All Manner of Things

All Manner of Things

by Susie Finkbeiner

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Overview

When Annie Jacobson's brother Mike enlists as a medic in the Army in 1967, he hands her a piece of paper with the address of their long-estranged father. If anything should happen to him in Vietnam, Mike says, Annie must let their father know.

In Mike's absence, their father returns to face tragedy at home, adding an extra measure of complication to an already tense time. As they work toward healing and pray fervently for Mike's safety overseas, letter by letter the Jacobsons must find a way to pull together as a family, regardless of past hurts. In the tumult of this time, Annie and her family grapple with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand, even as they learn to turn to the One who binds the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Author Susie Finkbeiner invites you into the Jacobson family's home and hearts during a time in which the chaos of the outside world touched their small community in ways they never imagined.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800735692
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 209,555
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Breathe Christian Writers Conference planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women's events across the state. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

June, 1967

When God created the world, he only afforded Michigan just so many good-weather days. He caused the bookends of the year to be winter and the months between to be warm enough for the earth to almost thaw before it was to freeze solid once again.

And somehow, in his infinite wisdom he had chosen to call it good.

In the deepest of winter, I often questioned the soundness of mind that made my ancestors think that Michigan was a good and fine place to settle. But it was in spring, when the whole world came back alive and I forgot the cold, that I swore to never leave my home state. Leaves turned the forests back to green, and flowers speckled bright red and yellow and orange across the lawns and fields. Purple lilacs bloomed on the bush below my bedroom window, smelling like heaven itself. Finches molted tawny feathers to show off their brilliant goldenrod. Robins returned with their trilling song, and just-hatched chicks peeped from their nests, discarding pretty blue shells on the ground.

Every year it caught me by surprise, the return of life to Fort Colson. But by June I'd fallen into the routine of longer days and leaving my jacket at home, letting the sun warm my bare arms.

I certainly would have liked to enjoy the sunshine. Instead, I stood looking out the big window of Bernie's Diner, dripping washrag in hand, wishing the view was of something other than the five-and-dime across the street. It was the perfect day for sitting on a dock, dipping my toes into the waters of Chippewa Lake.

Old Chip. That was what my brothers and I called it. Where we all learned how to swim and row a canoe and catch fish. Growing up without Frank around hadn't been a walk in the park. But having a mother who was unafraid of getting muddy and hooking a worm on the line made it a little bit easier. Especially for my brothers.

The sound of clattering pots or pans from the kitchen snapped my attention back to my job. I wrung the extra water from my rag and scrubbed down the tabletops, wiping away the breakfast crumbs to make way for the lunch plates. A couple of girls I knew from high school walked along the sidewalk past the diner window, wearing minidresses and bug-eyed sunglasses that seemed all the rage that year.

Using my knuckle, I pushed up my plastic-framed glasses and hoped they wouldn't notice me. Bernie's dress code only allowed white button-up shirts and slacks — no jeans. On my own I was a certifiable L7 square. The uniform didn't help matters at all.

The girls looked in through the window. Sally Gaines with the perfectly coiffed auburn bouffant and Caroline Mann with her diamond engagement ring sparkling in the sunshine. Sally's mouth broke into an impossibly perfect smile and she waved, her fingers wiggling next to her face.

I knew that it was not meant for me. As far as girls like Sally and Caroline were concerned, I was less than invisible. I didn't even exist.

Turning, I saw my brother behind the counter, lowering a crate of freshly washed glasses to rest beside the Coca-Cola fountain. The glasses clinked together, but delicately, sounding just a little bit like chimes.

"You have an admirer," I said, stepping away from the window.

"Great," he said, thick sarcasm in his voice. Not looking up at the girls, he took one of the glasses and put it under the fountain, pulling half a glass of pop for himself. "They're good tippers at least."

"For you." I watched him take a few drinks of the Coke before moving on to setting the tables with silverware wrapped in paper napkins. "I don't have the advantage of flirting with them."

"You've got a point," he said. "I am charming."

"And I'm a nerd."

"Nah, you're peachy keen."

"Well, thanks." I looked back to where the girls had stood. They were already gone.

"I have my meeting today," Mike said, finishing off the last of his pop. "The one I told you about."

"When?"

"After lunch. Bernie told me I could leave a little early."

"Did you tell him what it's about?"

"No." Mike put his empty glass on the counter. He lowered his voice to just above a whisper. "I kind of gave him the impression that it's a doctor's appointment."

"And he bought it?" I asked. "You know you're the worst liar in the world, don't you?"

"He didn't seem to doubt me." He poured himself another half glass of pop and drank it all at once. "I didn't want him trying to talk me out of it."

"Do you really have to do this?" I asked.

"Yeah," he answered, covering a silent burp with his fist. "Unless you have any other ideas."

"Canada's only a few hours away."

He raised his eyebrows and made a humming sound. "I'm not sure that's a great option."

