Cover Image: When All is Said

When All is Said

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Member Reviews

This is a story about Maurice Hannibal, who over the course of a Saturday night orders five different drinks at The Rainford House Hotel.  With each drink he toasts a person vital to him, his older brother, his sister-in-law, his daughter of fifteen minutes, his son who lives in America and his late wife Sadie. Through these people, the ones who left him behind he tells us the story of his own life, his regrets, loves and triumphs. 

I picked up this book about a week ago and couldn’t get into it.  I saw it again this morning and decided to give it another go.  I’m so glad I did because I couldn’t stop reading it!
I liked the way it was written, Maurice’s life story told through toasting people who have left him.  I loved Maurice and was moved by his story.  I felt like I was sitting in that hotel bar with him and feel sad now Maurice’s story has been told. 

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Some characters’ lives live on in your heart and mind. It’s what all writers hope for as they carefully craft their words. This beautiful memoir style novel has a truly memorable character in the shape of 84 year old Maurice Hannigan, an Irish farmer-cum-businessman, who has lived and loved with endurance and grit.

As he sits in the bar of a grand hotel, nursing his various drinks and making a series of toasts to the five most important people in his life, Maurice’s reflections begin with boyhood battles and extend to the dilemmas of the present day. Ostensibly sharing previously unrevealed information and private thoughts with his son, he mulls on things he wishes he had said or done differently. Because life dealt him a hard hand and he didn’t always make wise choices. 

There is joy to toast, mingled with regrets, personal tragedy and dashed hopes. Maurice’s  account brims with a tenderness previously unexpressed, as well as bitterness at the way he has been perceived and treated by others. His revelations make him emerge as a lovable, fully believable, easy to relate to character as he mourns some of the choices he has made.

A dark undercurrent accompanies the conversations we are privy to as Maurice pours out his heart - in his head, if not on paper. As his story unfolds, we sense something fresh and painful about to happen that is hinted at more than expounded on. This is a beautifully written, engrossing, heartwarming tearjerker of a novel that lingers with the reader once the ending has been reached. Grateful thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the ARC.
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What a totally awesome read.  Maurice takes you on the journey of his life in only a broad character such as his could.  His Irish lilt was a thing to behold and only added to the story.  His story about the special people in his life and what impact they had on his life was very richly told.  I could not put this book down and did not want it to end.  I found myself getting upset because I was so grossly involved in his story.  A definite masterpiece that will stay with me for a long time.
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This was a very emotive story and really touched my core. The ups and downs of life, good times and bad but always as a family. Suddenly you are the only one left, the children have grown up and leading their own lives, your partner of many, many years has gone. Nobody needs you anymore. No matter how you try to fill yours days, the house is always empty at the end of the day. Old age for the widow or widower is a very lonely time. This was an unforgettable story.
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Great read and a story that resonates with so many people these days. Lesson learned is to go with your gut, keep no secrets and to talk to your family. Poignant read.
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This is an exceptional, undeniably Irish, debut from Anne Griffin, the prose is effortlessly engaging and it is simultaneously heartbreaking and life affirming as we get intimately acquainted with the life and times of 84 year old Maurice Hannigan. Hannigan has packed up his life, leaving no loose threads prior to booking the most exclusive suite at the Rainsford House Hotel. Early on, we cotton on to how the night will end, but before that, Maurice settles in for an evening at the hotel bar to raise a toast for the five most important loves of his life. They are Tony, his brother, Molly, his daughter, Noreen or Auntie No-no, his son, Kevin, who emigrated to New Jersey, USA, becoming a notable journalist, and lastly, but of the most vital importance, his wife, Sadie.

