All That Was by Tanya E. Williams

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was an absolutely beautifully written story of ghosts, grief, and self-discovery. I was blown away by the story. It was so much more than I expected it to be. The plot took me on such an emotional journey for the two main characters, and it was beautiful!

This is a story of two women dealing with loss. Emily, a woman in her 20’s lost her parents at a young age. Rather than handle her grief, she shoved it all down and focused on absolutely anything else to keep from thinking of her parents. Now a young lawyer, she has been assigned to catalog a storage room in a church. The church wants to sell their building, and move to a new location, but a law has placed them into historical building status. Emily’s firm is fighting for the church’s right to sell, and their case is with the supreme court. Emily starts her cataloging and discovers boxes of diaries from Elizabet Thomas, who died in 1935.

Elizabet Thomas went into her afterlife looking for her husband, who she lost too soon after their marriage vows. Rather than “go into the light”, she stayed behind at the church looking for him. After 80 years of searching, she still has not found him. When Emily begins reading her diaries, she finds new excitement in her life and becomes invested in Emily’s journey.

This was just a wonderful book. It’s absolutely a ghost story, but it’s not spooky at all, so it’s perfect for readers that might be interested in ghost stories, but don’t want to be scared.

Emily and Elizabet’s characters are so complex. Their grief has resulted in both of them choosing paths in life that have caused them to miss out on things. I loved the connection Emily finds in Elizabet’s diaries, and the lessons she learns while reading them.

There are some side characters that I adored. Pastor Michael was filled with hope and uplifting comments, and every time he showed up, I was excited to see what he had to say. Then there is a friend of Elizabet, another ghost, who was the “Madame” of Seattle in the early 1900’s. She was a wonderful, exciting character that was so full of life, even in her afterlife!

The story is such an emotional journey. Williams wrote a story that really tugged at my heartstrings. I enjoyed Emily’s character arc as she realizes how much she could lose in life if she doesn’t come to terms with the loss of her parents. It’s a great story, and I highly recommend it!

To Read or Not To Read:

I would recommend All That Was to readers that enjoy a character journey of self-discovery with a mix of paranormal and historical fiction!

Where to Find This Book:

All That Was by Tanya E. Williams publishes on Oct 20,2020, and is available at these sites.

Amazon ~ Kindle ~ Goodreads


Separated by a century. Bonded by loss. Will examining all that was invoke comfort or calamity?

Seattle, 2015. Emily Reed refuses to dwell on her emotions. When the first-year attorney is assigned a church archival project, she dives into the records to hide from her own heartache. But when she discovers her parents were married in this very chapel, she is forced to confront the grief she buried a decade ago.

After she died in 1935, Elizabet Thomas was devastated when her beloved husband wasn’t waiting for her on the other side. A lost soul, she’s wandered their church for the past eighty years, desperate to find him. And now she must persuade a young, living lawyer that the historic building needs to be preserved rather than sold and torn down.

Discovering a diary among the disarray in the building’s basement, Emily is first engrossed and then moved by the dead woman’s words. And as the fate of her home unravels, Elizabet realizes she and the grieving archivist have more in common than she ever would have guessed.

Can Emily and Elizabet save themselves and their cherished sanctuary?

All That Was is an uplifting standalone women’s literary fiction novel deeply woven with historical elements. If you enjoy dual-perspective storylines, complex female characters, and the rekindling of lost hope, then you’ll love Tanya E Williams’s soul-stirring tale.

Just the Facts:

All That Was by Tanya E. Williams
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 322 pages
Publisher: Rippling Effects
Pub Date: October 20, 2020


I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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