Anne Griffen‘s debut novel, When All Is Said, is a stunner! Gorgeously written, it is the story of Maurice Hannigan, an eighty-four year old man who has seen his share of love and loss. He is making a monumental change in his life and he decides to memorialize the moment by toasting the five most influential people who have touched him through the years.
It’s 6:25pm on Saturday September 7, 2014 and Maurice is sitting alone at the bar of the Rainsford House Hotel deeply engaged in an internal monologue with his devoted son Kevin, who lives in the U.S. Over the course of the next few hours, Maurice raises a glass to his brother Tony whom he idolized, his infant daughter whose tragic death forever knocked the wind from his sails, his troubled sister-in-law, his son and finally,
his beloved wife Sara whose death 2 years prior has left him raw and laid bare.
Maurice’s story really begins when at the age of 10, after determining that school is not the best use of his time, Maurice’s father sends him to work at the neighbouring Dollard Estate as a farm hand. Owner Hugh Dollard is a drunk and a bully and he and his son Thomas inflict many rounds of abuse upon young Maurice. In a moment that will create a thread through the story of all of their lives, Maurice picks up a coin from the grounds and in an act of reprisal, makes the decision to not return it. The coin, as it turns out, is an extremely rare and valuable Edward the VIII gold sovereign.
After six years of hard labour at the Dollard Estate, Maurice leaves and vows to never set foot in the place again. He works on his family’s farm until he assumes the mantle of ownership after the deaths of his revered brother Tony and his Father.
Over the years, Maurice’s business and farming acumen puts him in a position to amass a tremendous amount of acreage in the village which results in him becoming quite wealthy in his own right. But as the story of his life unfolds over those 5 hours, we find that the normally soft-hearted Maurice harbours a mean streak that reveals a pettiness and threatens the most important relationships in his life.
Griffen brings the characters to life in a heart-warming and generous fashion and I felt so connected and emotionally engaged in their lives. This is a marvelous book!!!
— Nancy C.