All He Ever Wanted

All He Ever Wanted

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
Years after escaping from a hotel fire and encountering an elusive woman, who he subsequently married and divorced, a man travels from New England to Florida by train and remembers the relationship. 325,000 first printing.

Blackwell North Amer
Etna Bliss her 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. Amid the smoke and chaos of that night 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.
That man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and All He Ever Wanted is his account of how two lives changed from that tumultuous night forward. A proud and orderly man, Van Tassel is ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of love. But he is determined to have Etna, no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds his memories of the drama that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night.

Baker
& Taylor

Years after escaping from a hotel fire and encountering an elusive woman, whom he subsequently married and divorced, a man travels from New England to Florida by train and remembers the relationship.

Publisher: New York : Little, Brown, and Co., 2003
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316782265
0316782262
Branch Call Number: Fiction Shr
Characteristics: 288 p. ; 24 cm

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GLNovak
Feb 12, 2013

All he ever wanted was a beautiful wife, a nice family and a comfortable life. Nicholas van Tassel got all that but the true love of his wife eluded him. Etna Bliss said yes to his marriage proposal but was frank about not loving him. Their lives are unremarkable, spanning the turn of the century and the changes that took place over that time. He is a successful professor at a small college and she is a wife, mother, and volunteer at a charity centre. She does have a secret that is revealed at the end of the story. Throughout, the tone is calm. Seemingly, nothing ruffles many feathers, and even the reveal seems subdued. Shreve's stories, for me, all seem to have that same swimmy quality where things happen but the edges are blunted, where emotions and reactions are toned down. Those who like her stories will find this one even more muted than usual.

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