Ivy Darling can't have children and the silent resentment of her husband Nick is slowly driving them apart. When the three kids next door are left by their mother, Ivy opens her home and heart to them and suddenly, she and Nick are foster parent's to the only black children in the small town of Copper Cove. As the months pass, Ivy comes to love the children and considers them as part of the family. But Nick refuses to accept their unorthodox family as permanent. Do Nick and Ivy still have enought in common to make their marriage work?
Contemporary Christian fiction is a genre which I don't often venture into, so it really was on a whim (and because of the cute cover!) that I requested this novel by debut author Carre Armstrong Gardner from NetGalley. Having read it, I can say I'm really glad I did. All right here is a lovely realistic but hopeful story. I really liked how the novel made us part of the day-to-day live in Nick and Ivy's household and that we got to see the ups and downs of them suddenly being parents: birthday parties to big piles of laundry and from Halloween costumes to a teenager who hates school. The children were not merely 'vehicles' for the story, but real characters and I loved how Deshaun, the eldest kid, got some chapters from his own viewpoint as well.
As the subtitle says, this novel is part of a series about the Darling family which are Ivy's parents and her four siblings. They played a big part in the background of this novel as well. It was lovely to see how close this family was and how they came together every week for a meal. Ivy's family also immediately accepted and loved her foster children which was great to read. Of the family, Ivy's twin sister Laura had the largest secondary story in this book, a story which was hard to read because of the wrong choices that she made. The end of All right here left Laura's story more or less hanging in the middle, so I thought the next book in the Darling series might be about her. Reading the synopsis of this book however (Better all the time) it doesn't seem to be about Laura, so I'm curious if her story will get attention again.
The scenes between Nick and Ivy are quite painful to read, but I think their story shows very well how easily a couple can grow apart. Not throught something momentous, but simply by not really listening to each other in the day-to-day conversations. The characters of Nick and Ivy are written so that you can understand both of them, neither of them is really the 'villain' which I think is realistic. The biggest downside of this book I thought was the ending which felt rushed. The mending of the relationship between Nick and Ivy happened in a flash. This was especially glaring as the rest of the book felt really well paced.
But overall I really liked this debut novel, I thought it warm, wise and funny and I would definitely recommend it to lovers of contemporary stories focused on families.
I received an ebook version of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher Tyndal House in exchange for an honest review.