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Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite
Frances Maureen Richardson’s novel Not All of Me is Dust tells the inspiring story of three siblings, Stephen, Kathleen, and Clare Engle. Although their lives were not happy after their mother’s untimely death, none of them gave up. Stephen became a Jesuit and then decided to go on a mission to Africa, where he found unrest and massacres. Kathleen got married, but her domestic life is not as peaceful and happy as she could have expected. As for Clare, she chose to enter a convent, but then her faith was put to the test, and she had to reinvent herself. Despite adversities and tragedies, Not All of Me is Dust conveys a message of hope while stressing the importance of faith.
Not All of Me is Dust explores every aspect of faith through the stories of the Engle siblings. I am delighted by Richardson’s fine and elegant writing. In her book, you find scholarly discussions about spirituality with religious, philosophical, and literary references that reveal Richardson’s extensive knowledge. However, the tone is never pretentious, and the dialogues are clear and simple. They are easy to understand and enthralling to read. Moreover, I have to add that Richardson is an excellent storyteller. The descriptions, especially those of settings and places, are minute and detailed, while the characters are all well carved and portrayed. Each of them has a precise personality, and each personality adds value to the story. On the whole, Not All of Me is Dust is one of the most refined novels I have ever read.