All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

All the Best People

Sonja Yoerg

All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

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An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken...
Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.
But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.
An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.

Advance Galley Reviews

A good book with excellent plot line and beautiful characters.

Mental illness and its impact on three generations of women and their families. Incredibly well written, sad, and touching.

Beautifully written, I didn't want to put it down. Heartbreaking to find out the mother was forced away to a mental hospital. Even worse to realize her sickness resulted from the torture she faced due to her "mental illness". Could have done without the sister, I ended up really annoyed with her and her selfishness. Overall, great read. I'm glad I read this book.

I really enjoyed All The Best People. It's all about how families cope or fail when faced with circumstances that aren't controllable. We meet Carole, a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mom determined to do her best for her family. There are lots of old family secrets, and some very complex, textured people through the story. Some not so lovable, and some who benefit from grace that seems to appear out of the goodness of their lives. I really enjoy the multiple narrators, they filled out the characters and added body and color to the story. It's a gripping story, very complex, but worth every minute spent reading. The characters still seem to persist for me, I wonder what they will do next, how their children will fare in life. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be gripped in a fascinating story!

All the Best People is a new novel by Sonja Yoerg is the story of Carole LaPorte and her family. Carole is forty-four years old, married and has three children. Lately, Carole has been having trouble concentrating and she has been hearing things (that people are mocking her, talking behind her back, the cat is evil). Carole is afraid to tell her husband about her troubles for fear of ending up in Underhill State Hospital like her mother, Solange Gifford. Alison, Carole’s daughter, can tell something is wrong with her mother, but no one will listen to her. She tries to find another way to help her mother. Alison is becoming a young woman and needs her mother’s love and guidance. Janine, Carole’s younger sister, is a widow and has her eyes on Greg Bayliss, Alison’s teacher, as her new husband. Then April Honeycutt, the new special education teacher, and Greg start spending time together. Janine is not going to let April take away her prize. Solange has been in Underhill since she was thirty-four years old. Her husband, Osborn had her committed after the birth of Janine leaving the girls in the care of his sisters. Carole continues to get worse and starts withdrawing from her family. Pick up All the Best People to find out what happens with Carole, how Solange ended up in Underhill, and if Janine gets her man. All the Best People shows how mental illness can affect a family and not just one generation. The story is told from Carole, Janine, Alison, and Solange’s point-of-view. The book takes us back to when Solange agreed to marry Osborn. Solange came from river people in Burlington, Vermont and Osborn from the upper class. This pairing is doomed right from the beginning. A trial case of Ploof v. Putnam divides Osborn and Carole as well as the citizens of Burlington. The changing viewpoints made it difficult to get into the story. I wish the story had been told from third person. The pace of the book slowed down considerably during Solange’s story which I did not enjoy. How Solange ended up in Underhill was a necessary part of the story. However, it was predictable by delving into the division of the classes. I knew where the story would go as soon as the read that Solange and Osborn were from different sections of town. I give All the Best People 2 out of 5 stars. The book is full of unlikeable characters. The only person I found endearing was Lester. I found information to be repeated often throughout the story and the ending was a letdown. A blue box and a pearl figure prominently into the story, but I did not get why (except to represent water). The blurb for the story hints at magic, but the only magic is Alison reading spells from books (there was a definite lack of supervision). I was never able to get into the All the Best People. I did like some of the references to shows and items from the 70s (I was a little girl in the 70s). The author handles the serious issue of mental illness very well. She showed how mental illness was treated in the late 30s and in the 70s. All the Best People was not the right novel for me, but I do recommend Ms. Yoerg’s House Broken.

All The Best People is a family drama which covers the dynamics of families with secrets and mental illness. Also, the stigma mental illness carried in the past. This story is told from the POV of 4 characters all mothers and daughters in the same family. I thought the story started out slow, but as it progresses I was engaged and wanted to know what happens to each as they discover the secrets in their family history. Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend to those who enjoy reading stories with interesting family dynamics.

ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a family drama spanning three generations, from the 1920s to the 1970s. Does mental illness run in the family? When Carole starts hearing voices, she fears that she will meet the same fate as her mother, Solange: being locked away for decades in a mental institution. Carole shrinks from her family at the time when her daughter Alison needs her most: adolescence. Overall, I thought this book was beautifully written, and the author handles the subject of mental illness realistically and with compassion. I was really drawn in by Part One of the story, focusing on Carole and Alison in 1972. With Carole’s point of view, the reader gets a strong sense of her fear and confusion as the disease takes hold of her mind. I wasn’t as engaged in Part Two, which was Solange’s story of her marriage to Carole’s father. It’s a story of class, rich versus poor, and social injustice. The pacing was slower, and to me it felt a bit disjointed from the other part. Another POV came from Janine, Carole's younger sister, who was an awful, unlikable character, and honestly her part didn’t do much to advance the story. I wish that there had been more magic or magical realism that the blurb alluded to, so the book was a bit different than what I was expecting. Still, it was a touching and heartbreaking story about how one family faced its history of mental illness. 3.5 stars.

