My rating: 3 of 5 stars
All of You Every Single One is a queer historical fiction novel by Beatrice Hitchman as her sophomore effort. The eBook version is 320 pages and was released earlier this year. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at eleven and a half hours and is narrated by Sophie Ward and Lara King. We follow multiple characters with alternating third-person points-of-view.
The Love Actually-esque period book is set in Vienna, Austria over the span of 1910 to 1946 and follows a series of relationships between queer individuals on the fringes of history. Julia Lindqvist, a woman in an unhappy yet wealthy marriage, leaves her husband to begin a passionate affair with Eve, a female tailor. Rolf, a friend of Julia and Eve’s, and Emil start an affair even after Rolf swore he wouldn’t catch feelings. The family of Ada Bauer, a women with aphonia, hope that Dr. Freud will help cure her condition without scandal. Ada Bauer, a woman with aphonia, has been abused by her cousin Emil, leading her to find comfort in and fall in love with Isabella, her cousin’s fiancé.
This is a really interesting look at queer folks and characters dealing with disability at the fringes of history in the years spanning both world wars. After a hook at the beginning where a baby is being stolen and we watch Julia leave her husband to run away with Eve, the first half of the book is a wee bit meandering. There’s a significant time jump around the 60% mark, when it starts delving into the slow rise of the Nazi regime and how it effects our group of characters and their various communities.
I really enjoyed the character study that was the first half of this book. We get a good amount of chapters from Julia’s POV, and it would have been nice if instead we got more from Eve, as she wears a binder but her story is vague on whether she has dysphoria and/or is transgender. I didn’t like the second half as much as I liked the first half. More POV characters are added and I just couldn’t get as into their stories as I could with the folks we were originally following.
Tropes in this book include: found family, sapphic main characters, gay side characters, bisexual side characters
CW: homophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, sexual assault (on page), abuse, gaslighting
Special thanks to OrangeSky Audio and NetGalley for providing an audio galley of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own. The audiobook version of All of You Every Single One releases on April 12th.
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My rating: 3 of 5 stars