Cover Image: One for All

One for All

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THE PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION
I keep stumbling over coming up with my own synopsis, it's either too long, too spoiler-filled (although I wonder if I'd have said as much as this does), or too brief to be worth it. So, here's what the publisher has to say:

    Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but “a sick girl.” But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father—a former Musketeer and her greatest champion. Then Papa is brutally, mysteriously murdered. His dying wish? For Tania to attend finishing school. But L’Académie des Mariées, Tania realizes, is no finishing school. It’s a secret training ground for new Musketeers: women who are socialites on the surface, but strap daggers under their skirts, seduce men into giving up dangerous secrets, and protect France from downfall. And they don’t shy away from a sword fight.

    With her newfound sisters at her side, Tania feels that she has a purpose, that she belongs. But then she meets Étienne, her target in uncovering a potential assassination plot. He’s kind, charming—and might have information about what really happened to her father. Torn between duty and dizzying emotion, Tania will have to decide where her loyalties lie…or risk losing everything she’s ever wanted.



POTS
The main characters of this novel are Tania and her fellow musketeers, the head of L’Académie des Mariées, the bad guys, and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. The description talks says, "Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but 'a sick girl.'" Which introduces that character.

Obviously, no one has actually diagnosed Tania with POTS, and most of the characters don't know the extent of the Syndrome's impact on her (not just because she hides it as much as possible). But that's what she has—I know that not just because the symptoms are recognizable to those who can, nor because it's in all the marketing materials I've seen—but because there's a great note at the back describing the author's own experience with it (and, as I understand it, the same applies to the audiobook narrator).

It's depicted, discussed, and addressed in period-appropriate ways, which is great. This is a really good way to raise awareness and understanding of POTS. I, for one, needed that—and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.

I'd never heard of POTS until a few months ago—or if I had, it didn't take root in my consciousness—but a family member was diagnosed with it. I've read websites, heard them discuss it, and so on, so I had a decent understanding. But after reading this novel, I think I have a richer understanding. Lainoff helped me walk a mile in the shoes of someone with the Syndrome in a way I hadn't been able to before. The book is going to have a special place for me because of that.

I want to stress that I'd have enjoyed it anyway and would've appreciated "the look behind the curtain" of POTS without the personal connection, and I'm certainly not recommending it only because of the depiction of POTS. But it was a personal highlight.

YA-NESS
Every so often when I'm reading a YA/MG book, I feel like a grumpy old man. The things that make a book fitting for the target audience jump out at me, they usually don't make me like a book less (maybe they help me cut the book some slack). So what I'm saying here—just because I mention something, it doesn't mean I'm critiquing/criticizing/complaining about it, it's just something that jumped out at me.

Also, I know some readers of this blog have a YA allergy (or at least sensitivity), and I want to provide them with enough information to make an informed choice.

One for All is a very much YA book. If you bear in mind that it is one, the excesses/lack of subtlety/predictability of the book can be understood/expected.

Would I have preferred a little more nuance? A little more complexity? Sure. But Lainoff's plot and characters were good enough to make up for it.

I also think it's the YA-ness of the book that makes the transplanting of progressive 21st Century attitudes, expectations, and behaviors on the part of some of the characters in this 17th Century setting work. Were this written with older readers in mind, there'd be more internal conflict (amongst Tania's group, and likely within some of the individuals) against bucking the cultural norms to the degree that they do.

TOUS POUR UN
Big themes that one might expect to be addressed in a book like this would be romance, maybe family, likely even found family. And that's not really what happens here. (well sort of found family, but it feels different to me, your results may vary)

Instead, it's about camaraderie. It's about a team. A group working together in a very Star Treky "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...Or the one" kind of way. The four Mousquetaires have different political, social, and personal agendas—which are respected, understood, and shared to varying degrees—that they put aside for the needs of each other.

Time and time again, they tell each other "we won't let you fall." Mistakes will be made, errors will occur—hugely stupid choices will be made—but these four rally together to form a bond that is truly all for one and one for all.

I love seeing things like this—and I don't see it often enough. And when I do see it, it's largely an unstated thing. Sometimes it will be discussed with an outsider, but rarely within the group. And I get that, and there's a certain beauty and nobility about not having to say it. At the same time, there's a beauty in saying it. It's great having examples of people reassuring each other, "I've got your back, I'm on your six, and I will help when needed" is a wonderful thing. How many of us need to hear that ourselves? So seeing it in a group of characters? I absolutely loved it and it's likely my favorite thing about this book.

