Through It All by Madai Romero
Madai Romero’s Through It All is a work of historical fiction set in the town of Lakewood in the nineteenth century. Quiet, beautiful Sophia Willis regularly sneaks out of her parents’ home at night to meet with Daniel Smith, the mayor’s son. However, Sophia’s father is preparing to select a suitor for her, and if Daniel does not act soon, she will be given to someone else. After informing Daniel of her impending betrothal, he reveals that he cannot offer himself as a suitor because he is already married. Outraged, Sophia returns home and learns that her father has selected Adam Lancaster, a worldly, educated young man with a thirst for knowledge, as her future husband. Although a handsome and popular young man like Adam may seem like an ideal husband, he is a close friend of Daniel’s, has a past with Sophia’s wild and promiscuous sister, and dreams of traveling before settling down. Will the two go through with their engagement? Will can Sophia forget her love for a married man and become a devoted wife?
Although the novel is set in the nineteenth century, it does not appear that the author thoroughly researched the time period. The only things that suggest this is a work of historical fiction are references to long skirts, letter writing, and maids–definitely nothing specific enough to pin down the setting or to immerse the reader in the period. Besides these vague references, the awkward, stilted language also indicates that this is intended to be a period work, however, the author frequently slips into the use of contemporary words and phrases. This anachronistic language is not the author’s only struggle, she also changes tenses erratically, sometimes even within sentences. However, despite these shortcomings, the main characters are complex and believable, giving them compelling interiority. They also have realistic relationships with one another and good character development that drives the dramatic plot. The novel could have used additional editing and research in order to be a satisfying historical drama, but it still makes for an enjoyable read for those willing to overlook these issues.