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All He Ever Wanted
All He Ever Wanted
Author: Anita Shreve
A man escaping from a hotel fire sees a woman standing beneath a tree. He approaches her and sets in motion a series of events that will change his life forever. Years later, traveling from New England to Florida by train, he reflects back on his obsession with this unknown and ultimately unknowable woman - his courtship of her, his marriage to ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780316010368
ISBN-10: 0316010367
Publication Date: 12/1/2005
Pages: 384
Rating:
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 98

3 stars, based on 98 ratings
Publisher: Little, Brown
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 278 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Etna Bliss has just moved to the New England town where her uncle teaches college when her life is transformed in a single stroke. She is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. She is glimpsed standing under a streetlight, by a man who was dining in the same room... a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss. The man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and this is his account of how two lives were changed from that tumultuous night forward. It is a story of love, jealousy, obsession and loss. But it is no ordinary tale of obsession... it is a story about different kinds of love, and different ideas of what love is.

This is another well-written novel by Anita Shreve, with great character development. This would make a great book for a reading group discussion!
reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I'm a big fan of Anita Shreve's books, but for some reason this one didn't catch my fancy. I didn't get more than a chapter or two into it, though, so I may have missed out by not going further!
reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 47 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Could not get into this book. I'm not familiar with the author but even beginning the first chapter was daunting and nothing seemed to endear me towards the characters. Her heavily descriptive style made me want to say 'yeah, so what?'
reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 355 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a unique tale with some very complex characters. As much as I wanted to feel sorry for the main character, I couldn't, because he knew what he was getting into when he married. The relationship between husband and wife was strange, and I always held out hope that something would happen to normalize it. At points the book became a little tedious, but all in all, it was memorable. This is definitely not a typical "happily ever after" book.
reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 83 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Etna Bliss has just moved to the New England town where her uncle teaches college when her life is transformed in a single stroke. She is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her to escape to the snowy streets outside. She is glimpsed standing under a streetlight, by a man who was dining in the same room... a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss. The man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and this is his account of how two lives were changed from that tumultuous night forward. It is a story of love, jealousy, obsession and loss. But it is no ordinary tale of obsession... it is a story about different kinds of love, and different ideas of what love is.

This is another well-written novel by Anita Shreve, with great character development. This would make a great book for a reading group discussion!
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reviewed All He Ever Wanted on + 18 more book reviews
Excellent book, written in a third person, a lonely man that loved his wife too much and never would get the love returned. The story goes into human behavior that most of us would never think anyone capable of, but no one knows unless they have been in their shoes. Good story, Anita Shreve is so good, you'll love this one.
reviewed All He Ever Wanted on
Etna Bliss has just moved to the New Hampshire town where her uncle is a college professor. In one single moment, her life is totally transformed: she is dining in a hotel downtown when a fire forces her outside into the snowy streets. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night she is glimpsed, standing under a street lamp, by a man who had been dining in the same room - a man who is so overwhelmed by the sight of her that he immediately rebuilds his life around a single goal: to marry Etna Bliss.

Nicholas Van Tassel is a proud and orderly man, ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of his love for Etna Bliss. But he is determined to have her, no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, Nicholas reflects on the night of his first meeting with Etna, the drama that followed and struggles to comprehend the mystery his life became on that night.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book and didn't want it to end. There were times during my reading that I almost felt sorry for Nicholas Van Tassel, stalker-type tendencies and all. To my mind, he was so wrapped up in his 'love at first sight' mentality that he was completely blinded to how unhappy Etna truly was in her life with him. I give this book an A+! and look forward to reading my next Anita Shreve book.


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