"All the Best People" is a solidly good story. It kept me interested enough to stick with it to the end although I did struggle at the beginning a bit with the slow pace of the plot. The story time slips back and forth and bouncers around quite often between four female characters of the same family over three generations. Unfortunately I think the author could have cut back on some of the points of view or the number of individual stories that were going on in the novel. I feel like the book scurried over a lot of different topics that are all important and could all make really interesting good stories but all together it was to much for one book. Rather than giving each plot enough time and attention to supply a fulfilling novel. I kind of felt like I had a superficial introduction into a bunch of people's lives and they all happened to be each others relations but there was no strong thread binding these stories together.

Excellent read. The characters were intriguing and interesting. Mental illness is not an easy topic to write about but this book tackled the subject. Hard to believe years ago husbands could commit wives without the women having a say. Interesting perspective. I liked the story flow and the viewpoints of the main characters. Seeing things from their side was very interesting. Hard book to put down. Received copy from First to Read for voluntary review.

This book was incredibly well written. The characters draw you into the complex narrative. It is about mental illness as seen from the perspective of three generations of women. Carole, in particular, is desperate to hide her menta l symptoms in a time of shame and embarrassment for such weakness. She was terrified that she was going to end up like her mother. It really is about how four women cope with the impacts of mental illness and how it impacts everyone in the family. I thought the stories really rang true.

This is my first experience with Sonja Yoerg's writing but it won't be my last! Told in alternating viewpoints between multiple generations of a family, All The Best People lets the reader become familiar with the characters as we slip into the world of mental illness through Carole. However, while this story turns a much-needed spotlight onto the inner world of a mind playing tricks, it is also about family dynamics and the legacy that can seem to hover over a family like a cloud and how one can escape that which may seem, at first glance, inevitable. By walking alongside Carole as her mind weaves in and out, I gained a better understanding of the descent into mental illness. On one hand, I kept thinking Carole should tell someone but then, I too, felt the fear of what Pandora's box may open should she confide in someone, particularly in the 1970s when mental illness was much more of a shame-filled illness, not easily understood.

This was a really well done story. When I first noticed saw this book, I honestly didn't give it a lot of thought. I have never read the author and hadn't really heard much about it. For some reason, I went back to it and read the description and was intrigued so I decided to give it a try. I am so glad that I did. This was a book that really stayed in my head and made me think about everything that goes along with mental illness. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. This book was told from multiple points of view and in different periods of time. Carole is a wife and mother leading a pretty normal life. Alison is her 11 year old daughter and the youngest child in the family. Janine is Carole's younger sister who happens to work at Alison's school. The other story that we are told is that of Carole's mother, Solange, who resides at a nearby institution. Each of these voices really worked together to tell the story well. Carole is noticing that she is starting to have a hard time with some tasks that never caused her trouble before. She has always taken care of the shop's books but it is becoming difficult. She is hearing voices and she can't get the sound to stop. She doesn't want to go anywhere and she is not being the mother that her children need her to be at times. She is terrified about what is going on in her mind. Alison needs her mom. She knows that something isn't right but nobody else in the family seems to think it is a big deal. Sure, her father is pitching in on some of the things her mother can't seem to get done but it isn't quite the same. She tries talking to her aunt Janine but nothing seems to happen. Solange's story was my favorite part of the book. We meet her at the very start of the novel when Carole visits her at the institution but I wondered what her story really was. Solange and her husband, Osborn, fell in love and got married. They were from different classes and over time they learn that a lot of their beliefs were quite different. Solange was smart and opinionated and I was really curious about how her live changed so dramatically. The writing was very well done. I really felt like each of these characters were telling me their story. I felt Carole's fear regarding the changes she couldn't control. Alison's desperation to get her mom back to normal was nicely illustrated. I really liked the fact that we learn Carole's past through Solange's story and then from Carole's memories. Each piece of the puzzle really came together to tell a story with a big impact. I would highly recommend this book to others. It is a very well done story of a family touched by mental illness. The characters are extremely well done and the writing flows. I look forward to reading more of Sonja Yoerg's work in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via First to Read.

I received an advance copy of All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg from First to Read. I really enjoyed this book and was able to see through the author's eyes how mental illness affects a family. Carole's mother Solange was diagnosed with a mental illness when she was just a girl and was taken away from her and her sister. When Carole was grown up with children of her own she started to recognize the signs in herself and refused to let what happened to her happened to daughter. This story really opened my eyes to mental illnesses and how they were treated in throughout the years.

While not my favorite by a long shot, this book was crafted well. I responded viscerally to all tge characters, although I found I didn't want to spend any time with them.

Wonderfully written. Emotional and captivating. I found this one hard to put down. Coming from a family who had experienced mental illness, I felt a personal connection to this story. The different perspectives provided an holistic view of mental illness in families.

I didn't love this book as much as I hoped. I was only able to read half before I truly gave up on it

Thank you to First To Read for the electronic copy of All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg. The book is classified as Women's Fiction, but it could also be considered Literary Fiction as well as Historical Fiction. It is the story of three generations of women and how they deal with social issues and the effects of mental illness on the family. I particularly liked Allison, the youngest generation. She wanted much needed attention from her mother, Carole. But Carole was dealing with her own mental health issues, as well as her own mother, Solange, who had been committed to a mental institution when Carole was only 10 years old. This was a moving story about a family that is far from perfect, but they were still loving in spite of dealing with their mental problems.