As Maurice reminisces, we become aware of just how close his bond with Tony is, of how school became a tortuous experience as he became convinced of just how stupid he is. He leaves at 10 years old to work, like his mother, for the local rich family, the Dollards, where he undergoes a plethora of the most unhappiest of experiences that are to leave him scarred for life and shape him to be the most unforgiving of men. The scales shift as through the years the Dollard fortunes drop substantially whilst Maurice becomes a astute entrepreneurial farmer, buying up the land around his farm, becoming financially secure and wealthy. He falls for Sadie hook, line and sinker, and to his surprise and joy, she returns his love. Sadie's sister, Noreen, is fiercely drawn to the sparkle, and she will go to any lengths to acquire it when she sees it, not afraid of making a fuss in public. Kevin makes a ritual of providing his father with rare whiskies. To Maurice's eternal regret, he has not been an expressive man, he has never been able to articulate the depth of his love to those nearest and dearest. It becomes transparently clear that loneliness has seeped into Maurice's heart and soul.

Anne Griffin has written a touchingly profound and moving novel, of the oh so very human Maurice, his joys and tragedies, the ghosts who have been there in his life, and his concerns that the one ghost he really wants to see has proved to be elusive. Maurice is a character you cannot help but get emotionally invested in, despite his obsession for business and making money, which, of course, left him open to missing the opportunities to be with his loved ones when they may have needed him. This novel hones in what is important in life, family, friends and love. Maurice is not infallible, he had a drive for vengeance, not always aware of the consequences of his actions but I loved and adored him. This is a brilliantly enthralling story of Maurice, of his dyslexia, his family, heartbreak, and the Ireland he lives through. Hugely recommended. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
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84-year-old Maurice Hannigan is sitting at the bar in the Rainsford House Hotel, Rainsford Co Meath Ireland. Toasting five people that over the years has been the most important and influential people in his life. With each toast it tells the story of each person. Starting from when he was a little boy on a farm in rural Ireland, to present day. From the tragedy of his brother dying to regretting some of the things he has done in his life and also the joy of some of the events that has happened.
This is a heart-warming tale set in Ireland, that most of you will love. At first I didn’t warm to the character of Maurice. I thought he was quite selfish in his actions but, as the story went on you get to realise what a lonely individual he is and all he wants to do is correct the wrongs he has done in his life. This is a beautifully written novel for those that loves stories in an Irish setting.
Thank you NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for a copy of this book.
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I totally fell in love with Maurice and I just didn’t want his story to end.

Maurice Hannigan is 84 yrs old and the time has come for him to say goodbye. He has organised everything, from sorting out a new home for this dog to selling his property, he’s got everything in order and is ready for the next journey.
So in a hotel bar in an Irish town, he toasts and remembers the people who are important to him and reflects on the life that he has lived and how he has spent his 84 yrs.

A beautifully written, heartwarming and heartbreaking story that I just didn’t want to end.

I think I will always remember Maurice and his story.
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A heartwarming book.  The story of a man's life, told by himself when he's in his eighties.  He's a hard man, always been crotchety and too fond of money, but a man who loves and is loved for all of that.  To the Egyptians when your soul is measured against Maat's feather if you're loved you carry one.  This man's soul will go forward with family and friends.