"What did Mom say?"

Shrugging, he walked around the counter, checking the ketchup bottles from the tables to see which needed refilling. He carried the half-full ones back to the counter in the crook of his arm.

"You told her, didn't you?" I asked. "Please tell me you did."

"Not exactly." He lined the bottles up on the counter.

"What do you mean by 'not exactly'?"

He cringed. "Not at all."

"Golly, Mike," I said, hoping it didn't sound too much like a scold. "You should have asked her about it. She might have had some ideas."

"I'm almost twenty, Annie. I'm an adult," he said, making his voice deeper. "It doesn't matter anyway. They're sending me whether I like it or not. I might as well just volunteer and at least have some say over things."

"I guess."

"She's going to be furious, though. I know she will be." He moved behind the counter again and wiped the bottles down with a wet rag. "I don't know how I'll tell Joel."

In the thirteen years since our baby brother was born, Joel loved no one as much as he did Mike. If he ever tired of such undying admiration, Mike rarely let on. He took to the role of big brother near perfectly.

"Why haven't you told him?" I asked.

"Gee, I don't know," Mike answered, uncapping the ketchup bottles. "I tried. I just didn't have the heart."

"You aren't abandoning him, if that's what you're worried about."

"Maybe that's it."

"Still, you have to tell them sometime."

"I will," he said. "Don't worry."

"The sooner the better," I said.

"I'll know more about what's going to happen after my meeting with the recruiter." He sighed. "It's a pickle, that's for sure."

"Maybe they won't want you."

"Come on, buddy, you're going to hurt my feelings."

"Oh, get out of here."

"Soon enough, sis." He turned toward the kitchen. "Soon enough I'll get out of here all the way to Vietnam."

* * *

If there was any consolation to be had for missing out on summer, it was that Bernie let me read during the lulls of the day, provided I had all my silverware wrapped and tables clean. I'd just settled onto the stool behind the cash register with book in hand when the bell over the door jingled with the arrival of someone. Regretfully, I shut the book and put it back on the counter. Scout Finch would just have to wait a little bit longer.

My mother stood just inside the door, purse hanging from her bent arm, and looking every bit the lady in her red blouse and tweed skirt. She'd worn her hair down that day with the ends in upturned curls.

She'd never been one to lie about her age. In fact, I'd heard her more than once brag about being over forty. "Just over," she'd say. The conversation inevitably turned to how she looked so young.

"My secret?" she'd say with a conspiratorial wink. "A hairdresser who can keep my secrets and a strong girdle."

My mother, Gloria Jacobson, ever the charmer who turned heads anywhere she went. And me, her beanpole of a daughter who hardly took the time to twist a braid into her hair most mornings. It was a wonder she never tried to give me beauty tips, as much as I sorely needed them. Then again, I'd never asked. Never much cared to, either.

"I can't stay long," Mom said, making her way to the counter. "I have a few other errands to run before going back to work."

"Late lunch?" I asked, checking my watch.

She rolled her eyes. "Mrs. Channing was in for a checkup today, and you know how she can go on."

She lifted her hand, making a puppet out of her fingers, opening and closing them like a mouth.

"Did she ask again about you and the doctor?"

Mom sighed. "Of course she did."

After Frank left us, Mom found herself in need of a job for the first time in her life. She'd put on her most professional-looking dress and walked over to Dr. Bill DeVries's office to ask him to hire her. She'd said he owed her. For what, I'd never had the courage to ask. The doctor, though, just happened to have a position open at his office. She'd worked as his receptionist ever since.

If rumor could be believed, the good doctor had held a torch for my mother since they were young. He'd even invited her to prom, but a day late. She'd already accepted Frank's invitation.

Most of the women in town waited for a romance to bud between Mom and Dr. DeVries. They'd waited more than twelve years with no sign of giving up hope. I wasn't sure if theirs was an act of sheer determination or utter stubbornness.

Either way, Mom could outlast anyone, even the old biddies of Fort Colson.

"I told her that I'm still married and, as far as I know, that won't change any time soon," Mom said, instinctively touching the gold wedding band on her left ring finger.

When I'd asked her years before why she still wore it, she told me it was to "discourage any interested parties." I wondered if it was also to keep certain chatterbox busybodies from speculation.

A small town like Fort Colson was fertile soil for gossip to take seed.

"Is Bernie here?" Mom asked.

"He's in the office," I answered. "It's bookkeeping day."

She reached into her purse, searching for something. "I'm sure it's putting him in a foul mood."

"Well, no more than usual," I whispered.

"He's not being grumpy to you, is he?" She arched one of her eyebrows. "You don't have to put up with his moods, you know."

"He's my boss."

"And he's my cousin."

"Second cousin, Mom." I rolled my eyes. "Everyone around here is your second cousin."