I'm always nervous about venturing outside of my normal genre (I'm a YA Sci-fi/fantasy dork), so I kept putting this off. I finally picked it up around 7 pm one evening and found I couldn't put it down. I'm normally one to draw out my books so I can enjoy them for a while. Not this time. Less than 24 hours later and I was done. I think what made me enjoy this book so much was it was just about life. The story involves three generations of one family and is told, at different times, from the perspective of each generation. And, although it is one story, it was also several stories combined. I found myself truly invested in each of them. There were plenty of times when I said "Oh no!" or "Oh my god!!" while reading something. I felt strong feelings about the characters and their situations. At one point, I was so anxious it was if the events were happening to me. Overall, I think [author:Sonja Yoerg|2034966]Yoerg did a very good job of telling this complex story. In the end, I was left satisfied with how the book ended, yet at the same time wanting to know more. I can't wait to check out more of her books now that I have discovered her.

I know this is not the way to start a book review, but I have one pet peeve in regards to getting ARC copies and that is when it comes as a PDF, usually I am able read on my Kindle but a PDF means I would have to read on my iPad and I don't like doing that. My iPad is a regular sized one so it is larger than my Kindle and I just love my Kindle. Why am I saying this? Basically once I started reading All the Best People I didn't even realize where I was reading it, I was so absorbed in the story that my dislike for this reading app totally vanished. Any author that can do that totally deserves five stars. This book centers around the lives of two women and a young girl but also jumps back in time to give the reader the background story of their mother/grandmother. I loved the author's writing style right from the beginning and knew I was in for a real treat. She created characters with depth, I was able to get to know them, feel their frustration, anxiety, fears and what makes them tick. Through reading with the various POV's and dealing with a subject matter of mental illness the author wrote with empathy, realism and did not hold back on the emotional level. She made me feel the frustration, defeat and determination of the various characters. We are talking both in the depression era as well as 1972 when dealing with mental illness was so different from today, showing the amount of research the author did to get it right. All the Best People is a story of survival, heartache, love and support, it's one that will stay with me. This is my first book by Sonya Yoerg and I am a new fan on the search for more of her books. Definitely a book I highly recommend. I was provided with a ARC through Penguin's First to Read program. Opinions are my own.

Like many other reviewers, I find this book a fascinating page-turner. Every family, as it is often said, has "skeletons in their closets." In some families, that skeleton is mental illness. I applaud this author for writing about a difficult topic, pulling it out of the closet and into the light. In a time when mental illness is still a taboo subject in many ways, especially for people to admit that they suffer from mental illness themselves, this book is a great read. Highly recommend.

Sonja Yoerg has braided together a story of magic, judgment, and mental illness to reveal a tale of unconditional love. 'All the Best People' follows three generations of young ladies searching for their true selves. Will they accept each other's truth, and more, can they accept what's inside themselves. This book is heartwarming, and honest. I would highly recommend it!

This book is about mental illness and family secrets. But I also found out this was based on facts about Vermont. Loved to suspense and the family ties and how, I believe, this is still probably happening today. The author made this story hard to put down. I would definitely recommend.

This novel is very well written and fascinating. The topic of this novel -- mental illness -- is a very interesting topic. Probably because it is still so taboo to talk about -- even in today's world. It is just something no one wants to acknowledge. With that said, this book really has a purpose in showing people that they are not alone. Loved all four of the main characters -- Carole, Janine, Allison, and Solange. Will definitely recommend.

An interesting book with an interesting story line. I think that these books are important for others to know that they are not alone. I appreciated the multiple dynamics of the story and how it was impactful to many people. You are never alone and even in hard times, its okay to ask for help. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.

Mental illness is still a taboo in society. People still try to hide any psychological problems due to fear of societal banishment. Book like these are necessary to bring people close to the reality and make them understand what the victims go through

A mother, Carole, a sister, Janine, a daughter, Alison, and a grandmother, Solange are all narrators in this book about mental illness, family, love, and trust. The reader is held victim as mental illness creeps up on Carole, just as she is held victim to watching her own destruction. The reader is engaged in Solange’s fight with society over social class and women’s lack of rights in Depression America. The story bounces back and forth in time and between the four women. It got a bit too much. The drawback, in what was an otherwise well told story, was the addition of the other two voices: Alison and Janine. Alison, Carole’s daughter, did offer a valuable outsider’s view of what Carole’s condition looked like. But there was too much time spent in her world. Janine, I felt, added no value and in fact detracted from the central focus of the story. These minor distractions aside, Ms. Yoerg presents an incredibly personal story of mental illness.

All the Best People was a beautiful story about four women and how mental illness touches their lives. Carole lost her mother at an early age to mental illness, while her sister Janine never got the chance to know their mother. When she starts hearing things that aren't there, Carole hides her symptoms, desperate not to prove that it's all "in the blood." The story unfolds over two different time periods and comes together as the women come to understand each other and find their places in the family. It was a touching and well written story.

I appreciate the opportunity to receive the ARC of All the Best People from First to Read. The family logistics as they develop in Sonja Yoerg world leaves you wondering how people could act the way they did, but later you realize that this is a community led situation. As the pieces fall together you can see how each part seems to strive to learn from the past although loosing parts and misunderstanding the why's. Great Read of how humanity can become misdirected.

