprise.
Sorry to her you didn’t like it more.
It was an okay read but not a favorite.
I am sorry this one wasn’t better for you but am it worked for you enough for you to keep reading.
It was easy enough to set aside but it was an okay read.
It’s hard to love a story when you don’t connect with the characters. Great review, Carole!
The most important thing for me is that I am able to connect in some way with the characters. I don’t care if the book has a setting…I don’t care if a book has a plot…but it has to have characters I connect with.
The characters are such an important part of the story!