"Still." She went back to digging through her purse. "You don't have to take it from him. You'd get treated better working in an office somewhere."

"You know I'd hate that." I leaned my elbows on the counter. "I'm horrible at typing."

"You'd learn. Besides, there's more money in it." She tilted her head. "Or you could go to college."

"I don't mind his moods," I said. "Besides, I can't afford college."

"We could work something out." Her hands stilled and she looked up into my eyes. "I could work more hours. Maybe get a second job."

"You don't have to do that." I slid my book off the counter. "I wouldn't want to go anyway."

She gave me a sharp look — eyes narrowed and mouth puckered — that told me she didn't believe a word of it. The look didn't last long, just enough so that I'd see it. Then she turned her attention back to her purse.

"If you say so. Ah," she said, pulling an envelope from the depths of her handbag. "This came today."

Red and blue stripes colored the edge of the wrinkled envelope and a darker blue rectangle with white letters that read "BY AIR MAIL PAR AVION." It was addressed to me, the sender was Walter Vanderlaan, Private First Class.

"Any idea why he'd be writing you?" she asked, tapping his name with her long, red fingernail.

"No." I shrugged one shoulder. "I haven't a clue."

"You're sure?" She turned her head, giving me the side-eye.

I picked up the envelope, tapping a corner of it against the counter. Walt and his parents had been our neighbors when I was small. Our folks would play cards some Friday evenings, letting us kids stay up late to swim in the shallows of Old Chip or watch Ozzie and Harriet on television.

Walt had been my friend even though he was Mike's age. When he knocked on the door to ask for a playmate, he sought me. When we picked teams for a game of tag, he'd call my name first. More than once I'd overheard our mothers talk about writing up papers for an arranged marriage.

He was my very first friend and I was his.

But after Frank left and we moved, we didn't talk much anymore. And the older we got, the more Walt hated me. At least that was how I interpreted his name-calling and dirty looks.

I tried my hardest not to grimace, looking at my name on the envelope written in Walt's handwriting. "He's hardly spoken two words to me since we were little."

"Well, apparently he wants to talk to you now."

"I can't imagine why." I pushed up my glasses. "I'd think he has plenty of other people he could write."

"People change. Being at war can make a boy get ideas." Her eyes widened, she nodded once. "It makes them take notice of things they might otherwise overlook."

"Mom, no. He wouldn't —"

"Annie, you aren't getting any younger. You're eighteen, after all. And I know you are probably in a hurry to get married." She leaned over the counter toward me. "I'm sure you think he's a nice boy, but ..."

"He's not nice," I interrupted. "I already know that. I've always known that. Besides, I'm not in a hurry to get married."

"Honey, he's at war. I'm sure he's lonely." She sighed. "I guess I just want you to be careful."

"Careful of what?"

"I don't want you getting your heart broken."

"Mom, I harbor no secret affections for Walt Vanderlaan. I promise. Besides, he's been engaged to Caroline Mann for ages." I stuffed the letter in between the pages of my book. "Don't worry. I won't write him back, if that's what you want."

"You can if you would like." She let out a breath and leaned her elbows on the counter. "Just don't keep any secrets from me. Can you promise me that?"

I nodded, squinting at her, trying to figure out what she was up to. She never sighed that way unless she had something up her sleeve. Then, her blue eyes sharpened, as if she was trying to see through me. I'd never in all my life held up under her X-ray gaze.

"Is there anything that you'd like to tell me?" she asked. "Any secrets about Michael?"

"What do you mean?"

"I know he's keeping something from me."

"Gosh, Mom, why would you think that?" I widened my eyes, hoping to look puzzled instead of guilty.

"What's this appointment of his?"

"How do you know about that?"

"Mothers always find out," she answered. "What's this appointment?"

The door to the diner opened, letting in a handful of girls who wandered to the window booth, whispering to each other about this or that. I let them know that I'd be right with them, and they nodded as if they were in no hurry.

"You know, don't you?" Mom asked. "Is he in some kind of trouble?"

"Mom."

"It's not about a girl, is it?" She touched my hand. "Please tell me it isn't."

"Mother."

"I understand, times are different than when I was his age." She stood upright, smoothing her blouse. "With the music and the movies now, I know that it can all be so confusing ..."

"Mom, I swear to you it has nothing to do with a girl," I said, trying to stop her from saying something that would make me blush.

"All right," she said, putting her hands up in surrender. "I'm just worried is all."

"It would be better if he told you."

"Okay." She snapped her purse shut. "I should get back to work anyway."

I nodded.

She touched my cheek with her fingertips. "You're getting so grown up."

"If only I looked it." I pushed up my glasses. "I'm tired of people thinking I'm twelve."

"Someday you'll be glad you look younger." She winked at me.

"Maybe."

"Trust me, you will." She turned her attention to the pastry case, where we kept the desserts from the Dutch bakery down the road. "See if Bernie will let you bring home some leftover banket for dessert. Tell him I'll pay him back next week, all right?"