I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC of this gem from First to Read.  I am, as always, extremely grateful. Summary:     I want to start at the beginning.  Solange is beautiful, kind, smart.... and poor.  She works at a hotel to help her family with money.  In comes a man with his father, Osbourne.  Moneyed, handsome... and staring at her.  After a whirlwind courtship the two marry without their families' blessings, sure that love will carry them through.  And at first it does... but different upbringing brings different ideals and when theirs clash, Solange begins to see that she may not know the man she married.  Her daughter, Carole, is her light and love.  One night, one mistake.... a new baby.  Osbourne finds that the child is not his, and cannot accept it.  Solange, in desperation tries to disappear with her children....            It is the seventies now.  Carole is older, married, and has three children that she loves dearly.  Her life is ordinary, and perfect.  She has taken care of her sister all her life, as was her mother's wish.  She visits her mother at the mental hospital that where she has spent most of Carole's life.  Solange is confused, frightened at times.            Something is going on with Carole.  She hears things, voices... things that were easy for her are hard now.  She dare not tell anyone, for fear that she will be taken from her family, like her mother.  Carole tries her best to hide it, but everyone can see something is different, and react differently.  Her youngest, Allison, had always relied heavily on her mother.  She feels it worst, and seeks answers and friendship elsewhere.   Her husband, Warren, is hurt and confused.       When tragedy threatens the family, she can't hold it together anymore and the truth comes out.  How will they move forward?  And how much of the present is tied to the past? My thoughts:            I loved this book!  I loved how it was told in different points of view so that you got a better rounded idea of everyone and everything.  I loved the flawed, intriguing characters, and the way the story flowed.   Honestly, there was nothing I didn't like about this book.  I will be buying a copy- maybe some as gifts along the road too.            The way that the author addressed mental illness and how it is treated then, and later, made it very real to me.  I felt for Solange, and Carole.  Carole's fear and pain cut me deeply, I cannot imagine trying to go through that alone.  I highly recommend this book.  Five stars!          On the adult content scale, there is language and sexual content.  I would still give this book to a mature teen, but be aware.  I give it a seven.

5 stars This was one of those rare books where, a few chapters in, I already knew that it would be at minimum a 4-star read, possibly even 5 star. As I’ve said before, I’m stingy when it comes to ratings and I don’t give 5 stars very often, but when such a deserving book as this one comes along, I do not see how I can give anything less than 5 stars. Sonja Yoerg’s All the Best People captured my attention from the start. The story is told from the alternating perspectives of three generations of women from the same family – Carole, her sister Janine, their mother Solange, and Carole’s adolescent daughter Alison. Part 1, which takes place in 1972, sets up the story for us as we meet the LaPorte family through the voices of Carole, Alison, and Janine. From the first page, we already know that Carole’s mother Solange was committed to a mental institution a few decades ago, though the reasons why and the details from Solange’s backstory are withheld from us. Through the interactions of the LaPorte family, we are given some “clues” that point to a past family history filled with tragedy and sorrow -- through the character of Carole especially, we get the sense that some things happened in her childhood that seem to be coming back to haunt her now and suddenly, the blissful life she had built with her husband and three kids threatens to fall apart. In part 2, we are taken back to the year 1926 and Solange’s backstory, starting with her marriage to Osborn Gifford. From here, we start to put together the pieces of the puzzle and the “clues” from part 1 slowly gain clarity, with complex family dynamics and societal influences coming into play, culminating in us finally finding out what led Solange – a young mother at the time – to be institutionalized. Part 3 brings us back to 1972, to Carole and Alison and their family issues, which finally reach breaking point as Carole suspects that she might have the same “mental illness” as her mother and is terrified that, just like Solange, she may get locked up in an institution, abandoned by her family, destined to live a life of loneliness and isolation. Will Carole’s fate end up like Solange’s? Will her family be able to overcome the dark legacy of mental illness that has haunted their family line for nearly 5 decades? Though the ending was a bit flat for my liking in that it did not have the emotional pull that I was expecting, the revelations about the family lineage that came to light prior to that all but made up for it. This book is both beautifully and brilliantly written! It wasn’t until I got to the end of the book that I realized the brilliance of the structure – having Carole’s story told in the present, then switching to the past to tell Solange’s story, then coming back to the present when both stories seem to converge and ultimately things come to a head at the end. The juxtaposition of both women’s stories, mixed with perspectives from Alison and Janine at just the right moments, presented a powerful examination of mental illness and its impact on family as well as how the choices and decisions one makes can have a lasting impact on future generations. But it also went beyond that, as there was also an exploration of relationships (some kept together by love while others are torn apart by betrayal), human dignity and morality, family history, class differences, the role of fate, the importance of trust, etc. There were even some “coming-of-age” elements with Alison’s story and also the recollection of Carole’s childhood! Despite all I just wrote, I don’t think my review does justice to how great this book is. It’s a highly recommended read, one that will resonate with readers and may even stay with you long after you’ve finished reading (which is the impact it had on me). Received advance reader’s copy from Berkley Press via Penguin First-to-Read program.

