Your Preview Verdict: All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May

Your Preview Verdict: All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May

Healing others is their calling, but what happens if they can’t fix themselves? A richly nuanced and empathetic examination of life, loss and courage from a talented new Australian author.

Health and wellbeing brought Olive, Elsie and Bree together. After five years, their bustling wellness centre is demanding expansion. A beautiful federation house nestled among the picturesque backdrop of their small town is the perfect place to grow their business. But they don’t count on their personal lives getting in the way.

Practical and pragmatic, Olive keeps her past hidden from her friends. But when an old high-school flame shows up, the secrets she’s worked so hard to bury threaten to tear her carefully constructed world apart.

Bree is the fun-loving one, although family tensions lurk behind her free-spirited facade. The reappearance of her troubled sister Winnie brings Bree’s priorities into sharp focus. Will she have to shelve her own happiness to save her sister?

Kind and maternal to all those around her, Elsie’s role as the practice’s counsellor comes naturally. But when tragedy strikes, her world tumbles down like a house of cards.

With everything they’ve built in disarray, their friendship is on the line…

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

This is a beautiful book about friendship and family with characters you will love. The story will make you laugh and cry, perfect to escape into. A great read by a wonderful Australian author. Vanessa, NSW, 5 Stars

All We Have Is Now is a story that few readers would not be able to relate to. The life issues faced by the three friends are ones that have been experienced by so many. I found myself smiling frequently during the highs but also crying during the lows. Life really can be a mixed bag and all you can do is try and make the best of it. Abby, WA, 5 Stars

I really loved and felt invested in the three main characters. Their very different stories were easily relatable and the way they each have hidden secrets to begin with, all around varying degrees of grief, was so beautifully written and shared. Kim, NSW, 5 Stars

I loved Ms May’s debut novel The One, which I read last year. I was looking forward to reading her second novel, All We Have Is Now, when I saw it presented in Better Reading’s preview titles. Imagine my delight when I was randomly selected for a free copy of All We Have Is Now. This novel didn’t disappoint! I loved it. Ms May’s themes of friendship, that can weather grief, loss and secrets really struck a chord with me. This novel is really well written and researched, which made it flow beautifully. The characters were realistic and believable. All We Have Is Now kept me wondering how the characters would work through the challenges that life presented. Ms May’s observation of such profound subjects enhanced her story telling. Michelle, QLD, 5 Stars

Such a great read. All the characters were well developed and it kept me guessing until the last page. Mikaela, VIC, 5 Stars

All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May is a heartfelt story that navigates the varying relationship between three friends: Olive, Elsie and Bree. The friends begin a new business, Healing Hands, welcoming their community and offering a place of warmth, understanding and compassion. Little do they realise how they themselves are also in need of comfort and healing. Olive provides food for the soul with her delectable cooking and nutrition lessons, Elsie is the empathetic counsellor who spends countless hours helping other people navigate their problems, and Bree runs Pilates classes offering exercise and strength training for nourishing the body. May creates characters who bounce off the page and into your heart; it is as though the reader understands and knows all three women within the opening chapters. All We Have Is Now is bursting with heart, showing how loss and grief can be navigated through the strength and love derived from those who know us best: our friends. May sprinkles her pages with moments of laughter and also intense sadness – you may need some tissues on hand but you will love this thoroughly engaging read. Genene, SA, 5 Stars

I couldn’t put this book down! From the first chapter, I felt emotionally invested in Olive, Bree and Elsie’s journey and with each chapter that connection deepened. The depth and breadth of the characters and themes is something rarely found in a romance novel and, in my opinion, is what makes All We Have Is Now so captivating. The structure of the chapters, focussing on one lead character at a time, had me compulsively reading the next and the next to find out what was happening to each character. Of course, this only snowballed as each chapter revealed more captivating plot developments. Originally, I was most drawn to Olive but I quickly connected to all three women’s narratives. This story beautifully balances multiple well-developed storylines and characters, personal, romantic and business relationships and relatable themes. This book does not shy away from dealing with some intense issues and does so with the utmost respect. The emotions and reactions of the characters are conveyed very realistically, without unnecessary dramatics. This is one of those books that is disappointing to see come to an end because of the connection formed with the characters, which is a testament to the quality of writing. Julie, VIC, 5 Stars

This book is a wonderful story about friendships (new and old), family dynamics, grief and how love is at the centre of everything. A great read – hard to put this book down! So enthralled by All We Have Is Now, I am keen to read Kaneana May’s debut novel. Amanda, QLD, 5 Stars

This book made me cry a lot, and I loved every minute of it. Loss, love, complex family relationships, addiction, pregnancy, illness, pain, hope, healing – the book casts a wide emotional net, expected of the genre, of course. I felt the book stayed on the right side of melodramatic, with some very complex emotional and relationship issues handled with sophistication. A delightful, heart-wrenching read – don’t forget the tissues. Anne-Marie, QLD, 5 Stars