"Sure."

"And your oma is coming for supper. She might like it if you walked with her."

She picked up her purse, putting it back over her arm, and walked out of the diner, hips swaying with each step.

Mike reminded her of Frank. She never said it in so many words; still I knew. The way his brown eyes were unable to hide his mood, how his dark hair curled when he let it get long, his deep voice, his dimple-cheeked smile. All of Mike was all of Frank.

The girls at the booth ordered a glass of Coke each and a plate of french fries to share. The whole time they stayed, they watched everyone walk past on the other side of the window, giggling and gossiping.

While they ate, I sat behind the counter, my book unopened with the envelope peeking out, begging me to find out what was inside. I told myself I'd toss it in the mailbox at the end of the street with a big "RETURN TO SENDER" scrawled across it.

But stuffing the book into my purse, I knew I'd do no such thing.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "All Manner Of Things"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Susie Finkbeiner.
Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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All Manner of Things 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Deanne Patterson 2 days ago
Some book are meant to be read and you think nothing more of them, not so with this one. You will savor it and remember it for a long time. A emotional coming of age story set in the 1960's. The Jacobson's could be your own family or your close neighbor friend's. You will feel privileged to get to know them through the pages of this book, celebrate their happy times with them and want to comfort them through their sadness. A true keeper, this book will keep your attention from first page flip through the closing of the back cover. Published June 4th 2019 by Fleming H. Revell Company . I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
Nanna51 2 days ago
This book is the perfect portrayal of family life in the United States during the Vietnam era. It is a story of courage and of hope and of faith. The Jacobsen family is a family that struggles with real life, like a father who walks out without explanation and a grandfather suffering from dementia. They struggles with finances, with the mom and the daughter both working to make ends meet. Mike joins the army and writes letters home as he is trained to go to the battlefield in Vietnam. Since I lived during this era, the book was made that much more real to me. I loved the depth of the characters. The detail about each main character was given in such a way that by the end of the book, I felt like I could walk into their living room and introduce myself, feeling a part of their lives. I enjoyed the subtle message of faith that was throughout the novel, just a total belief that God is in control and He will take care of things for them. I enjoyed particularly finding out more about why Frank, the father, had deserted the family and why he was willing to return. All in all, this was a good book to read about family life in the late 60’s and early 70’s, an era when family was important and extended family was close by in case you needed them. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction and books with some drama to them! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Nanna51 2 days ago
This book is the perfect portrayal of family life in the United States during the Vietnam era. It is a story of courage and of hope and of faith. The Jacobsen family is a family that struggles with real life, like a father who walks out without explanation and a grandfather suffering from dementia. They struggles with finances, with the mom and the daughter both working to make ends meet. Mike joins the army and writes letters home as he is trained to go to the battlefield in Vietnam. Since I lived during this era, the book was made that much more real to me. I loved the depth of the characters. The detail about each main character was given in such a way that by the end of the book, I felt like I could walk into their living room and introduce myself, feeling a part of their lives. I enjoyed the subtle message of faith that was throughout the novel, just a total belief that God is in control and He will take care of things for them. I enjoyed particularly finding out more about why Frank, the father, had deserted the family and why he was willing to return. All in all, this was a good book to read about family life in the late 60’s and early 70’s, an era when family was important and extended family was close by in case you needed them. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction and books with some drama to them! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Anonymous 3 days ago
5 Stars Over a decade of reading and a book has never brought me to tears until now. All Manner of Things begins with a quote: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Those words are the only reason I began this book. I read those simple word penned by Francis of Norwich centuries ago and I knew I had found my new favorite quote. All Manner of Things begins in 1967. Although I'm a huge fan of historical fiction, the 60's and beyond are not a time period I've ever read about. So I was hesitant to read this, especially since I was required to write a review, as it was a review copy. Ms. Finkbeiner's writing managed to make me want to learn more about the Vietnam War. All Manner of Things did an awesome job of making me feel like I was there. As someone who writes historical fiction, I know just how much research goes into making a book historically accurate, but Ms. Finkbeiner went above and beyond that- the simplest things made me feel like she really knew what she was talking about. The characters were amazing. My favorite had to be Mike. He reminded me so much of Walter from Rilla of Ingleside. Annie was awesome and I love Jocelyn. Joel and Mike's relationship was so sweet, but Mike and Annie's was quite possibly the best sibling relationship I've ever read about. Gloria's stubbornness made me laugh, and I felt so bad for Frank. Oma and Grandma were awesome, especially Oma. (I really loved all the Dutch references she made.) The themes were really what did this book in for me. Even though it holds strong themes of family, it