Loved it.  Gentle.  Heartwarming.  Real
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A hugely emotional and touching story set in rural Ireland. I’ve just finished it now with a tear in my eye. I really like this debut novel, the writing is accomplished and the characters come together well. I’d recommend it.
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A good story which encompasses all the attributes of a novel set in Ireland , despite  hardships there was a deep and lasting love of family  , Growing up in a small village the dynamics of the landowners and those who worked for them changed over time  but the old rentments  stiill fuelled Maurice's actions. It was a reflective Maurice who questioned hisprevious  attitudes and behaviour on his bereavement  and then tried to make amends.  The sort of story that has you nodding in understanding even if you don't always agree . There is humour and sadness. A good read.
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Really loved this book. Such an in-depth characterisation and I don't know how I turned the pages to see how it will all come together in the end. Was beautifully done and I won't be surprised to see this one on the big prize lists.
Definite must read for lovers of literary fiction.
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This book is beautiful and Anne Griffin's storytelling is something else... Read it if you can! I adored the well-written characters and sobbed for most of the way through, especially the ending. A heartbreaking book!
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I struggled a little with this book unfortunately. It didn’t grip me as much as I would have liked and I didn’t care much for the characters.
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Stunning, moving, gripping and well written - i was so ready for the ending that it moved me and did not make me too sad. It seemed the right solution - his mesmerising voice was finished with his story, and his great love fully explored in his long life. The sadness was pervasive but not a downer as he recounts events in his life. We also feel the different ages of himself as he recalls events, and people. Really wonderful ...
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This book told the most wonderful story in a really interesting way. We meet 84 year old Maurice Hannigan at a hotel bar. He then proceeds to "toast" the 5 people who have made the biggest impact in his life. During the toasts, he pretty much tells his life story - warts and all in some cases. A story that felt, at times, that I wasn't just simply reading, no, instead I felt like I was sat next to him, in that bar, in the Irish town he calls home, listening to him telling me personally. Not for a while has a book consumed me as totally as this one did, a character who touched me as much as Maurice did. I really did feel like I had found a new friend by the end of the book and I really didn't want to leave him behind. All that despite the fact that he did some really horrible things along the way. But doing bad things doesn't make you a bad person. The whole being more than the sum of its parts really rang true in Maurice's life as he also did some wonderful things along the way. 
Maurice does a fair bit of rambling along the way, leaving some stuff unfinished for a while and he pops off at the occasional tangent but, to me anyway, this just added to the realistic nature of his storytelling. But when all was said and done, the whole picture he painted of his life was complete and clear. The ending of the book is pretty obvious from the beginning (for me anyway) but that doesn't make it any the less emotional when it comes. But, although I sobbed at times through the book, I also laughed and cried happy tears as well as running the gamut of a whole host of other emotions. He really got under my skin more than most characters. Probably one of the reasons that I would love to listen to this as an audiobook too. 
All in all, a lovely story that tugged at my every emotion and left me bereft at its conclusion. In a good way I hasten to add. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Was utterly engrossed in this - some really beautiful writing and human characters, and a really satisfying read.
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At the bar in a grand hotel in a small Irish town sits 84 year old Maurice Hannigan. He's alone as usual. So pull up a chair and charge your glass, because Maurice is finally reading to tell his story. He will raise 5 toasts to the five people who have meant the most to him. Stories of joy, regret, a secret tragedy kept hidden and a fierce love that never found its voice.

What a heartwarming but also a heartbreaking story this is. A beautifully written story. An old man sits at a bar and toasts the most important people that have been in his life. All but his son have passed away. This tear jerker of a story covers every emotion from joy, sadness, love, compassion and much much more. Intertwined with these toasts lies another story, a mystery that involves a once rich family that was cruel to Maurice's family. You will guess the ending but that won't make you think any less of this wonderful story. I do recommend this book.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Anne Griffin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Maurice takes us back through his lifetime in a small village in Ireland.  Each toast describes a different time, beautifully written, the reader is transported back and can really visualise his life. True to life and enjoyable reading.
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Sitting alongside 84 year old Maurice Hannigan we listen in as he recounts, in an intriguing direct address to his absent son, his life story - the highs and lows, the loves and losses, the deprivation and the riches of love along the way. And he raises a glass to toast the five most important people who have travelled with him and affected and sometimes transformed his life. He is irascible, grumpy, unloveable and loveable in equal measure and his narrative reveals what has made him the grumpy old man of today. But oh the lyrical quality of his story-telling, the Irish lilt to his spoken voice. You feel that you are sitting on the bar stool next to him listening in to the imagined conversation with his son. Poignant, funny, sad, bad-tempered, wilful, grumpy, loving, undemonstrative….ultimately  unavoidably loveable! Raise your glass and enjoy. Highly recommended.
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