Review by Nancy Julien Kopp
“All the Ways We Said Goodbye,” by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White.
One Book, Three Authors
I recently finished reading a very interesting book. “All the Ways We Said Good-bye” used the Ritz Hotel in Paris as the focal point in telling the story of three women of different periods of time. Aurelie de Courcelles’ story centers on WWI. That of her daughter, Daisy, takes place during the Nazi occupation of WWII. Babs Langford’s part in the book happens in 1964. The three women are all related in some way, two by family and one by default.
The story is rich in characters and background of both world wars. The Ritz Hotel is home to Aurelie’s mother, Daisy’s grandmother, and is always a place of refuge for the women. Babs Langford, who lives in England and was widowed a year earlier receives a letter from an American asking her to help him find out what happened to the de Courcelles family talisman, why it ended up in the hands of the Germans and why his own father was left with a dark cloud over his head because of it. The American lawyer, Drew Bowdoin, is on a quest and he seeks Babs’ help. She agrees to meet him at the Ritz in Paris to satisfy her own longing to find the woman, known as La Fleur, who stole her husband’s heart. Babs doesn’t tell Drew her real motive for helping him.
The chase begins and we are treated to bits and pieces of each woman’s story in the proceeding chapters until the puzzle comes together at last. All this with the palatial Ritz Hotel as its own character.
I enjoyed the story, but I was also fascinated by how the book was written. There are three authors–Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White. Each wrote the chapters detailing one of the three women protagonists. They did it seamlessly. The stories intertwined magically and beautifully. Had I not seen the three names as authors, I would never have thought that more than one person had written this entertaining book.
What would it take for two or three authors to write a book together? It’s been done before, of course, but I think there must be a real chemistry between the people to start with. Each one of the three authors has written several books on her own. I’ve written before about the mother-son writing team known as Charles Todd.
Perhaps these writing teams look at producing a book together as an interesting challenge. And fun. And profitable. Each one might gain more readers for her individual books. If I’d read one of the authors previously, this might make me check out the individual books of the other two.
If you’re looking for an interesting read, give this one a try, not only for the story but for the way in which it was written.
Nancy Julien Kopp lives and writes in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She has been published in various anthologies, including 23 times in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, websites, newspapers, and magazines. She writes creative nonfiction, poetry, fiction for middle grade kids, and short memoir. She shares writing knowledge through her blog which gives tips and encouragement to writers. Writer Granny’s World by Nancy Julien Kopp.