Kaneana May’s All We Have Is Now, is a lovely, comfortable read. It’s the perfect break from thrillers and crime fiction. I was interested to read this book, having heard her that first book was good, even though I have yet to read it. I’m loving the rise and rise of novels set in Australia and this one does not disappoint. It is set on the mid coast of NSW. The story centres around the wellness centre owned and run by three close friends Elsie, Olive and Bree. Unfortunately for the friends and the business, personal problems arise and threaten to get in the way, putting their happiness and the happiness of their friends at risk. The story stirred up memories for me. I could feel their grief but it was therapeutic and along with the characters in the story, I could smile eventually. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this book, which is released in April. Liesl, NSW, 5 Stars

What is the difference between love, lust, friendship, hope and grieving? All We Have Is Now explores how women process these concepts and men react to them. The characters, whilst so different, join together to form a daisy chain moving along a pathway. A daisy chain that an unlikely Allie gives as a form of respect. I’m full of admiration for the authors’ ability to link the characters while allowing me to be part of a delicate daisy chain. Tracey, NSW, 5 Stars

When I heard that Kaneana May had a new book coming out I was desperate to get my hands on it. I absolutely loved The One and knew I needed more from this wonderful writer. So a very big thank you to Harlequin Australia and Better Reading for my advanced copy to read. All We Have Is Now is a beautifully written story of friendship, family, love, hope and grief, amongst other things. Set in Australia with characters that you will warm to, this story will have you laughing and also reaching for those tissues. My heart broke for these characters and I wanted to reach out and hug them all. Their lives were all so different and troubled, but somehow they found each other. The events of this story will test that friendship and change them all forever. Olive is the practical one who keeps them all in line. But she has a big secret from her past, which hurts her so much that she cannot bear to speak of it, even to her best friends. So when an old school friend turns up at their newly located and decorated wellness clinic, she is scared that her past is going to be revealed, and that her true feelings will come out. Bree is the fun one of the group. She is single, at times reckless and has a string of men in her wake. But there is also darkness in her family and when her estranged and troubled sister returns, Bree is suddenly the carer and the sensible one. She must protect her sister, but at what cost to her life. And then there is Olive. She is the counsellor at Healing Hands, the wellness business that the 3 have built up over the last 5 years. She looks after everyone and wants nothing more than her own family. Her life is turned upside down when tragedy strikes her and her husband. She feels like she will never recover from the pain and loss and pushes everybody away. You will love getting to know these women and their stories will touch you. Mandy, NSW, 5 Stars

A thoroughly enjoyable read. Olive, Elsie and Bree were all great characters and relatable. The book was beautifully written and easy to get stuck into. Susan, NSW, 5 Stars

Rarely have I read a book that frequently made me tear up, while delivering a message of hope and a celebration of the strength of human bonds, focused by the lens of grief, pain and emotional scars. A beautiful book that I highly recommend to any fans of Jodi Picoult or Jojo Moyes. Alanna, QLD, 5 Stars

A beautiful story about love and friendship. The author covers many relevant topics of loss and sorrow that touch most family’s lives. How we cope in different ways and how the love of family and friends get us through. I couldn’t put the book down, it’s very well written, showing heartwarming courage in the face of loss and adversity. The main characters were all strong in their own ways, but vulnerable as well. Relatable story line, highly recommend. Judy, WA, 5 Stars

Wow, this novel was great. The three main characters, Olive, Bree and Elsie, are all so relatable. They each had a story of tragedy and real life experiences that most of us have experienced. Although their experiences are all different, at the end of the day they all are grieving some form of loss. They become friends from a shared interest in Health and Wellbeing and then business partners. They support and care for each other as real friends do. Olive has secrets from her past she hasn’t shared with her friends. An old friend comes into Olive’s life that brings all her buried past back and she struggles to hide it from her new friends. Bree has family issues and the reappearance of her troubled sister causes her to rethink her life. Bree has to reconsider her life and her search for happiness. Elsie is married to a younger man with a son. She is the counsellor at the wellbeing centre. She is very happy with her life but when tragedy hits her whole world is turned upside down. Their friendships and business are tested. I absolutely loved this book and found the author Kaneana May wrote beautifully. We all have problems and issues or a past that we don’t share and try to deal with ourselves. Just because we walk out our front door with a big smile on our face does not mean our life is perfect. Thank you to Better Reading for sending me a copy to read and review. Renae, QLD, 5 Stars

I was hooked on All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May in the first few pages. The author’s description of the setting and the characters filled me with warmth and a yearning to find out more about the characters.Readers who enjoy the romance of country towns, natural therapies, relationships and good old fashioned hospitality will love this book. The issues raised in this book are ones that many readers could relate to or know of someone who is dealing with them. A thoroughly enjoyable read and an author to watch, I thoroughly recommend. Claire, VIC, 5 Stars

