All Ever Dreamed Kowalskis ebook
Just to clarify, I am new to the Stacey party, but I have jumped on the bandwagon with both feet in the last few weeks. And was I ever rewarded for my decision with All He Ever Dreamed.I had wondered how she was going to resolve Josh's deep seeded desire for escape from Whitford. Judging from the rest of the Kowalski books, I was pretty sure there would be no magic wand waving to make everything work out, and thankfully, I was right.
It's hard to present a character who is conflicted, and perhaps has a bit of a martyr syndrome happening, and make that character sympathetic, let alone likeable. Shannon Stacey manages to make Josh not only likable, but understandable and human, flaws and all. As with all of the Kowalski books, Ms. Stacey brings a level of honesty that is rare in Romancelandia. The books flow with little snippets showcased within the larger framework of the story, and it works so well. She doesn't detail every little thing, but sets up events that occur "behind closed doors". Not just sexy stuff, but everyday things, and it works. So. Well.
What worked for me - Everything. Josh is great, a guy who has been set up to take on the family business against his will while his siblings go off and live their lives. He is frustrated, a little resentful, torn between all that he has ever known and what he imagines is waiting for him out in the great, big world. As his siblings start to take his wish to leave it all behind seriously, a complication by way of his best friend, Katie, pops up to really shake up Josh's priorities. The struggle he goes through trying to do the right thing for everybody but himself, the crushing sense of responsibility he feels rang oh, so true. Even though I knew what he would do, my heart broke just a little for Josh, for Katie, for Rosie...yet it needed to happen.
Katie - Oh, how I loved Katie. She has been in love with Josh forever, but he didn't know. In Josh's mind, she was a friend. Until Rosie manipulates the situation a little, a late night visit to the kitchen results in Katie in skimpy clothes that leave no doubt in Josh's mind that she is a female, and the game is afoot. I love how Katie accepted Josh yet stood up for herself, not wanting to be his "dirty little secret". She didn't make demands, she didn't try to guilt Josh into a decision he would come to regret. Katie knew Josh better than he knew himself, and gave him what he needed to make him happy. Strong, strong heroine. And funny!
Hailey - Okay, now we have a pretty good idea who will be Hailey's leading man, and I cannot wait for that! Hailey is hilarious, and such a good friend. She deserves an HEA.
Rosie - Gotta love Rosie. Katie definitely got her stoicism from her mama.
Various Kowalski sibling moments - Josh got advice and/or apologies from all of the siblings. I have to say, Sean's level of honesty brought tears to my eyes even while I felt a little angry at him on Josh's behalf. Mitch was his normal funny yet stalwart self. I want to know why Liz doesn't think she can come home. Ryan was surprisingly observant.
What didn't work for me - Nothing.
Ms. Stacey hits it out of the park with All He Ever Dreamed. So emotional, the perfect push/pull of angst and humor. I just loved this book.
Bottom Line - Buy it. Cherish it. Time well spent.