All The Time In The World by Caroline Angell
Published by Henry Holt ISBN 978-1-62779-401-5
Trade paperback, $15, 321 pages
There is nothing so exciting as discovering a debut novel. Caroline Angell's first book, All The Time In The World, brings to life the world of the Upper East Side of New York City, as seen through the eyes of Charlotte, a young woman who is working as a nanny to the two young Maclean boys.
Charlotte is also a music composer who is trying to come to terms with why she is not working in the music business. She finds herself distancing herself from her college friends, and her friends and family worry that she is becoming too attached to the Maclean family and forgoing her own dreams.
She adores Matty and George, the two young boys she cares for. She and Gretchen, the mom, get along well, and she doesn't see Scotty, the dad who works long hours in the finance industry, very often.
When a tragic event occurs that threatens to tear the Maclean family apart, Charlotte is thrust into a different role; she becomes the glue that holds them together. It is up to her to get the boys to school, to deal with their teachers, run the household, and help them understand a world that no longer makes any sense to them.
Charlotte is very close to her sisters and they are becoming more worried for her, afraid that if she doesn't get out and begin her own life now that she never will. But Charlotte loves Matty and George and feels an obligation to them.
I loved the character of Charlotte, and even though I am years older than her, I related to her a great deal. Her sense of responsibility to the Macleans was something I understood in my heart. Her relationship with her sisters felt so true-to-life, I'm sure that Angell must have sisters of her own.
Her connection with Matty and George was so sweet, and yet frustrating as well. I have two sons of my own and I smiled with recognition, thrust right back to the days when they were little guys as I read of Charlotte trying to corral them in their everyday lives.
Charlotte also has a complicated relationship with Scotty, the boys' dad, and Patrick, Scotty's slightly irresponsible playboy brother.
Angell writes some powerful, emotional scenes, such as one set at a hospital that just tore my heart out. All The Time In The World is the kind of book that worms its way into your heart, and you will feel so many different emotions reading it. Charlotte is a woman you will not easily forget. I highly recommend All The Time In The World.
Caroline Angell's website is here.