A fascinating book. I wasn't as interested in Solange's story and the tone was darker and heavier than I was expecting. Carole's struggles hit home and Alison's story was heartbreaking for the preteen in me.A good book overall.

"All the Best People," written by Sonja Yoerg, was provided to me as a galley copy through the First to Read program. I was completely fascinated by this story, and the impacts of mental health issues in families in the early 1970s. Carole La Porte is a typical, ordinary mom in Vermont... except that her mother (Solange) is locked in a mental hospital, her sister was married to her husband's twin (who passed away), and her daughter Alison is an 11-year-old girl facing all of the frightening things of pre-teenhood. Slowly we watch Carol devolve as her mind starts "playing tricks on her" and she tries to hide it from her family, while Alison notices and tries to make sense of what is happening, while dealing with school, her brothers, and life in general. Alison uses everything she can think of to help figure it out - magic, Tarot, omens, and signs from anything she can find. Extremely well written.

The story didn't engage me the way I was expecting it too, therefore it became a slow read for me. I really had to push myself to finish it as I wasn't pulled into any of the characters. So many other people seem to love it, and I am a Vermonter so I had high hopes. I think that the book would have been better served to just give an overview of Solange at the beginning and not continue to have chapters dedicated to her because I don't think it made the book richer.

I didn't enjoy this novel as much as I hoped I would. The writing is good, but I feel that the description is misleading. I started reading looking forward to magic, with a bit of fantasy and whimsy. Something light and that was more focused on Alison's journey to help her mother and Carole's descent into madness. Instead the focus was split between four women: Solange, Carole and Janine (Solange's daughters), and Alison (Carole's daughter) and two different timelines: one focused on Solange and how she ended up in Underhill and the other focused on Carole's developing madness and Alison's upset at her changing situation. I didn't care at all for Solange's part of story (though I did understand the overall purpose of including it). I wasn't interested in reading about the classism, which was the basis of Solange's struggles. It grated on me how she deemed her husband weak, yet crumpled so easily after her indiscretion, yet I was appalled at what was done to her and that things like that happened during those times. Rather than the bit of light fantasy I was looking for this was a more realistic, serious, and historical look at mental illness and how families functioned in the 70s and farther back. How love and honesty can change the outcome. I appreciated the lighter, more hopeful ending. Overall, I think this would be a good read for an audience who is looking to read something more historically based. It wasn't for me.

I finished this wonderful book a few days ago and still find myself thinking about the characters. In fact, I so loved this book that I've yet to return to my other reads for fear of breaking the spell. Three generations of women, each from her own POV, share their story about growing up, holding on, letting go, and moving forward. Mental illness and maternal relationships are the key factors in Yoerg's latest book. Are we predisposed to mental illness? Do circumstances of misfortune change who we will become? Are some people luckier than others? Or, can we wish things into existence? How much does family life define us? Who are we without a family to rely on? Lastly, can we really blame our behavior, good or bad, on our parents, or those who raise us? I bring this final question up because I was left wondering, how can two sisters share a similar life but turn out so completely different? Whatever the answers, it's fair to say that this book is very thought provoking and I loved every minute spent reading it. Absorbing and well written. ?????????? Five shiny stars!! * I was provided with a DRC through Penguin's First to Read program. Opinions are my own.

This was simply put, one of the most stunning books I've read all year. The words were beautiful, the story heartbreakingly real, the characters so finely drawn I found myself feeling all they were feeling, which in relation to what they were experiencing was not always a pleasant thing but fabulous nonetheless. I worried for them, ached for them and was so angry on their behalf! Carole's slow decline into schizophrenia was so real to me. I have suffered from depression and while that is different, this book spoke to me from that perspective. The fear was so real, the panic and anxiety, I could feel all of that. However I was never uncomfortable enough to walk away from the book because I needed to know that she was going to somehow be ok and everything would work out as well as it could for someone suffering from mental illness. I also enjoyed the story told from Solange's point of view as well. The look into a mental hospital in the 1930's was fascinating. And then the way Carole and Solange's stories intertwined was heartbreaking and lovely and incredibly and beautifully written. I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys an amazingly written look at mental illness, the love between parent and child and who wants to close a book feeling satisfied and stretched in a beautiful way. This one is absolutely all of that and more.

"All The Best People" is about three generations of women struggling to get through certain life challenges as they uncover family history and secrets, affecting each of them in different ways. This story takes place in Vermont in the early seventies, though there are sections that take place in the past. The story is told in multiple points of view, but I didn't find it confusing at all, and I rather enjoyed getting a feel for each main character's thoughts. The reader is first introduced to Carole LaPorte, a middle-aged, mother of three, who starts to feel a little off and eventually realizes that something is seriously wrong with her. The second main character is Carole's daughter, Alison, an 11 year old girl trying to handle the challenges of childhood, while worrying about her increasingly distant mother. Next, the reader is introduced to Carole's sister, Janine, who is a deeply troubled woman with some serious issues. Janine was my least favorite character in this book because she came off as very selfish and spiteful. Lastly, we get a glimpse into the early life of Carole and Janine's mother, Solange, a woman who has been confined to a mental institution for most of her life. I felt sad for what Solange had to endure throughout her life. I found this book so interesting and the writing just flowed so effortlessly. I love when stories are easy and enjoyable to read; those are the books that are hard to put down. I loved how the author described Carole's declining mental state. The reader really gets a look into Carole's thoughts as she starts to get worse. I thought Carole's point of view was so well written and original in the way that it was written. (If that makes sense). I thought the main characters were well rounded and it was interesting to read about each of their experiences as they dealt with challenges throughout the story. I definitely recommend reading this book if you like heartwarming and heartbreaking stories with intriguing characters. I look forward to reading more from Sonja Yoerg.

