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Reviewed by Melissa Tanaka for Readers' Favorite
All Because of You: Eleven Tales of Refuge and Hope is a collection of stories by Isobel Blackthorn. Powerful and poignant, Blackthorn presents several tableaux of life, reminding us that many of us are fighting various battles of our own with varying degrees of intensity and resolution. While some of the stories make it clear what the characters are seeking refuge from, others are more indistinct which creates a sense of discord that parallels the chaos of escape that so many of the characters follow. In addition, many of the stories are written in the first person which makes it easier to connect with the narrator and understand their point of view. Throughout the collection, Blackthorn utilizes rich descriptions and language to portray vivid images of the women and their lives, both the ones they are living now and the ones that they had escaped.
One of my absolute favorites in the collection was The Moon Circle, a powerful and all too real story that leaves you reeling from beginning to end. It was incredibly powerful and evoked a strong visceral reaction from me. The story focuses on a woman named Tammy and an unnamed narrator, both of whom are in a shelter, seeking refuge from men who are physically and emotionally abusive, respectively. Throughout The Moon Circle you can feel the vulnerability and fear that the women have in their hearts, but you can also feel their strength and the hope that they hold onto. Overall, All Because of You: Eleven Tales of Refuge and Hope is a powerful collection of stories that hits you hard, leaving you contemplating the good and bad of life and looking forward to the future.