doesn't just talk about having perfect relationships with your family. At the beginning of the book, Annie's family isn't okay, and by the end, they still aren't okay. But All Manner of Things makes it clear that nothing is perfect, especially relationships. This book also covered darkness and loss very, very well. When Mike was talking about all he had seen, it felt as if that could've been me talking. He spoke of how light overcame his darkness. How even though he wasn't okay, he could find hope and peace. I don't want to spoil the ending, but the last few chapters covered grief so well. That really resonated in me. Unlike most books I've read that tackle grief, All Manner of Things didn't just talk about sadness; anger and confusion and physical pain was covered as well. I really appreciated that. "Just remember, there's a light in the darkness. The darkness cannot understand it. But that light isn't for the darkness. It's for you. It's so you can find your way home." "I believed that, as Oma said, we were meant for eternity. That life on this side was a prelude to the real life ahead of us. At least that is what I hoped for."
Anonymous 3 days ago
This book. It made me break out the box of Kleenex, laugh tenderly at the darling characters, and ache with loss when I was forced to say goodbye on the last page. Annie, Mike, Joel, Frank, and Gloria stole my heart. Honest. I was excited to read this book because it's set in a different time period than I am used to reading. 1967 seemed intriguing and not so very long ago. I was not expecting the beauty of what Susie Finkbeiner has created in All Manner of Things. This story is about family. When I first started reading, the story line seemed almost too simple and meandering. But this book is driven by the characters -- the hearts -- within the story. The plot scoots discreetly out of the way to leave room for an intimate look at the complications of relationships and the hope found in trusting God's sovereignty and goodness. Annie was one of those rare 100% relatable main characters, and I loved her forthright personality. My favorite supporting character was Joel, the earnest, guitar-playing fourteen-year-old. I guess I have a weakness for younger brothers. :) The pages of this book aren't just pages. They are a time capsule that immerse you in a small Michigan town in 1967. The diner, Aretha Franklin's music, bell bottom jeans, and TV broadcasts about racial conflict and the war in Vietnam gave me a glimpse into my grandparents' world. I think I've gushed long enough for you to get the picture. Make this book your next read!
Teadrinker 4 days ago
I am not sure I can pour out everything in my heart after reading All Manner of Things. This book touched my heart and soul. . .and, at one point, I was a puddle of tears. Finkbeiner has written a book so full of real characters that I did feel like I was one of the family living right along side them as they faced changing circumstances all around them. I found myself pulling for all of the characters even a couple of them that I didn't like at first. Finkbeiner helped me see that even they had redeeming qualities. . .seeing them as God would see them. I felt like All Manner of Things addressed several issues of that day. . .and issues that we still struggle with in the world today. I like how well the faith issues were woven into the book. Nothing felt starchy or preachy. It all flowed together well. She also offered some rich descriptions of the area and of life in a Dutch heritage community. I especially loved this as my husband is Dutch. There isn't a discussion guide in the back of the book, but this book would make a great book club discussion book. It wouldn't be hard to have some good group talks around this book. I highly recommend it. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
BBulow 5 days ago
“Behind the clouds the sun is shining. If only we have eyes to see it.” This is a beautiful, artfully done book. Not many novels move me to the point of tears, but All Manner of Things did. I finished several days ago, and I’m still thinking about it, still flipping through its pages and re-reading the parts of it that spoke to my heart. Set during the Vietnam War, this poignant story is about family, forgiveness, and hope in the hard things. Annie’s family is well acquainted with hardship. Her father, beset by trauma from his own wartime experiences, leaves the family, leaving them to forge a new life and a new way of being a family. Despite it all, Mike, Annie, Joel, and their mother forge a new life and a new way of being a family, helped along the way by grandparents and a cantankerous diner owner, Bernie. These characters, this time period, are all so fully realized that reading this story took on a cinematic quality, playing out like the scenes of a movie in my head. I adored every detail; the seemingly mundane beauty of the everyday and the heightened tension perfectly reflect the ebb and flow of real life. Sometimes fiction mirrors reality in such a way that you can’t help but remember certain events in your own life. You can’t help but think that some things never really change, there always seems to be another war, and always seems to be another loved one going off to war, always someone worried and praying for them. Having my own brother that deployed when I was a teenager, then later a boyfriend (now husband) deployed in college, I found myself engrossed by Annie’s character and her life. The back copy of the book calls this a story about grappling “with the tension of holding both hope and grief in the same hand,” and that is honestly such a perfect description. And isn’t it so true of life? There is never a time that there is of perfect peace or complete happiness. Annie’s story transcends time and specific circumstance. Stories like this speak to the collective experience of what it means to be present in hope and pain – “Don’t duck and cover…there’s still so much good going on in the world around you.” All Manner of Things is a story that I won’t soon forget. It’s one for a spot on the keeper shelf, one that I will be visiting again. Highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This review is my honest opinion.
AngelN1 6 days ago