All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg is an entertaining and very compelling story of family - the good, the bad, and everything in between. She also helps us gain a better understanding of what mental illness is and what it is not. This book is told from the perspective of 4 female characters from 3 different decades. Carole is having trouble remembering things, is hearing voices in her head, and is afraid to tell anyone. Janine is Carole's sister who has recently lost her husband and is ready to move on with her life and find love once again.  Carole's daughter Alison is in the 6th grade and she loves to look up words in the dictionary. Alison is very concerned about her mother. Finally, we hear from Carole and Janine's mother Solange, who is a permanent resident of Underhill State Hospital. The book moves from the 1970's to the 1920's, then back to the 1970's. I was really happy that we got to learn Solange's story: how she met her husband, the birth of her children, and how she ended up at Underhill State Hospital. I really enjoy when authors use real life situations and weave them into a fictional book. I always walk away feeling like I learned a little something. Be sure to read the Author's Note in the back to see how Sonja Yoerg has done that in this story. I think Sonja Yoerg did a terrific job bringing mental illness issues to the forefront. There are discussion questions in the back of the book to help bring forth a dialogue about mental illness as well as a number of other issues in the book, like class conflict, betrayal, and so on. There is a stigma that can attach itself to mental illness and I hope this book can help bridge that. If just one person reaches out for help as a result of reading this book, then in my eyes I consider this book a success. Thank you First to Read for an opportunity to read and give my honest opinion about this book.

I loved this book. I mean really enjoyed it a LOT. Watching the story unfold as it went from past to present was amazing. I felt like I really got to know the main characters and felt for them. There were a couple of parts I didn't like very much but overall, 4 star read and I would recommend to friends.

A wonderful story of 3 generations of women spanning from the 20's to the 70's. The story is set in Vermont and as a Vermonter I loved the local references. The author did a wonderful job with character development as the chapters are set from the view point of different women. The story depicts the struggles of family, love and commitment across generations. I felt an attachment to each of the characters but my favorite was Allison and how committed she was to helping her mom from a dabble of witchcraft to reaching out to those in authority for help. The topic of mental health is discussed across generations and provides a glimpse into how people were treated then and in the 70's and it impacted family. I look forward to reading more of Sonja Yoerg's book.

This book perfectly chronicled the fear a daughter has of following in her Mother's footsteps into mental instability. This narrative sounds just like my friend who is in the same situation, worried about becoming afflicted like her mother is. Stick with it--it takes a little while to get revved up, and you will be happy that you did. Great book!

I loved this book! It was very well written and kept me interested. The characters were well developed and very likable. I would highly recommend this book.

An interesting, engaging read. The characters and plot were well drawn out. The end tied all of the loose ends together well.

All the best people by Sonja Yoerg. I was really interested in diving into this book, because the description leads to many different plot possibilities . The story is about three generations and how they are closely tied together by lies, betrayal and secrets kept. We first read about Solange, her life growing up, her marriage and the birth of her first daughter Carole. Solange has to live with decisions she's made, and a betrayal that will cost her life as she knows it. After the birth of her second daughter, she reveals her secret, and loses her family as she's whisked away to a lifetime spent in a mental institution. The story switches to Solange's daughter Carole, and how she's forced to raise her baby sister. There father in roles in the armed forces and leaves the girls to be raised reluctantly by there aunt. Carole struggles with the secrets behind why no one will let her see her mother, or even speak about her, why her aunt hates her baby sister so much, and growing up with no one to love or care for them like they deserve. The book takes a turn as Carole goes on to have her own family, and her daughter Allie struggles with the changes taking place with her mom. She tries to turn to her aunt and father for help, but no one seems to see what's happening to her mother except for her. Allie brings out the true plot of the story, revealing the mental illness her mom has, and building a relationship with her grandmother Solange. The book took many different directions, but came together nicely in the end, I really enjoyed reading it and defiantly recommend it.

Enjoyed this book, but it took awhile to "get into it". Once the characters were developed it all made sense. The multi generational way of wiriting was interesting and wove a great story. I was a nursing student in the late 60's and saw many of the people who were admitted years before for illnesses treated at home now. The book was very accurate in their description. Watching the development of mental health care over many years was a great way to show the need of those afflicted. Characters were well done, not all were likeable, and that's a good thing. Having read about the eugenics movement in Vermont, it was nice to see it discussed in this book. Some things are better not forgotten. All in all, a good book.

I loved this book!! This is the story of three generations of women - Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine and Carole's daughter Allison. The story weaves in and out of time periods giving each character her moment in the sun and tying them together in both obvious and surprising ways. I was initially drawn to this book because of the psychological/mental health aspect of the book. I was not disappointed but was surprised and how quickly I fell in love with the entire story line. The characters, with the exception of Janine, were lovable in spite of (and maybe because of) their flaws. This was a quick and very enjoyable read. I will look forward to reading more from this author.