USE OF FRENCH
Lainoff will frequently drop in a word, phrase, or sentence in French in the middle of dialogue or the narration. It's almost always immediately translated or given enough context clues that a translation is unnecessary (generally she still provides one even when it's unnecessary).

It was a nice way to brush up on my high-school French, for sure, but I really can't tell you why it was used 97% of the time. And even that 3% I could guess about, I'm not certain that it was necessary or useful.

It was a nice bit of seasoning—little dashes of spice to add flavor—but nothing the recipe needed.*

* See the section head above for an accidental example of what I'm saying.

SO, WHAT DID I THINK ABOUT ONE FOR ALL?
I really had fun with this book. I think I liked it in a "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" kind of way. I do think if I focused on story X or Y; character W or Z; or theme A, B, or C; I might end up quibbling with the book. But the experience as a whole really worked for me and gave me almost everything I wanted in this book. (a little more humor or panache would've been nice—but now that the four have established themselves, that's possible in a sequel)

It's a familiar premise, well-executed—with just enough distinctiveness about it to make this stand out. Good characters acting in largely relatable and believable ways. Solid action that's well used (although I'd like the volume turned up just a little bit on those scenes). It's very much an origin story kind of thing and does a good job of introducing and creating a world as well as populating it.

If there's a sequel, I will read it. If this is a stand-alone, I'm satisfied with it. Which is a great spot to be in, and not one I find myself in a lot lately. Particularly when you bear in mind the target audience, this is an enjoyable and satisfying read that I'm pleased to recommend.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for this post—thanks to both for this. Although I'm sorry that this posted the day after publication, I tried, really.
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This is such an amazing book! I was so happy to see the representation in this! I loved the framing of the story.
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This was one of my most anticipated 2022 releases—a historical fantasy with a chronically ill protagonist? Sign me the hell up. And I’m thrilled to say that it did NOT disappoint. I loved everything about One for All, from cover to cover, and it’s undoubtedly one of my favorite books not just of the year, but of all time.

Although we don’t have the same conditions, I can’t begin to describe what it meant to me, a disabled girl, to see a another disabled girl as the badass main character of a book. I saw so much of myself in Tania and related to so many of her struggles. Her determination and strength are admirable, and honestly, I want to be like her when I grow up. 🤩🤩

And the other Musketeers? Ohmygod. Icons, all of them. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite because that would be literally impossible. Théa is the biggest sweetheart, Aria is impressively clever, Portia is absolutely hilarious, and they’re all totally badass. Seeing all the ways they rallied around Tania and supported her without hesitation was heartwarming. I love their little found family more than I can say. ❤️❤️❤️

Also, I’d like to take a moment to appreciate Henri. I think he might actually be the biggest cinnamon roll I’ve ever encountered and I adore him. His awkwardness is endearing and he’s so adorably thoughtful; he must be protected AT ALL COSTS. 🥺🥺

I’m not really gonna say anything about the romance elements in this book because the main one is tied heavily to the plot, and the side one is so deliciously slow-burn you don’t actually know if it’s going to happen until it does. The only teaser I’ll give is that, for like 200 pages, I had VERY STRONG suspicions that two characters were very much ~not straight~ and was immensely happy when I ended up being right. We gays can sense each other. 😎

Lastly, there’s one other aspect I want to talk about. Yes, the story’s pacing is slower, and yes, I ultimately did predict the big bad guy’s identity, but neither of those ruined it for me. I think the reason that these can ruin some books for me while not fazing me in others has a lot to do with how attached I am to the characters and how invested I am in the story. In this case, where the answer to both is “very much,” I’m more lenient. (Does this make sense? It does in my head.)

