I recently had a conversation with a fellow mom in which I described these past few years of my life as “The Lost Years.”
I was having a bad day.
I don’t actually feel like these are lost years, but that was a day—a week, really—when it seemed that even every breath I took was for the glory of someone else…and no one appreciated it. Not even myself.
Shortly after that conversation, I read Laura Florand’s All For You, and I found myself thinking how perfectly Florand had captured a time in my life that is so far removed from the youth of her characters. She’s not just a gifted writer and storyteller—in All For You, she found a theme that transcends age and station, and the romance was all the more poignant because the barriers to love were the same that could be experienced with any kind of love. Romantic and platonic, filial ties, bonds of kinship…the closeness of those connections suffer and can even break apart completely when we make someone else’s happiness into our life goal.
Which is what the hero of All For You, Joss Castel, experienced when he abandoned the heroine, Célie, in order to join the Foreign Legion. He left her without explanation and without even a proper goodbye, but he carried her with him for the five years that he was away. Though she had no idea where he’d gone or whether he’d ever be back, he stayed true to her…dreamt about a life with her after he was finished making a name for himself that she could be proud of…he made her happiness into his goal, without ever asking her what made her happy. His actions were the stuff of dreams—of fairy tales, the maiden being rescued, and Prince Charming pulling her from a dragon-guarded tower in order to sequester her in another—and those actions nearly pulled the two young lovers apart.
For Joss and his idealistic way of thinking, that possibility would have meant the annihilation of five years of living…Lost Years.
But Florand not only manages to bring the two together, but she also gets Joss to learn that imposing one’s own expectations on another person’s life in the name of love and happily ever after isn’t actually heroic. And not only does she get him to realize and accept this moving forward…he manages to apply this mindshift to the past five years of his life. It’s incredible, how believable she makes it, and how afterward I found myself taking the same concept and reevaluating my own Lost Years with a new outlook.
These are wonderful years. Possibly not the best, but certainly not lost. They bring me joy. They bring me love. They move me forward. And in that sense, with that realization, perhaps these are years that I’ve been lucky enough to find simply by adjusting my point of view.
As to the book? Well, I can’t even begin to do the plot justice, so I’ll just say three short things and then give you the blurb and buy links:
- All For You is a story about the influence and impact of the hero’s journey on the popular psyche, the depth to which the concept of true-love-as-savior has permeated our society, and how disappointment with the impossibility of such a myth is difficult to process within such a heavily-ingrained, burdensome framework.
- All For You is a sweet-and-sexy, captivating and fun romance
- BUY IT.
Some crushes aren’t meant to be.
When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.
Let alone the same man.
But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.
Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…
Learn more about Laura Florand at www.lauraflorand.com