All My Love Review
Reilly Vore is a Historical Fiction writer with a strong passion for the inner workings of the past and the people who lived in it. Her passions shine brightly as she explores the time before peace and love between different class ranks and when war was just another pass time in the system. Men were sent to war or the hospitals to nurse and doctor the wounded while their families were left at home to worry and wait on their return. There was a lot of worrying and waiting during the early 1900s. The stress was unimaginable. Even the conditions were unbearable for Vore's beloved characters. My heart aches with each new reveal through the better half of the book due to the characters being sent to war. I wouldn't have been able to handle someone I loved enlisting had I lived that life as the Harlow's and Perry's did.
Emily Craig: Why did you become an author?
Reilly Vore: I have wanted to be an author since childhood. Books have been my favorite thing for most of my life and the opportunity to create stories has been a dream for just as long.
EC: What draws you to Historical Fiction and wartime stories?
RV: I think that historical fiction has the incredible ability to bring us close to history and live in it for a time. It creates a window to view the past. I had not always planned to use World War I as the backdrop for All My Love, but I noticed that there were not many historical fiction novels that I knew of that were set in that era. So, I wanted to make one of my own.
I met Reilly through several author friends and their attachment to Creator Institute and New Degree Press. I even preordered Vore's book back in April 2021 because her social media posts made her book sound so intriguing, nothing like I had ever read before. My initial assumptions were correct - All My Love, From The Trenches, would be a unique read for me in all the best ways.
Her writing didn't disappoint from beginning to end. The story and characters kept my attention throughout and even pulled at my heartstrings. I became very attached to seeing them safe and happy. I wanted to see them arrive home from the war unharmed, but that was far from the case. War is a nasty thing, and Vore didn't hold back from shedding light on that brutal part of our history. My heart absolutely broke for the characters. Meanwhile, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to read about my dear old friends - the Harlow's and the Perry's - who touched my heart.
Another book finished in two weeks. I am really diving into reading this year and I'm loving it.
All My Love, From The Trenches, is a wholesome and heartbreaking story that brilliantly sheds light on the past from beginning to end. Reilly took special care of her characters from each new event. World War 1 was a trying time yet Vore brought such lightness and love to the time period by having the characters write to each other (my favorite part!!).
EC: War Letters. What was it like stepping into each characters mind as you wrote their letters? (I loved this aspect so much!)
RV: It was a way to make the story a little more personal. It gave me the opportunity to go deeper into the mind of each character without having to explain it in the narrative. It was a subtle way to show their emotions, struggles, and more.
My heart and soul were touched by each new letter that appeared throughout the character's wartime. Their individual voices shined bright yet never shied away from the truth. Whether the letter was from Samuel, James, or Daniel - war was at forefront of their tellings, but they always threw in a reminder of home. I suppose it was a way to keep them going until they could see each other again. Either way, these men really touched my heart.
But it was the letters from the girls - Lillian and Nellie - that really showed how they were dealing. Lillian was stuck at home with only her parents, meanwhile, Nellie went to the London hospital to be a nurse. Each woman struggled in their own way, yet they always made sure to remind their men that they were praying for their safe return each day. Their care for one another showed throughout the story.
John was there, too, but he was dealing with War PTSD. Something I am so proud that Vore shed light on. Not only did she show the effects of it (being home after war), but also when Samuel shared that he experienced nightmares while in the trenches. My heart absolutely broke for them both as they shared their deepest fears with each other, but would hide their pain from the women. They wanted to remain strong and steady, I respect that because they want to shield their loved ones from the war as much as they can.
Lady of History - Reilly Vore
EC: I've seen your posts about picking titles for your books. Tell me about finding this one. I noticed the similar wording in the wartime letters. Did war and letters play a huge role in picking your title?
RV: Originally, All My Love, From the Trenches was only going to include letters. It wasn’t until later that I decided to add prose between the letters to fill out the narrative. It also originally had a title that only focused on the romantic loves that flows throughout the book. But I wanted my title to represent all the kinds of love that are present: family love, romantic love, friendship love, sibling love, found family and more. I wanted it to encapsulate all the versions of love that I wrote.
EC: What was your writing process like for naming your characters?
RV: I obviously had to pick names that made sense for the time period. So I searched a lot of places for lists of names from the era, but also the years before. Some characters went through many different names before I landed on the final name while others I chose immediately. The one that never changed was Samuel.
EC: What's your writing process like?
RV: My writing process is fairly sporadic. There are times where I write every single day and then I won’t write anything for a week, but I’ll do background work instead. I plan the big moments of my story, but for the most part—I let the story lead me a little more than I lead it.
EC: Two-class story structure. What was it like stepping into the role of deciding who lived what life? Did you wish the world had been different in 1914, fairer?
RV: I always knew that I wanted there to be some pretty obvious class differences. I knew I wanted to show the different lives that existed during the time. The war allowed for a lot of these divisions to begin to disappear and I really wanted to show that transition.