I think I’ve done all the rambling that I can, at least for now. Honestly, I’m sad that it’s over; I finished reading One for All two hours ago and I’m still thinking about it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be thinking about it for a while, and rereading it soon enough. In the meantime, add it to the list of books I shout about from the virtual rooftop constantly. Add it to my list of personality traits. Its spot is wholeheartedly deserved.
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This book is being sold as a gender-bent Three Musketeers with a chronically ill heroine, and when I heard about it last year I was IMMEDIATELY on board. I watched the 90s movie way too many times, and I was excited to see a character with POTS take center stage. Yes but Ellen did it deliver — YES IT DID! It is YA, so listening to Tania doubt herself over and over is tough, but I did that when I was a teenager and I didn’t have a chronic illness to fight through, so it feels accurate as hell. Things started off a bit slowly but once we meet the other musketeers and join their sisterhood, it is ON! I loved how Tania’s personal vendetta is woven into their larger mission, and watching her form friendships is so rewarding. Plus I learned a lot about fencing. Highly recommend if you’re looking for some feminist fun!
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One For All by Lillie Lainoff is an epic gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers with a chronically ill main character!! How cool is that?! It is also now one of my favorite books & an easy 5 out of 5 stars! 
It’s a coming of age feminist historical fiction novel that felt like a breath of fresh air for me. It’s full of action, found family, dashes of romance & a realistic portrayal of someone with a chronic illness. The main character has Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, POTS. I personally had life-changing & terrifying surgeries as a teenager, so to be able to empathize & see myself in this disabled character is a feeling that I cannot describe & cannot be understated of its’ importance It would’ve been magical reading this as a teenager, but still feels pretty wondrous having this as an adult. 
This book showcases the capability of those with chronic illnesses when the environment is set up for their success. It shows the importance of acceptance in both yourself & your loved ones. One For All displays the beauty of upending societal/gender norms & traditions. It also deals with the complexities of grief & trauma from losing a loved one. This book made me feel an array of emotions as I took this splendid journey with these Musketeers. It made me laugh. I found it to be clever & witty. Even though it’s a retelling, it’s exquisitely unique. The story leapt off the page with such vivid imagery & became a brilliant movie in my head as I read. As someone who doesn’t usually read historical fiction, I was completely enthralled in this story & this world. 
I think this is an absolutely incredible debut & I cannot wait to read more from this author. I also hope & dream that characters with chronic illnesses & disabilities become a much more regular occurrence. I absolutely loved this book & cannot wait to go buy myself a copy! 
My gratitude goes to the author for writing this. I appreciate this story & Tania so much. 
Massive thanks goes to NetGalley & Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for giving me the opportunity to read an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Extra things I loved:
-At times, they discussed sisterhood & not letting each other fall, my mind immediately started singing Cheetah Gurks- Cheersh Sisters. “Someone's always there behind, to catch us if we fall.” It’s a bop & now stuck in my head!
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Thank you to Netgalley and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review review.

When I heard about a gender-bent, Own-voices, Disability-rep retelling of an amazing Classic I was psyched. Then I found it on @netgalley and got approved to review and I was over the moon! 

I love The Three Musketeers so reading this rendition was like a warm hug with a twist. Tania is the main character and I could immediately see myself being friends with her. She is unorthodox, clever, and stronger than she gives herself credit for. Her relationship with her dad in the opening chapters was endearing. Tania has POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) and has dizziness and fatigue throughout the story but the author shows how she works through the symptoms as she trains on her fencing. Her POTS isn't used at a plot device or thrown in when she fails like so many disabilities are portrayed in books and film. Instead the disease is merely a part of her that Tania's found family incorporates into their daily lives and provides support for when she needs it. 

Speaking of found family, this book has a wonderful example of women from all walks of life coming together for a united cause. The four "les Mousquetaires de la Luna", Tania, Portia, Théa, and Aria, all have unique back stories and talents that, under the tutelage of Madame de Treville, combine to create a formidable espionage group. It's a blast to watch them fight alongside one another and grow closer as the story progresses.

If you're looking for a YA retelling that combines mystery, action, and intrigue with a classic storyline, One For All is the book for you!
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

One For All follows Tania, the fierce daughter of a former Musketeer. Though Tania excels at fencing, her chronic illness makes the people of her town view her as weak and useless. When her father is mysteriously murdered and Tania is sent off to a finishing school in the city, she thinks her future is hopeless -- until the finishing school turns out to be a secret organization designed to train female Musketeers.

This was such a fun read! The Musketeers, the powerful women, the chronic illness rep, the adventure, the spying, the intrigue!

I did find the set up of the story a bit slow -- we spent almost a quarter of the book working through what the synopsis disclosed -- but beyond that, I was hooked.
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I don't think I knew quite what to expect when I started All For One, frankly. But what I did get absolutely blew my expectations out of the water, so there's that.