I absolutely loved reading All We Have Is Now. Kaneana May’s writing style was easy to read and I love the way that she gradually revealed elements of the characters and storyline by writing from multiple points of view. As a 30-something health professional, I felt these characters were highly relatable and, in fact, could have been my colleagues and friends. I would definitely recommend this book! Neralie, SA, 5 Stars

The book All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May had me intrigued and fascinated from the very beginning. It held my attention throughout with the wonderful characters and in-depth story lines which were so heartfelt and emotional. From friendships and family to loss, love and relationships it was such a brilliant read. I liked that so many different things were entwined in one page-turning treasure. It focuses on motherhood, finding strength and second chances. Through the devastation brought to light comes the comfort that we can find in those around us. I really appreciate the descriptive literary creativity that makes you feel as if you are right there in the moment and can picture everything as it happens. From this book I found hope, inspiration and with it my smile grew. Kylie, QLD, 5 Stars

Thank you to Better Reading for allowing me to preview this book. This was such a beautiful novel that touches on very raw and real themes including family, friendship, love and loss. Kaneana May is such a beautiful writer, this novel was very easy to read, truly captivating and the characters and story really draw you in. The main characters of Olive, Bree and Elsie, whilst going through their own issues and personal pain, were also very kind with a loving heart and easily likeable, as were several other characters that pop up in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end and would strongly recommend it, a big thumbs up. Danielle, VIC, 5 Stars

Wow, this book had me hooked from the start. It was an easy, page-turning read and really appealed to me. It got pretty emotional in the middle and I found myself in tears over one of the characters and her loss! A great storyline of three characters’ lives which are interwoven with loss and love and a suitably happy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Love! Melanie, VIC, 5 Stars

All We Have Is Now is an enjoyable read, entertaining without being either too heavy or too light. It tells the story of several months in the lives of three good friends who have set up a business together. Each of them is facing a turning point in their lives and we discover hidden parts of their pasts which are relevant to their current circumstances. The reader will no doubt identify with some of the difficult times that the main characters experience and possibly even gain a greater understanding of themselves by seeing the way in which each reacts to what is affecting their friends as well as themselves. They manage to gain a greater understanding of the way in which their life so far has led to where they are now. It tackles their stories with realism and sympathy, giving the reader a satisfactory conclusion which feels just right! Marnie, NSW, 5 Stars

A lovely and touching story highlighting the importance of friendship, especially female friendships, and how your friends help you get through the good and tough times in life. I really enjoyed the book, it made me cry but also made my heart soar and reminded me of how much I love my friends! Rachel, QLD, 5 Stars

It’s been a while since a book has moved me to tears. This one did due to its sensitivity in dealing with various forms of loss, family relationships and friendship. It was very accessible through the story of three friends who depend on each other. Very relatable and sensitively written to reinforce the strength of women. Lina, VIC, 5 Stars

All We Have Is Now is a wonderful read. I got caught up in the lives of the characters, wanting to know their pasts and how it was influencing their present, whilst also hoping it would all work out in the future. Kaneana May has a pleasant writing style and I look forward to reading more. Danielle, VIC, 5 Stars

All We Have is Now engaged me from the very first chapter. The characters are relatable, the story is intriguing and the end of each chapter often has a single line further detailing hidden secrets of the characters. The writing is well paced and I found myself saying ‘I’ll just read one more chapter’. A truly enjoyable, easy and engaging read. Helen, QLD, 4 Stars

All We Have is Now is a story of friendship, trust, family, hope and grief. It is set on the Aussie NSW East Coast, which added to its appeal for me. The story centres around three best friends who go into business together. Although each friend is different they have been close for several years. When I began reading this book it was a delight to immerse myself in everyday characters in familiar territory, both geographically and career wise. The writing is lovely and the characters very likeable although towards the end of the book my motherly instincts took over and I wanted to shake them! However, like all good happy endings they righted themselves.. finally..and I could close the book feeling they were safe on the path to happiness and success. Highly recommended. Mara, NSW, 4 Stars

All We Have Is Now is an emotional story of friendship and love and how we all cope with loss and grief in different ways. Elsie, Bree and Olive are moving their wellness centre into new premises to expand their thriving business, but they are soon to face personal challenges that will test their friendship and threaten what they have created. I cried copious amounts of tears as I experienced the pain and grief of the three main characters. They were so relatable and their challenges are ones that many of us have, and will, face during our lifetimes, including lost love, death of family members and ageing parents. Olive was my favourite character though, as I could understand and empathise with her need to keep things bottled up and private in order to cope and move on with her life. I was very invested in her story and wanting things to turn out well for her. I highly recommend this stunning novel, especially to those who love their romance to include relatable characters and familiar places. A fantastic second novel from Kanaena May. Brooke, VIC, 4 Stars

