You Can’t Go Home Again…Except For Summer Love.
Eat a stick of butter or return to her hometown? School teacher, Kinsley Bailey, would rather risk the caloric overload. Staunton, Virginia is laced in bad memories of a mentally ill mother, an estranged father, and the first boy who broke her heart. Yet the news of her father’s death has forced her return to the nightmare. Now in the heat of the summer, Kinsley’s left unraveling the mysteries surrounding a house, an antique gun collection, a flabby basset hound, and a safety deposit box that no one in the family wants to discuss.
After a series of tough breaks, army soldier, Bastian Harris, desires the serenity of small town life in Staunton. Even with women signing up for his shooting courses and emphasizing their desires for a different kind of target practice, he keeps his nose down and his gun in his holster. Yet when a certain auburn-haired blast from the past comes blazing into his shop to sell her dead father’s antique gun collection, he might have to reconsider the tranquil life and take up arms for the one woman he never could forget.
Kinsley Bauley is a 33 year-old school teacher forced to return to her hometown due to the death of her father. Kinsley is full of resentment mostly towards her father, who took off when she was eight and never contacted her again. She also holds some grudges toward Bastian Harris, her childhood best friend and first heartbreak. Now she is back and she will find out some inconvenient truths that should have been told to her a long time ago. Also she will meet Bastian again.
Kinsley is an interesting character; she was working in a corporation and one day she decided to become middle school chemistry teacher. She has a good life, but she still is dreaming about her first love. I had mixed feeling about her during the story. Sometimes I perceived her as a strong and independent woman, and sometimes she acted like silly immature little girl. But in the end she turned just fine.
Bastian Harris is yummy hero. He is cool, he is nice, he has a daughter he loves a lot and he is much more down to earth than Kinsley, although he has his own issues. But his issues are much more real than Kinsley’s. As a couple they are great match; sweet and lovable.
The story is set in a small town and it has all the regular characteristics of stories in this kind of setting i.e. colorful characters, noisy and amusing old ladies and funny animals (in this case a dog).
My biggest issue with All I Ever Wanted is the foundation on which the whole story is built. I find the idea way over the top that Kinsley was thinking about Bastian for so long. I cannot believe that she kept wondering for 20 years why he did not continue a relationship after the kiss they shared when they were both 13 years old. I cannot believe that she was dreaming about him for 20 years, while pursuing her career, making big bucks and having a good life.
If you do not try to analyze backstory too much and take it as it is, All I Ever Wanted is a lovely and funny story.