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All I Love and Know    by Judith Frank order for
All I Love and Know
by Judith Frank
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Four years ago Matt fell so deeply in love with Daniel that he moved away from New York City to live in a suburban area of Massachusetts. They've settled into happy domesticity, but their lives are thrown into turmoil when Daniel's twin brother and his wife are killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem, leaving behind a six-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. Daniel has been named in the will as the parents' preferred guardian, and Matt is at first horrified by the prospect of their lives being changed by the addition of children. He has a good relationship with the little girl, who seems to like him even more than she likes her Uncle Daniel, but the baby's needs overwhelm him. Matt struggles to help Daniel and the children with their grief as they all suffer their loss in different ways.

There are complications that neither of the men expected. Even though Daniel has been named in his brother and sister-in-law's will, the courts must decide what would be in the children's best interest, and his sister-in-law's parents contest the will, believing that they should have custody. They are both Holocaust survivors, and now that their only child is dead they are afraid that they will lose their grandchildren when they're taken away from Jerusalem to the United States. All I Love and Know tells the story of this family with sympathy and understanding. Although Matt and Daniel are the main characters, we learn about everyone's suffering and wonder how they will ever survive the shocks of the deaths.

The relationship between Daniel and Matt is central to this moving story, which is told with a deep sensitivity. I am not gay, but I never doubted the love between these two young men, or the love and concern that everyone feels for the bereaved children. The tragedy of losing a brother would be bad enough, and can be worse for a twin, yet the children have to take precedence, being deprived of their parents in such a sudden, horrible way at such young ages. Both Daniel and Matt stumble in their attempts to deal with their pain, but I did get annoyed with both of them at times. Matt was trying so hard to be everything to everyone that he forgot to take care of his own grief, while Daniel flailed around, refusing to believe that therapy would be helpful for him, even though he enlisted the aid of a children's therapist for the little ones. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful book that I enjoyed reading.

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