Thanks to Better Reading for my advance copy of All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May. I was totally engrossed with the lives of Olive, Bree and Elsie. After meeting at a retreat they decided to open the Healing Hands business in Wingham, mid-North Coast of NSW. Five years later they need more room so move to a federation home in town. To cover expenses they decide to rent out their fourth room. Enter the gorgeous Tom who went to school with Olive. Things change dramatically. With Olive hiding her past from her friends, Tom brings back memories. She is also faced with her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Bree has to cope with her sisters’ unhappiness while trying to live her fun and carefree life. Elsie is at her happiest due to her pregnancy. As their lives seem to fracture, May managed to evoke many different emotions from the reader. From sympathy, empathy, frustration to acceptance I was entirely drawn into the web woven by May. The book was hard to put down. I recommend this to those who want a romance with a great plot and lots of emotion. Annette, ACT, 4 Stars

All We Have Is Now is a beautifully written novel of friendship, love and finding the strength to survive grief and loss. The three main characters, Bree, Elsie and Olive are very different women in personality and life experiences but have used this to build a thriving wellness centre. Now on the cusp of a new chapter with the grand opening of their new business location, all three are faced with challenges that threaten the lives and relationships they’ve built and the ruin of all their dreams. Well-developed characters ensure readers engage with the storylines and the gradual unravelling of Olive’s past in particular keeps attention until the end. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful novel. Thank you, Better Reading, for this ARC and Kaneana May for a wonderful read. Juanita, NSW, 4 Stars

Thank you to Better Reading and Harper Collins for an uncorrected proof of this book by Kaneana May. I loved the introduction of the characters and could really relate to Olive, Bree and Elsie. They all have some issues in their lives that they don’t initially share with each other. Grief comes in many forms and they each find themselves struggling to deal with past and present situations. Like all great friends, the caring and support offered to each other is priceless when dealing with life’s trials. The book is beautifully written and brings all of these characters to life. The setting is picturesque in a lovely old federation home in small town Australia. I devoured it in 3 days. Karan, VIC, 4 Stars

Having just finished an intense supernatural horror novel, All We Have Is Now was a refreshing change. Lighthearted, but touching on topics such as addiction and grief, it is an exploration of the secrets we keep from each other (and ourselves). For fans of Liane Moriarty and Robyn Harding (although perhaps less thrill-seeking!). Anusha, VIC, 3 Stars

I enjoyed reading this book, but the story of the three women was very predictable on how the story was going to end. It was easy reading but sometimes the characters of these three women annoyed me. But the friendship between them is real. Karen, QLD, 3 Stars

Reviews

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry: Read an Extract from All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May

Review | Extract

21 April 2021

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry: Read an Extract from All We Have Is Now by Kaneana May

    Wise, Witty and Richly Nuanced: Read our Review of Kaneana May’s All We Have is Now

    Review | Our Review

    19 April 2021

    Wise, Witty and Richly Nuanced: Read our Review of Kaneana May’s All We Have is Now

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                Publisher details

                All We Have Is Now
                Author
                Kaneana May
                Publisher
                HQ Fiction
                Genre
                Fiction
                Released
                07 April, 2021
                ISBN
                9781867208365

                Synopsis

                Healing others is their calling, but what happens if they can't fix themselves? A richly nuanced and empathetic examination of life, loss and courage from a talented new Australian author. Health and wellbeing brought Olive, Elsie and Bree together. After five years, their bustling wellness centre is demanding expansion. A beautiful federation house nestled among the picturesque backdrop of their small town is the perfect place to grow their business. But they don't count on their personal lives getting in the way. Practical and pragmatic, Olive keeps her past hidden from her friends. But when an old high-school flame shows up, the secrets she's worked so hard to bury threaten to tear her carefully constructed world apart. Bree is the fun-loving one, although family tensions lurk behind her free-spirited facade. The reappearance of her troubled sister Winnie brings Bree's priorities into sharp focus. Will she have to shelve her own happiness to save her sister? Kind and maternal to all those around her, Elsie's role as the practice's counsellor comes naturally. But when tragedy strikes, her world tumbles down like a house of cards. With everything they've built in disarray, their friendship is on the line...
                Kaneana May
                About the author

                Kaneana May

                Kaneana May studied television production at university, graduating with first-class honours in screenwriting. She went on to work in television, including roles as a script assistant on All Saints, a storyliner on Headland and a scriptwriter on Home and Away. Since becoming a mother, Kaneana has turned her attention to fiction writing. Kaneana loves to read—mostly YA, romance and women's fiction—and also loves watching TV and films. Writing, boot camp, coffee, chocolate and champagne are just some of her favourite things. Kaneana lives on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales with her husband and three children.
                 

                Books by Kaneana May

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