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” ― Julian of Norwich I loved this book. Although it is long, it never dragged. This is a story of family and relationships and how we deal with hard things. The main character, Annie, is a great lens for viewing the story of her family, which includes her estranged father, her strong mother, her vivacious older brother, both of her grandmothers, and her little brother. Set in Michigan during the Vietnam War, this story touches on the race riots in Michigan, the war itself, and complicated family relationships. There are many charming period details, which was nice for me, especially since this is not an era I am very familiar with. The author weaves letters in between the narration, and I liked the format very much. The characters were believable, varied, and well-drawn. I highly recommend this book. I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.
Christianfictionandmore 6 days ago
Susie Finkbeiner captured the essence of America during the Vietnam War era. Through the vessel of the Jacobson's family story she explores the impact of war on soldiers and those they leave behind, social unrest, racism, the effect of an uncertain future on the already turbulent times of adolescence and young adulthood, and the search for God within it all. The emotions in this book are real and raw. The characters will join those from other books of great depth who continue to reside with you in the recesses of your mind. Above all, the theme of hope will ring true. Susie Finkbeiner is a new-to-me author, but one I will continue to look for in the future. I am very grateful to have received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and received no monetary compensation.
3C 10 days ago
All Manner of Things is a multifaceted tale of war, societal changes, and family dynamics set during the tumultuous years of the 1960's, which became an era of protest. The author, while giving rich details of their lives and surroundings, touches on what might later be described as PTSD in developing the persona and relationships of Frank Jacobson, a Korean War veteran, with his wife Gloria and children Annie, Mike, and Joel. Finkbeiner does a good job in evoking the atmosphere and language and also describing what it was like to live in a time of rapid change, war, and loss of loved ones. The novel brings to life a sense of how communities came together as families were torn apart. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
AKMcGowan 12 days ago
Author Susie Finkbeiner takes her reader on a trip to the past landing us in the late 1960’s Vietnam era and gives us a personal glimpse into the world of a family that has been torn by one war, and about to be affected by another. This is a time of TV dinners and cozy late-night diners where all your neighbors know your life story before you do. Eighteen–year-old Annie lives in a small town in Michigan with her close-knit mother and two brothers. On the cusp of adulthood Annie’s life is thrown into turmoil as the outside world invades their peaceful hamlet with the draft, race relations, and the rallying cry of free-love and war protestors. The author’s transformative prose acts as a time-traveling link tethering us to Annie’s hopes, dreams, and fears leaving the reader holding their breath as she faces what’s to come. This is a deep, enriching, not-to-be-missed novel that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.
LVE 14 days ago
What I love about Susie Finkbeiner novels is that she never shies away from the difficulties of this life. All Manner of Things offers warmth and pain, heartbreak and hope. She brings the time period of the sixties and a Michigan small town to life. The lost art of letter writing also highlights a greater depth of what her characters are feeling through this tumultuous time. You’ll fall in love with the Jacobson family and especially Annie who holds them all together.
suesue62 14 days ago
All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner will fill your heart and touch your soul. As a child born in the 60’s; my memories of this era play in my mind through rose colored glasses. I have many happy memories and only a vague recollection of the war and the news of the war. Not many novels are set during this era making this an extra special book! Growing up in a small Michigan town near lake Michigan made it such fun reading about a fictional Michigan town near the lake. I was brought back to the 60’s through the mention of songs, TV shows, foods, saying and phrases that were popular, styles described in the book and more, how fun! But this book is so much more than “Fun”! This is an important story to read. It is also, at times, a difficult story to read. I kept thinking about all those who served in this war, all their families. I kept imagining that this fictional story was indeed a reality for so many! This is an important story to read. It is a story of great joy, great courage, great hope, great faith, and ultimately the happiness that comes from knowing and living in that Faith ❤
NanceeMarchinowski 14 days ago
This novel brought me back to my 18th year in 1967. Annie could have been the girl next door, someone I once knew. It was a fear filled time with our young men being drafted and enlisting in order to fight the war in Vietnam. Families were closely knit, but not without their problems and heartache. Annie's story takes place in West Michigan, a place I call home. Her Dutch heritage mimics my own, and the setting is familiar and filled with the conservatism of the Dutch that emigrated in great numbers to the area. Memories from the time period and the locale produced considerable nostalgia as I read the details of the Jacobson family and the obstacles they faced. A detailed and poignant depiction of the life and time brought me to tears on several occasions, but the love of family wrapped me in a warm blanket. This author has a gift for developing a setting and characters that reflect life in its fundamental form, without sugarcoating our basic humanity. Social issues are broached with candor and sensitivity. There is a depth of reality in her books that touches the heart, and the author's faith is woven throughout her characters' lives. I have read all of Finkbeiner's novels twice, and will reread All Manner of Things again as well. I highly recommend this heartrending tale of life as I remember it from my own experiences! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All expressed opinions are my own.
