Genre

Romance

Audience

Highschool & Up

Author’s Worldview

Catholic

Year Published

2019

Themes

love, pornography, child pornography, slice of life, widow, widowhood, single-mother, single-motherhood, motherhood, fatherhood, theology of the body, grief, illness, stalking, stalker, bachelor, chastity, perseverance, patience, waiting for marriage

 

Reviewed by

A.R.K. Watson

If you are looking for a romance that breaks all the usual and dysfunctional tropes the genre is known for, Astfalk has already established herself as one of the most reliable and prolific authors this organization has yet seen.

This latest novel opens with a sweet encounter between Brian, a middle-aged bachelor who has given up on dating, and Melanie, a recent widow and single mother of three. Brian tells God that if He wants him to marry, He’ll have to drop the woman into his lap. You can guess what kind of meet-cute that leads to (a ‘Meet-Cute’ is the term for the scene in a romance story when the fated couple meets and it’s usually much more interesting than in real life). Yet as refreshingly decent as our couple is, the world is anything but. It would be hard enough to fall in love when the guy worries that his old pornography habit will overpower him again, and the girl is still mourning a husband while struggling to raise three children. Just when it looks like maturity and good communication will see them through, Brian starts showing signs of a latent disease and Melanie begins to get calls from her children’s school that a stranger has been stalking her five-year-old son.

All in Good Time is a story about a romance that perseveres through trial and surprise. It paints a beautiful picture of love that is both exciting and steady. Young or old, married or unmarried, any romance fan will find Brian and Melanie’s story one of hope and encouragement.

The idyllic couple and dates at butterfly gardens had me expecting a typically light and fluffy tale at first. This seemed to fit neatly in the subgenre category called “slice-of-life.” Oh, was I wrong! Before long I found myself up at night, chewing my fingernails as the tension rose. I thought I had the villain’s identity all figured out, but the ending delivered a surprising and intriguing conclusion. Astfalk knows how to address evil without devolving into graphic or macabre descriptions. In some ways, this made the tension of the story even more effective than in many horror or thriller novels I have read, giving me a newfound respect for the romance genre as a whole.

My warning to readers, if there is any, would be that the pace goes slowly. This is not a book to reach for when you want escapism. This is a book to remind yourself that there is both light and darkness in the world, and the light will win all in good time.

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