The story starts off a tad slow, with the reader being introduced to Tania. She has a condition that causes her to experience dizziness and fainting frequently, and as such, she's basically been written off by her 17th century French town, and her mother. Her father, however, has always had full faith in Tania, and they have a strong relationship. She's always admired him for his background in the Musketeers, and he has always supported her, trained her, and believed in her. And then he is killed.

This is obviously awful for Tania for a myriad of reasons, and one of the biggest is that his will has arranged for Tania to head off to Young French Lady Boarding School™. This is not the name for real, but anyway. There she realizes that maybe she's not just going to learn some boring etiquette lessons, and that perhaps her father's biggest surprise for her is still ahead.

First, I loved reading about this time period! I don't know about you, but my crappy American school history books never once discussed La Fronde, and I will probably end up down a pretty serious rabbit hole now that Wikipedia is open. I digress. So much of what I have read about historic France is set in the 18th and 19th centuries, so this was a delightful change, and I absolutely loved learning about it. That, and the author did a wonderful job of making me feel like I was there.

I also was thrilled to see a main character with a disability, especially in a historical fiction novel. Tania's condition is, per the author, akin to a modern day diagnosis of POTS, but of course Tania had no such diagnosis. It obviously was a factor in her daily life, and she had to not only find ways to manage it, but she had to deal with the constant disdain from some really awful and ableist people.

My favorite part of the story was the characters. I adored Tania, and her incredible spirit and strength and vulnerability, but I also enjoyed the people she met along the way. Since this is in fact a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, you can imagine that Tania finds herself in the company of some pretty incredible women- but that is a story that you need to read for yourself.

Bottom Line: Hands down one of the best retellings I've read. Tania's journey was hopeful, adventurous, and full of heart.
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I loved this and Tania, especially and oh the cast of characters too! Plus the setting as brilliantly shown here! Definitely a voice I want to see more of in the future!
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This was such a fun, exciting read! I'm a sucker for a good gender-bent retelling, and I immediately fell in love and started rooting for Tania. Despite being fast-paced, I also found One For All to be pretty atmospheric, which is always something I love. The twists kept on coming right up until the end, too, and I certainly never saw the ending coming. Anyone who grew up on the Barbie Muskateers as I did is certain to fall in love with this incredible story.
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This gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers is filled with adventure, daring-do, and romance, combining both the charms of the classic with the feminism of modern-day fiction. If you want a story about found family, mental strength, and determination, place your request for Lillie Lainoff’s One For All.
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Disability rep and a muskateers retelling?? say no more!! this book was everything i had hoped for and more!! i loved everything and everyone.
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This was so good and completely exceeded my expectations. While I can’t personally speak on the POTS rep, having a disabled main character means so much to me and she was so strong throughout the novel. Both the ableism and support she faced felt real and to see Tania overcome so many obstacles and become a version of herself she didn’t think was possible was just amazing. The Musketeer aspect was so interesting and watching her step into this new role, one that is technically her birthright, kept me on the edge of my seat. The author’s beautiful descriptions of Paris as well as the heart racing depictions of action made this book hit its peak.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I struggle a lot with reading slower-paced books and historical fiction, and unfortunately, this book was no exception; however, what really stood out to me is the disability representation in this book. 

Tania, the main character of this book, struggles with a condition called POTS that makes her dizzy and leads to fainting. I have this condition in common with the author and with Tania, so to see myself truthfully represented in this book was wonderful. Tania struggles with being viewed as a burden and too weak to amount to anything because of her chronic illness, and it mirrors the very common experiences of disabled and chronically ill teenagers. The fact that Tania is able to experience life more fully once she has the proper support system surrounding her is so important because many disabled teens don't have that. Disabled characters are almost never portrayed as desirable or worthy of being loved, but here Tania gets to be both. Tania's story will help so many teens who are struggling with being young and chronically ill or disabled because her story shows that there is hope, that while the chronic illness or disability don't disappear, they can still live a full life, they can still fall in love, they can still follow their dreams. Tania's story matters and I'm so glad that it is out in the world and can now go reach those who need it most.
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3.5 Stars

Billed as a feminist retelling of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, One for All mostly succeeds. Although I found myself thinking of it as inspired by Dumas’ work rather than retelling it.

Author Lillie Lainoff takes readers into a world where women work in secret to protect France. It’s not a hard ask, given how many women have done and do that in real life. In fact, that actually adds weight to the narrative.

