I recently read Better All the Time, by Carre Armstrong Gardner, which is a fictional book about the Darling family, the second book of the series. Without having read the first book, the first few chapters were a whirlwind of character introductions and hints at back stories untold in this book. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.
Simply put, I was hooked. I wasn’t sure if I would like the book in the first few chapters, as the story seemed convoluted and full of many strong characters. But a few chapters later, I couldn’t put the book down. Thankfully I grabbed it for a day of travel and waiting, so I had no reason to stop reading. The story line and the characters were very engaging, and I was quickly absorbed into their adventures and mishaps.
The writing style is clear and realistic, and the author doesn’t shy away from difficult issues. All of the characters are flawed people, with their own set of struggles and baggage. You see realistic family relationships in the book, from pressure to get married to an estranged sibling. The book doesn’t center around a picture-perfect family, but rather around a realistic family, one you might find in your house at Thanksgiving, or in your neighbor’s home. It was refreshing to see the family face their own challenges and work them out. At the end was a sense of redemption and hope, even though it wasn’t necessarily a fairy-tale ending.
The ending left a few loose ends, which leaves room for a sequel. Considering how much I enjoyed Better All the Time, I would definitely love to read the next book about the Darling family. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys uplifting and encouraging novels. You won’t be disappointed!
I received a complimentary copy of this novel by Tyndale in exchange for my honest review.