Anonymous 14 days ago
This is a fabulous story of loss and the redemption of pain. The understated fear had me holding my breath dreading what might be coming, but Finkbeiner did a masterful job os seeing the beauty behind everything. Annie, Mike, and the rest of the Jacobson family are deeply drawn, and the poetry of scenes echoed long after I closed the book. I heartily recommend Finkbeiner's book. I received a digital copy of this book from Net Galley as well as a print copy from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
annelr 14 days ago
All Manner of Things by Susie Finkbeiner is an amazing story--a story of Annie and her family, a family that has captivated this reader's heart and will not easily be forgotten. Having read several of this author's books I was eager to dig into this one and was not disappointed. At first, I wondered if she was writing my story...an older teen in 1967, small-town Michigan, Anne(ie)...then the author described Annie as one with a startinglingly beautiful soul and my bubble burst! Seriously though, this was a fascinating book in which the author tackles the gritty subjects of the Viet Nam war, shell shock/PTSD, abandonment, grief, and a touch on the issue of racism and does it well. The richness of the characters and their emotions is genuine and deeply moving, resonating within the reader. Bernie, Annie's boss, and third cousin, plays the part of a grumpy old man to a T and yet is compassionate and wise; Frank, Annie's daddy, quiet, sullen charming, complicated--a man who loves his family and finally realizes what he had missed over the years since he left; Jocelyn, her dearest friend--I loved how their houses were so close they could chat through the screens and each of the other characters (even the 'stinker' character, Aunt Rose, bring so much into the story. Readers will get caught up in the lives of these characters and their stories. The author has captured well the setting and era of All Manner of Things as she has expertly written the distinctive dialogue and descriptive scenes of the book. I enjoyed her use of letters scattered throughout the book to share the hearts of the writers with those they love. The author has so many pithy sayings...'Don't duck and cover. Keep your eyes open'; 'You can't live your life afraid of what might happen'; because we are made for eternity, even in death we still are...were some that I really liked. Poignant and intense, this character-driven story takes the reader into the heart and soul of a family and the small town community they were enveloped in, as they deal with the horrors, the searing pain, the sorrows, and the unknowns of a war that seemed to make no sense to many. Don't miss the chance to fall in love with the Jacobson family, a family who just wanted to be normal, a family with a history of running away and yet a family tied together by strong, unbreakable bonds. I received a complimentary copy of the book and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
NerdFactory 14 days ago
This book is for any person who grew up in an imperfect family. Yes. You :) The Jacobson family is fractured and in many ways dysfunctional. They do their best and hold each other up while dealing with their own stuff. I love the spunk of Annie, the grit of Gloria and the constant reassurance of Oma. These Dutch women were strong enough to know they couldn’t do it themselves and leaned on each other. I think that’s what most fascinates me. Having strength isn’t the point. Knowing how to lean on each other is. Hurt is guaranteed. People will disappoint you, maybe even leave. Finding in the midst of it all that your hope isn’t bound up in a human being walking around somewhere but rather it’s solidly found and anchored in the One who makes all manner of things well: that’s strength. Susie captures the beauty in the middle of a tumultuous time in our nation's history and I'm thankful. Do yourself a favor and read this book!
vics49548 14 days ago
Set in the turbulence of the 60s with the war in Vietnam and racial divide at home, author Susie Finkbeiner captured me from page one. Finkbeiner has a unique way of taking a time in history and putting the reader in the middle of it. With the inclusion of letters written between the characters, it was an unusual but enjoyable way of tracing thoughts and feelings. Of having difficult conversations when a distance a part. Raw and honest, I was literally reading as fast as I could. I didn’t want it to end yet I so badly needed to know the ending. And yes, I sobbed like a baby the last few chapters. And that’s okay because if we don’t emotionally connect with a book like this then we’ve wasted our time. All Manner of Things is an emotional roller coaster with characters who are desperately depending on God but learn that His ways are not always our ways. As Mike reminds us, “Don’t duck and cover.” If you enjoy historical fiction then you must get a copy of this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
SusanKC 14 days ago
Oh, my...my heart is full. Susie Finkbeiner has penned a beautiful story of family and the love we share in the many relationships we hold in life. That of a child, sibling, spouse or friend. This is a story of how we care for each other through the hardships life brings and how we should treasure the sweet everyday moments as memories are being created to last a lifetime. It is also a story of relying on our faith in God, that He knows of our suffering and promises that all will be well. This emotionally charged tale belongs on the keeper shelf, to be revisited again and again. A few of my favorite quotes: "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." "Just remember, there's a light in the darkness. The darkness cannot understand it. But that light isn't for the darkness, It's for you. It's so you can find your way home." "I believed that, as Oma said, we were meant for eternity. That life on this side was a prelude to the real life ahead of us. At least that is what I hoped for." I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Abby1219 15 days ago
