All That Was Lost is an exploration of loss and grief and the lies that we have to tell ourselves to get through the days afterwards. There is a running theme of untruths – Patience learns to lie and slowly discovers about the lies that keep wheels turning in her family, Patrice’s whole life is a lie, Leo lies in tiny ways at first, Louise’s life revolves around the untrue belief. Running alongside is the thread about loss.
The characters are vividly drawn and their grief, and in one case, mental illness is described so realistically that at one point I was practically shouting at Louise not to misinterpret something. Alison May captures the stifling nature of being an adolescence in a northern sea side town perfectly.
This book is very different to Alison May’s other novels. It’s not a romance. Whilst it’s not a jolly book, but it is deeply moving. It was compelling enough to keep me reading until 2 o’clock in the morning. I really enjoyed it.
I received a review copy through Netgalley.