EC: The Harlow's and the Perry's. What was your thought process like when creating these two very different family backgrounds?
RV: I wanted to show two very different versions of a family. Both a little broken in their own ways, but also both loving in a lot of ways. I wanted them to be real. I wanted them to have difficult moments that went with the good moments. I wanted them to have sweet sibling moments and times when they would fight as well. I wanted to show that even when the class differences separated the two families—there were similarities as well.
Like I said before, All My Love was a book outside of my normal reading area. But, in the last year or so I've really stepped out of my usual genre and ventured into ones my friends write and love. That prepared me to fall in love with Vore's telling of a time before any of us were thought of - 1914 and Wartimes. My view on stepping away from my comfort zone helped me appreciate how she told her story. From the Author's Note to the very last page, I could see how deeply Reilly felt for this story.
She makes an impact with each word which is what this book and genre stands for. She put it best with - "historical figures are like you and me..." We are here because of the strides they took back then. She gives readers a glimpse at the world that came before us, the world that created us. I dare say, the people who make us strive for more.
We all love when a book pulls us in from page one, but it is even better when the characters start pulling at our heartstrings. These characters have my heart and I am so ready to know what happens next in their stories.
From the very first chapter, I was moved by how effortlessly Reilly moved through her characters' lives. She was one and the same with them. They were physically and emotionally bound in all the best ways. I could tell she wasn't going to be holding back. She knew she wanted to have her readers attached to the characters early and she succeed. We barely know them in the beginning yet they have so much life running through them - their traits, backstories, and lives. All of it was so touching and kept me hooked throughout the book.
War is here. My heart aches for all of them.
Reilly continues to lay it all on the line. Every event, letter, and crushing reveal made me love these characters more. Even with an ongoing war, I couldn't stop being hopeful for our boys in the trenches. My heart was in pieces for them and all they were seeing and going through. I couldn't imagine seeing all of that at such a young age. Boys and men from all over the world fought the good fight and were still fighting when the book ended. I felt so many emotions - I needed more. I couldn't be happier that Reilly is working on giving her readers the next chapter in the Harlow's and Perry's journey. So much has happened in her debut novel yet all was handled with love and care. I can't wait to see what she does with the next one.
This story was amazing and heartwarming. Also, a heartbreaking story to say the least. I didn't expect so much that happened but loved every minute. War is unpredictable but the ones you love most will always stick around even when the ones you thought would never leave do. That's the beauty of stepping into a different time period, you never know what's going to happen.
EC: What's the message you want to send to readers of All My Love, From The Trenches?
RV: I think when I was writing All My Love, From the Trenches I really wanted people to connect with the characters in a way that made them understand that history is tangible. My book happens in another time, but it is filled with people that are not so different from people of today. They are still just people who love, dream, grieve, and more.
EC: What can you spill about how your upcoming sequel? What can readers expect from this new story? How are our favorite characters coping?
RV: My sequel is super fun and very different. It is a book that includes a lot of the same characters, but we will be following more of Nellie’s story. It will happen after the end of the war when the characters have to discover what comes next for them. It’s an exciting time of revival and recovery right after a global tragedy where we see the characters catching their breath, but try to make decisions about their future as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reilly Vore is first, and foremost, a curious spirit. With a bachelor's degree in both History and English Literature, she enjoys learning anything about everything. Currently, she works in guest relations in higher education. She greatly appreciates the opportunity to talk to many different kinds of people and hear their stories.
Her passion lies in the written word and the past, which played greatly into the creation of her first novel. With publishing credit as an editor for the two-volume encyclopedia Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories in American History, and a poet in Indiana's Best Emerging Poets 2019: An Anthology, she looks forward to finally fulfilling the dream of publishing her first full-length work of fiction.
Reilly enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and watches any black and white film available, which has granted her the title of "old soul" amongst her dearest friends. You can usually find her with a chai latte in hand, not far from a bookstore, her vinyl records, and her sweet pups.
For more information, you can connect with Reilly Vore through the following social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
ABOUT THE BOOK
All My Love, From the Trenches written by Reilly Vore follows two families, the Perrys and the Harlows, as they face the beginning of World War I. Samuel Perry must find his place in a changing society while Lillian and James Harlow wrestle with their duty to family and the isolation of being left behind.
Samuel Perry has spent his childhood on and around the Harlow estate, with his sister Nellie close behind. The three Harlow boys, Daniel, James, and John, became his brothers while Lillian Harlow became his dearest friend. But when war threatens a changing world for them all, each one is faced with a difficult choice.
To stay or go?
To follow family duty or their own path?
To confess the feelings that have grown since childhood or bury them completely in the trenches?
With letters keeping them all together, the questions only grow, the days and months drag on, and one year turns to the next. The Perry and the Harlow children soon find that no one is safe from the grip of World War I, and each one is left wondering if they’ll make it out alive.