All Is Fair by Dee Garretson | Predictable, but a little fun

Posted January 24, 2019 by Sophia
22 Comments

All Is Fair by Dee Garretson | Predictable, but a little fun

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All Is Fair by Dee Garretson | Predictable, but a little funAll Is Fair by Dee Garretson
Published by Swoon Reads on January 22, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher


Lady Mina Tretheway knows she's destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she's being taught to be a proper English lady. It's 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.

When Mina receives a telegram that's written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.

Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don't succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war.Lady Mina Tretheway knows she's destined for greater things than her fancy boarding school, where she's being taught to be a proper English lady. It's 1918, and war is raging across Europe. Unlike her father and brother, who are able to assist in the war effort, Mina is stuck sorting out which fork should be used with which dinner course.

When Mina receives a telegram that's written in code, she finally has her chance to do something big. She returns to her childhood home of Hallington Manor, joined by a family friend, Lord Andrew Graham, and a dashing and mysterious young American, Lucas. The three of them must band together to work on a dangerous project that could turn the tide of the war.

Thrilled that she gets to contribute to the war effort at least, Mina jumps headfirst into the world of cryptic messages, spycraft, and international intrigue. She, Lucas, and Andrew have to work quickly, because if they don't succeed, more soldiers will disappear into the darkness of war.

The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.

All is Fair by Dee Garretson promises an adventure.

The beginning of All is Fair promises a fun, action-packed adventure, set in World War I with badass females being involved in espionage. After Mina receives a telegram from her father at her boarding school and decrypts the message, she heads home to find her friend Andrew with an American named Lucas.

It’s a little predictable, but also fun.

All is Fair starts off great and I loved seeing Mina decrypting her father’s message at school. I also loved seeing this play a role later on when Mina has to join Lucas on his mission so he could succeed.

But Garretson’s novel is relatively predictable as I called some of the twists before they happened. While this may suck out of the fun for some people, I found myself letting the easy predictions slide as I enjoyed other aspects of the story.

Slow at the beginning.

After the promising intro and beginning when we are introduced to Mina and learn a little about her, the story dies down. All is Fair becomes slow and we focus a lot on the aristocratic life in the early 20th century before we get to the action-packed part of the story. I found myself stepping away frequently until then because I was just bored despite the character interactions.

Characters and interactions are great, romance unnecessary

I’m a huge character person – if there’s a character or two that I enjoy reading, I’ll likely let other problems (if any) I have slide. And I adored Mina. From the beginning, she’s wanted to go on an adventure but rarely gets the opportunity until something happens and she takes the chance. Her interactions with Lucas are amusing and there is quite the shade being thrown between the two (I love me some good shade).

But the romance wasn’t necessary to the story. It felt suddenly thrown in near the end just to have a romantic aspect of sorts. All is Fair would have been perfectly fine with the friendship and occasional shade being thrown about.

We have an open ending.

All is Fair leaves an open ending that promises of a possible sequel that could potentially happen. Even if there is no sequel, though, the story wrapped up nicely. My only issue aside from the unnecessary romantic aspect is the boring beginning readers will have to drag themselves through to get to the action-packed adventure.

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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22 responses to “All Is Fair by Dee Garretson | Predictable, but a little fun

  1. I am also a characters first kind or reader Sophia. And I hate when romance does not seem to be essential to the story but is still dumped in it… Great review!

  2. Clo

    Ooooo I remember you talking about this one on Discord, the one where you were predicting things and romance got thrown in *rolls* I’ve never been a huge fan of historical fiction actually, unless it’s set in either the Victorian times OR there’s supernatural creatures involved.

    And I also let things slide with books if I adore a character or two hehe, I just love a good character 😉

    • Good characters are the best. <3 I'm more of a Victorian or World War II kind of person when it comes to historical fiction, but I'm always open to other periods if they're interesting enough to me.

  3. I’m also most definitely a character person and I’ve found that predictable plots aren’t as much of a drawback for me necessarily. Though that depends on the story, the atmosphere and of course the characters.

    All is fair does sound promising though. I love me some good shade, too! 😀
    I’m gonna look more into this as I’m looking for good historical fiction.

    • I hope you enjoy All Is Fair if and when you read it! Like you, predictable plots aren’t too bad depending on the story. If there’s too many negatives, I call it quits rather than dragging myself through it.

  4. This book sounds right up my sister’s alley, and something I would definitely pick up and read if I saw it, it always bothers me to have unnecessary romance but I’ve learned to put up with it as a whole. Definitely entering the giveaway to gift to my sister if possible, great review!

  5. Hallo, Hallo Sophia,

    I’ve been meaning to swing back round to this lovely blog for awhile now – my bout of migraines killed that joy until now. Finally recovered and past the foggy after effects to where I can enjoy reading blogs & adding commentary. I’m trying to be more mindful of visiting the blogs I love but I actually discovered this lovely one through the Comment 4 Comment Challenge. I also hosted this blog tour myself – I shared a lovely interview with the author which I was excited about as I really was impressed with the premise of this one. I wanted at the time to go through the tour route but I was just thankful I could share the convo to be honest. I was coming out of my 2nd migraine at the time. 🙁

    Did you feel there was too much focus on the society and not enough on the central focus of the character’s purpose in the plot? It felt like maybe you found too much background and not enough foreground? I’ve found this can happen at times in Historical Fiction so I was curious if that was the main drawback for you? Where you felt pulled out of the context of the lead plot point and were muddled in some background of the setting and timescape?

    I’m a character reader, too!! I love character driven stories and that is seriously why if I can’t find myself anchoured to a character, nearly all those stories end up as DNFs or leave me with an unsatisfied takeaway in the end. 🙁 Please explain “thrown shade” because I know its a new term since I left school in the mid-90s – I’ve seen it online and half the time I *think!* I know what it refers too and then, I get confused. I’d love to finally sort it?!

    I was curious – what did you like most about the ciphers and espionage bits to the story!?

  6. Mina sounds great! I feel like it’s rare to find books that don’t have romance or imply something going on, or at least that’s been my experience. Maybe that’s why I love the ones that don’t so much xD