Given the source material, readers should expect sword fighting, intrigue and mystery, and they are rewarded with it.

The problem comes more in the overall execution, which can be slow at times and lacks that finesse you might expect from a Musketeer. It’s not that One for All isn’t worth reading, it’s just that you have to put in your time. It’s not a book that you’ll finish in one or even two sittings. I enjoyed the process, but I probably won’t be revisiting it anytime soon.
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One for All is the debut novel for author Lillie Lainoff. Set in 1650's France, One for All is an OwnVoices historical adventure and gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness secretly trains as a Musketeer and discovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love. Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. She's lived a rather sheltered life after she became sick with a chronic illness (POTS). This sickness often resulted in her having bouts of dizziness and fatigue. Her once close friend shunned her and at times bullied her.
 
Her chances at being married drop on a daily basis. All Tania every wanted is to train as a fencer like her father, a former Musketeer. Then Papa is mysteriously murdered, and as his dying wish, he sends Tania to finishing school under the tutelage of Madam de Treville. But L’Académie des Mariées is so much more. It’s a training ground for new Musketeers: women (Aria, Théa and Portia) who are socialites on the surface, but who seduce men into giving up secrets—and don’t shy away from sword fights. Tania finally feels like she's found her sisters, a place where she belongs. 
 
But when she's torn between duty and dizzying emotion, she must decide where her loyalties lie or risk losing everything after she falls for one of her targets. One of the things that ends up surprising a lot of people is that Tania is a fantastic fencer who turns into a excellent swords woman. With a little self esteem, she quickly separates herself from her fellow Musketeers. This is a whirlwind debut about found family, the strength that goes beyond the body, and the power of self-love.
 
One of the things that makes this book real, is the authors own admittance that she suffers from (POTS)  Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. A person with POTS can experience vertigo, light-headedness, and other debilitating symptoms. Tania endures this same condition and struggles to do many day-to-day activities. But, once she's around her new sisters, they don't turn their backs on her. They make her feel welcomed which is something her own mother lacked.
 
As the author states, her condition took years for a doctor to come to terms with what she's experiencing. I can't imagine the pain that Lillie went through until someone finally heard her and put her on a path to recovery. One of the things I've learned about this author is as a senior, she was one of the first physically disabled athletes to individually qualify for any NCAA Championship event, and helped her team to an end-of-season 10th place ranking by the National Coaches Poll. She still fences competitively and coaches. You have my respect and admiration Lillie Lainoff. I do hope you are able to write a sequel to this story!
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"Your past is part of you; our past is part of each of us—but that doesn't mean we're not ourselves."
I love Tania de Batz. I love all the characters and their charisma and this book so much. The story is so powerful and enthralling, each page had me wondering what the truth really was and hoping for Tania to get the justice that she deserved in the name of her father. These characters were the real stars of the show with their distinct and captivating personalities as well as their dynamics, but the tension in the plot is also built in a stellar way and the end product is a complete work of art. This book was moving, empowering, and written wonderfully as well. Go read this! Especially if you enjoyed the Barbie Three Musketeers movie for a dose of nostalgia.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“You speak as if I’ll be some sort of legend. A hero from a storybook,” I whispered.
“You will be so much better.”

Before now I had always underestimated the power of good representation.  I didn’t really understand why it was that big of a deal to see characters like you and experiences you’ve had in books or any other kind of media. 

With that in mind, it didn’t take even ten minutes of reading this book for me to start crying. Seeing Tania and her struggles was like looking in a mirror and seeing my own. So much of this was explored in this book, from the pain of losing friends because you’re sick, to feeling like a burden and you’ll never be worthy of anything more than existing, to the pain of wanting to keep up but knowing that your body won’t let you, and the more you push it, the worse it will be. 

Two of the things that really affected me were the fact that Tania felt that she was merely tolerated, and the mention of medical gaslighting. Any disabled person will be able to tell you that both of these are two terrible realities we face. And even when we do find people that love us, not in spite of, but along with our disabilities, we often feel like it’s one elaborate ruse. That they don’t want to hurt us so they put up with us. 

The other part, was medical gaslighting. Tania mentioned so many times that people, doctors, friends, family, even random strangers living in her town, thought she was faking and would say this to her face. On top of that, people still didn’t know whether to believe her because she felt terrible some days, and on others she was relatively fine. 

