The numerous strengths of All That Really Matters, by Nicole Deese, combine to make it a unique and interesting must-read for readers of women’s fiction and/or contemporary romance.
The novel’s setting and story line are fresh and, in a culture dominated by social media, relevant. Protagonist Molly McKenzie is a highly-successful social media influencer; just as her career seems destined to reach a milestone she has only dreamed of, her life takes an interesting turn.
At the center of the novel is Molly’s view of herself, those around her, and her faith. Deese subtly and deftly explores how Molly’s perspective changes without being heavy-handed or preachy. In fact, although this book is published by Christian publisher Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group), it does not read like the typical contemporary Christian novel. And in this case, that is a good thing!
Alongside Molly’s story, Deese has created multiple interesting and complex (but not overwhelmingly so) supporting story lines. She deftly weaves them all into one cohesive plot that engages and holds the reader’s interest.
The characters are well-developed, complex, and believable. Both Molly and Silas (the main male character) are engaging, very likeable yet flawed individuals, and the reader can easily identify with them both and with their struggles. The minor characters are (with one exception) also developed appropriately and believably.
The story is told from the viewpoint of both Molly and Silas. Individual chapters are told from one of their point of view, with the majority of them narrated by Molly. Deese does an excellent job of transitioning from one narrator to another in a way that is smooth and “natural”.
All That Really Matters isn’t perfect, of course. Ethan, Molly’s boyfriend/manager is a character that can be found in sprinkled throughout the world of contemporary romance. Fortunately, he makes relatively few appearances. Similarly, the clashed-at-first-meeting and sparks flew, followed by a second meeting and a quick romance is somewhat cliched. However, the unique and contemporary elements of Deese’s novel more than compensate for that.
This novel is a delightful read for anyone who enjoys reading women’s fiction and contemporary fiction. Its characters and plot lines certainly elicit numerous relevant and timely (even timeless) discussion points, making it an excellent book club selection as well.
**Would you like to receive a free copy of this book? Post a comment before 11:59 p.m. on April 30 as to why you would like to read this, and your name will be entered in a drawing for the (gently-used) advance copy that I received. Or, if you want a brand-new copy (or don’t win my drawing), you can order an advance copy:
I received an advance copy of this novel, which will be released on April 6; my review was not influenced in any way by that fact.