Love love and love this story!! Life doesn't always seem fair, whether it's strained family relationships, heartache, war, etc. But no matter what happens there is always hope that things will get better eventually. And that the greatest blessings can come after the worst heartache imaginable. It also is a reminder that every moment is precious and to never take anything for granted. We're only given one life and it isn't meant to be lived in fear of the unknown. We're never promised an easy life, but we are promised that we're never alone and that God Himself will carry us through anything that comes our way.
RachsRamblings 15 days ago
A well written story with incredibly well developed characters. The timeline being that of Vietnam made it fascinating as that’s not a common backdrop for a fiction novel. For me, this story was definitely driven by its characters...by the end of the novel, you feel a part of the family...the depth of the characters so real, genuine, and engaging. First of all, I know people who read my reviews will want to know that words such as “Golly,” “Gosh,” and similar words are used frequently throughout the story. I’m guessing these words were common during this time, but they aren’t words I use. I know some readers of my reviews don’t use them either so I wanted to make sure I mentioned that. No, there are no swear words or bad scenes...other than what is mentioned. It’s a completely clean novel with a minor faith thread that starts about half way through the story. It’s a natural progression of the story and done quite well. The first words that comes to mind in regards to this story is it’s Americana. It’s the story of an American family and community. Their tragedies and triumphs, the difficulties of coming of age, the burdensome problems of aging, the troubling ebb and flow of relationships...a well written drama full of life..real life. It reminds me much of Chris Fabry’s stories. Taking a piece of time, placing in it characters to love, and giving a tale of how lives are intertwined and how the dynamics of family play out. It’s a bittersweet story that could be similar to your neighbors. Nothing flashy, nothing suspenseful..life in all its beauty and heartbreak. It’s a winsome story that will touch your heart because of its veracity and endearing characters. I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
MaureenST 15 days ago
A read that feels like I sitting a talking with friends, a page-turner for sure, and a hard time for this family, friends and country. I loved the touch on the Dutch heritage, my husband’s family came to this country with a land grant from the King of Holland, but sadly the heritage has long been lost. I grew up during this time, and the book slams me with reminders, and what was happening during this time, and the losses. This is a book to savor, while I could have finished it quickly, I refused to do so and read it more slowly than usual. Yes, I loved this one! A reminder of a past time, with the horror of war, but with the touch of everyday life, and family. I received this book through LibraryThing, and was not required to give a positive review.
JudyinHuntsvilleAL 19 days ago
I love a good fiction book that has life lessons included! Pre-order your copy today! Susie Finkbeiner did a wonderful job transporting us back to a time of carefree days mixed with the tragedy of the Vietnam war that took family members away from us [thankfully mine returned home -] We get to know Annie and her family in a personal way - and I love this quote about her her and her best friend, "The best part of having a kindred was knowing that it little mattered how silly I was. I would be loved regardless - liked even - for being just the way I was." May we all have enduring friendships like this!
BrendaLee 22 days ago
I’m not good at this and I am always worried that I won’t do a wonderful book justice but here goes from my heart. I love that moment when I read the title in the book! All Manner Of Things shall be well. This story touched my heart. My uncle fought and was wounded in the Vietnam War. I would write him letters as a young girl in the fourth and fifth grade so this story brought it home for me. The courage that each of these family members had will build your courage. Take one day at a time and have hope that all will be well. I love the way Mrs Susie Finkbeiner writes because I get drawn into the story right from the start. Not a lot of romance if your looking for that but oh so much deeper than that. The author brought in race for a couple and the trouble it causes among some people. Then a deep love and hope for two people that thought they didn’t have any love left. I loved the way Mike and Annie wrote to each other and the way they showed their love through letters. Faith, courage and perseverance brought the family through tragedy and everyday trials. A quote I loved “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” I truly felt this story and it will definitely be one of my favorites for this year. I received this book from the publisher/author and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions stated are my own.
swissgranny 26 days ago
Susie Finkbeiner’s book, All Manner of Things, took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. It pulled me right back into my growing up years. I was roughly the same age as the heroine Annie Jacobson during the 1960s and remember well the less complicated times, as well as the angst of the Vietnam War. I knew men (boys, really) who were being drafted and others who were enlisting because their draft numbers were at the top of the list. I knew men who died while serving their countries—ones who I had been going to high school and college with not that long before. Finkbeiner is a master at taking a slice of history and making it come alive on the page. Her knowledge of the subject matter is evident on every page, and her writing is emotional and honest. The characters are multi-layered and realistic, and I could easily relate to them. Powerful themes of the importance of family, pushing through our fears, and keeping on when the way is hard, add an inspirational dimension to the story. I thought the addition of letters written to and from different characters in the story was a stroke of genius. They gave an extra insight into the thoughts of the different people. This novel occupies a special place in my heart and will definitely be in my top reads of the year. It’s one for the keeper shelf! Warning: you might want to keep a box of tissue handy while reading this book! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.