All the Best People is an engaging novel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I received a copy as part of the First To Read program. The book follows the lives of four characters: mother, two daughters, and granddaughter. The story covers many facets and intricacies of relationships, especially when impacted by deception, trust, and most of all love. Solange spends most of her adult life in a mental hospital, locked inside her own private hell and away from her two daughters, Carole and Janine. Carole begins to hear voices as she enters middle age and fears she is headed for the same kind of life her mother has led. Janine, bitter and alone, was broken from the moment she was born, and at age 36, doesn't seem to be capable of loving anyone, let alone herself. And Carole's daughter, Alison, is entering those crucial early teen years when a young girl needs her mother more than ever, but sees her mother slipping away before her very eyes and feels powerless to help her. As each character's individual story unfolds (through alternating points of view), the reader becomes invested in trying to figure out a way to put the pieces of this family back together before it's too late. This was the kind of novel that seemed better as I was reading it than when I looked back on it. I still thought it was a good story, but there were a few things that I would have liked to have either read more about or have seen them left out all together. The topic of eugenics was broached, but never fully explored. The author's note told a more detailed account of eugenics than the novel. The second thing was the description or mention of the treatment that Solange received in the mental hospital. Again, in the author's note, it was explained that this type of treatment actually occurred. But in the novel, the topic was only mentioned. And the whole topic of magic and spells may have appealed to some, but I found them to be distracting and unnecessary, although I did like Alison's interpretation of spells vs. wishes. All in all, a good story with memorable characters.

This was a wonderful thought provoking book. The characters were so well drawn they felt like friends. The main character was deeply troubled and fearful of her life becoming like her mothers. This really adversely effected her young daughter. I would definitely recommend this book for those who like books in this genre.

I loved it, it was emotional, well written, the characters well developed, it was inspirational in the most emotional of moments, it was a trifecta. I throughly enjoyed this book, from The beginning sentence to the very last word.

Read this novel in four sittings over three days. The writing is inventively ingenious and sophisticated, the story of three generations of women--Solange, her daughters Carole and Janine, and Carole's daughter Alison--was so absorbing and realistic. The psychological dramas/storylines develop realistically, with suspense. I was surprised to find, at the end of the book, that the underlying premise of class discrimination was based on fact. Yet those facts were skillfully woven into the storylines skillfully, so that the reader never feels lectured. I'd call this novel part mystery, part romance and over-all a well-written and believable psychological drama.

I thought this book was amazing. The characters were well developed and kept me reading.

The story is amazing and I love the writing style. It had been a long time since I had read a story that not only did not disappoint but fascinated me!

Wow! Wow! I love this book! This story is mesmerizing. I could not get enough of this story. It has it all! There is friendship, love, betrayal, and so much more! I can and cannot believe that some of this is based on real events. Mental illness treatment used to be so atrocious. I loved the characters in this story. I really enjoyed the point of view. The story telling was wonderful. It is very well written. It brings to light the secrets in this family. It shows you how these women were shaped into who they are, or who they will because. It delves into the human mind. It dives into this thing we call life. It gives you insight into multiple minds and shows you their likeness. It lets you look at differences between people. It shows you just how easily it can be you who slides over the edge of sanity. Who knows, maybe you already have.

I absolutely loved this book!! I loved reading about the women of three generations and the struggles they go through. It was a very real story of relationships and mental health.

A heartfelt, compelling tale filled to the brim with rich characters and an emphasis on mental health issues in families. The story, which unfurls in time from the twenties to the seventies, is told through the strong voices of three generations of women, each deeply impacted by confusion, secrets and the past. I was particularly struck by Carole's passages, which painstakingly detail her descent into schizophrenia; the stellar writing perfectly relays every moment of her hellish journey. There's a little bit of everything at play here, but Yoerg effortlessly balances all of the storylines and even manages to weave a moving water theme throughout the book. A lovely literary gem.

This book started off pretty slow for me, but I was glad I stuck with it because I warmed up to it and the story came together. The POV switches between several women: Solange, who falls in love with the wrong man; her daughter Carole, who is afraid she is turning into her mother; Allison (Carole's daughter) who knows that there is something wrong with her mother when everyone else is in denial; Janine (Carole's younger sister) who had a very rough upbringing and isn't very attached to anyone except herself. Each character brought up many different emotions for me and I really cared about them, especially Allison as she struggles to be a tween whose mom is utterly preoccupied with herself.