I’ve had symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) since I can remember. I fainted the first time when I was 10. And I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 20. Being told I’m fine, that everything is normal, and that it’s all in my head was something I came to expect. I mean, clearly if it’s normal then everyone deals with this, right? I’ve since, evidently, come to learn that it’s not normal but even so, I don’t mind. I’ve met so many wonderful people in the disability community that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We get through the bad days and we celebrate the good days. All of us. Together. The pain of being reminded that you wouldn’t know what tomorrow would be like was also something that hit home for me and I’m sure many others who could relate. 

Lillie Lainoff’s writing style is also phenomenal. The characters had so much empathy for Tania and her disability and helped her through everything. They never once complained or griped because they knew Tania couldn’t help it. And they loved her so much that they could carry her places if need be. All without a second thought. I’m thankful enough that I have a few of those people in my life, and you all know who you are. Granted they wouldn’t carry me up the stairs because they’re all disabled like I am, but maybe they could let me hitch a ride on the back of one of their wheelchairs when the walking gets to be too much. 

I loved this book so much, start to finish. It was so real and I felt so seen. I cried probably a good three or four times because I just felt so validated. That I wasn’t alone in my struggles. Logically I knew that I wasn’t, but it’s not until you have it spelled out for you from someone else’s perspective that you really see that there are other people who feel what you do. 

Please, please, if you are disabled or have a friend or family member or significant other that is disabled, read this book. Buy it, check it out from the library, I don’t care! Just read it. So you can feel seen. And for those who aren’t disabled, to know what we deal with and push through every single day. 

This is going down as one of my favorite books of my life. 

Thank you, Lillie Lainoff, for telling Tania’s story, and in effect, telling all of our stories, too.
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Tania is the daughter of a Musketeer and is what her society dubbed a “sick girl.” She’s grown up with her father teaching her how to fence and her mother desperately trying to marry her off. Then, her father is mysteriously murdered, and Tania is sent off to L’Académie des Mariées, which her mother believes is a finishing school—but is actually, as Tania quickly finds out, a secret training ground for female Musketeers.

Historical fiction is sometimes hard for me to get into, but with the book’s description, I was sure I’d enjoy this, and I was not disappointed! Tania was a great narrator and lead, and I really enjoyed seeing her find her place with her other Musketeers.
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*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

One For All was such a pleasure to read, and a wonderful debut for author Lillie Lainoff! I thoroughly enjoyed this gender-bent Three Musketeers retelling, that was full of action, adventure, and a cast of characters that I adored. There are daring sword fights, plot twists, and a main character with a chronic illness that must learn to love herself. Historical fiction fans won’t want to miss this one!

Tania de Batz has always loved the feel of a sword in her hand, ever since she can remember. Everyone in her small French village thinks that she’s weak and just a “sick girl” because of her almost constant dizziness. Her mother wants to find her someone to marry, so that she’ll always be taken care of. Tania however aspires to be like her father, a former Musketeer, strong, independent, and a fencer.

Sadly her father is tragically murdered, and to honor his final request, Tania agrees to attend a finishing school in Paris. Soon after arriving, Tania finds that the school isn’t what it appears to be to those on the outside, that it’s actually a school to train female Musketeers. These young women are socialites on the surface, but have daggers strapped under their beautiful gowns, seduce men into giving up secrets, and know how to sword fight, all while trying to protect France.

As time passes and Tania adjusts to the school, she finally begins to feel like she belongs. She begins to feel that her life has a purpose, with her new sisters in arms. Tania soon meets her first target, Etienne while uncovering a possible assassination plot. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and may have some information she needs. As Tania gets swept up in all the political intrigue, she must not only rely on her friends, but listen to herself and her body, or risk losing everything she’s ever dreamed of.

I absolutely loved the chronic illness representation in this book, and I really hope that more books like this one make their way into the world. Kudos to the author for bringing her own experience living with POTS to life through Tania. I think it’s so important for readers to see themselves represented in stories, and I am grateful for this one. I loved how determined and fierce Tania is, and how she kept fighting and didn’t give up. I definitely found myself cheering her on throughout the story. I also loved the bonds of sisterhood and found family, and their support of one another.

This book is a standalone, but I would love to see more of these characters in the future. Fingers crossed for a companion novel in the future. This book is releasing March 8, 2022, so make sure that you pick this one up at your local bookstore, or put in a library request.
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