Something is not quite right with Carole. She knows that she is hearing things that are not there and she's trying too hard to fight this alternative reality. She doesnt want to upset her family, but more importantly she fears that she'll end up institutionalized like her mother, and taken away from her family. She tries desperately hard to hide her struggles from her family. This story is told from different points of view and with an alternate timeline that reveals how Carole and her challenging sister, Janine ended up where they are. This was extremely readable and I was invested in the characters and their story. I didn't realize there was a study guide and another excerpt at the end of the book, so the ending of the story was earlier than I expected but it knit together quite well. I especially appreciated the way the author presented the chapters from Carole's point of view as she struggles with the challenge of voices. The family secrets always seem to catch up with us in the end. 5 likes

ALL THE BEST PEOPLE takes your breath from the very first line and keeps it through a heart-reeling number of twists and turns. Well-plotted, with wonderful writing and pacing, on the surface it appears to be a superfluous story, but just as you begin to think you’ve worked it out, you’re blindsided and realize you haven’t. It will keep you reading and guessing, and trust me, you still won’t have it figured out. Not until the very end! I strongly recommend the book!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. It isn't until you've completed it do you realize what a treasure it truly is. Indeed, I was about two-thirds the way through still wondering what the point of the book was. It is a story that draws you in deeper the further you go. The story leaves you feeling uneasy and this feeling never really goes away until a particular event occurs. Having worked with mentally disturbed and challenged individuals most of my life, I can say that the author was spot-on about this topic. The historical setting serves to enhance this information. A well-researched and well-written book, a satisfying read.

I loved the many layers and characters in this book. Carole is the center and has a mother that is hospitalized for mental illness. She raises her sister, Janine. Carole begins to struggle with mental illness and calls upon the past to find out what is going on. She learns that her mother was never mentally ill and that she had an affair. The father committed her instead of having to face the affair and the aftermath. The story is told of the past and the lessons are extended into the present with Carole, her daughter, twin sons, and husband. This was a great book and I will definitely look to reading more from this author.

This book is an excellent book that travels into the mind of mental illness; the terror and confusion surrounding this. This is a great read. It travels back in forth from character to character and really adds depth to the story. The story is about Carol's family. It provides her voice, her sister, Janine, and her daughter Alison. It shows family dynamics and how decisions of the parents, particularly Carol's parents affected the generations. This is well written and I couldn't put this book down.

There were so many layers to this story. The first layer was in the characters themselves as far as familial relationships. It went back and forth between a mother in an asylum, her two daughters and their relationships, but it also touched on many, many others. Carole was a grown woman with a husband and 3children.. She had been raised by her aunts, along with her baby sister untill the age of 18. Her father died in the war and her mother had been in an asylum since Carole was about 11. The aunts resented the baby sister, so Carole was really the only affection she received. The. story then turns and gives you the background of Carole's mother and her subsequent marriage to Carole's father and I between there are daily events of Carole's family life with her children. Although It may appear confusing, it is all very cohesive and you can definitely feel the timeline of events. Many things to take from the book that at the most basic level deals with who you are and how you have been loved for being yourself and not a fabricated version.

It has everything you seek in a "women's fiction" book, great characters, relationships, romance, laughter and tears. I was glued to it from start to finish,. However,before I started reading it, I discovered it was book #5 in a series that I did not read. Happily, I had book #1 in my ereader and quickly read it. That was a great help in learning some background necessary to follow all the drama confronting me. This is the perfect beach read. (or anywhere read) Now I will go backwards and read the other three.

I would like to thank First to Read, Berkley Book, and Sonja Yoerg for the ARC ( Advanced Reading Copy) of "All the Best People" by Sonja Yoerg, for my honest review. The genre for this book is Women's Fiction. I also feel there is a little bit of Historical Fiction, and a touch of magical essence. The author describes mental illness, and the effects on the characters lifes and times. I find that the author describes social political class conflict. There are those who are considered rich, and those that are considered poor by society's standards. In this novel there is history of conflict with the Protestant elite and French Catholic lake dwelling families. Often the lake dwelling families were considered to have "bad blood" In the beginning of the story, Solange, who comes from a lake dwelling family marries Osborn, who is one of the Protestant elite. Osborn is an up and coming attorney and represents a case against one of the lake dwelling families. This starts to cause a strain on the marriage. Solange and Osborn have a daughter, Carole. When Solange doubts Osborn's intentions, she tries to run away with Carole and her new baby daughter, later named Janine. Osborn takes the children and Solange winds up in a mental institution. In those days, husbands could easily have their wifes committed. Ten year old Carole tries to look after her younger sister, while they live with a mean aunt. Carole marries a kind man name Walt, and they have a daughter Alison. Carole does visit her mother,Solange at the mental Institution. Carole soon finds herself hearing voices, and is terrified that she is losing her mind. Alison finds a blue box in the attic that had belonged to Solange, and tries to make and use magic spells to control the complex situations in her life. Sonja Yoerg writes this story of three generations of conflicted and complex characters, Solange, Carole, and Alison. The author also mentions superstition, tarot cards, and magical spells. Sonja Yoerg also symbolizes the water, lake and ocean with the character's emotions.(angry or calm) The effects of mental Illness on the family can be seen through the three generations. Can this be from the "bad blood"? Kudos to Sonja Yoerg for dealing and describing, mental illness, social and political tensions, and family, loyalty, hope, faith and love. After reading this story, it makes me contemplate, Who "are the Best People"? I would highly recommend this intriguing and multi-layered read.

Everybody is crazy....some more, some less and for different reasons. I got into into this novel very quickly but honestly had to push through once the author got heavily into Solange's past. I was already hooked by the present day lives of Carol and her family. I wasn't ready to get embroiled in the past .Close to the end of the story , I was all in again. I am glad that I stuck with it.


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