Can books with outrageously long titles live up to their names? Maybe not this one. All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well starts with a hilarious premise: an aging American who revels in medieval re-enactments tries to recover his ties to his children, who have drifted away after one too many eccentricities, including a complete reliance on his wife and son for all practical details including earning a living… The description of the earnest would-be medievalists, who dress the part and eschew such modern implements as cars (obviously) but also oranges and drinking water (they go for mead instead) is funny and clever. Who knew it would be so difficult to pretend to live in the Middle Ages for a day only to be foiled by a jet plane flying overhead?
So what’s the rub? The book just grinds to a halt amidst the revellers and the children, all ideas spent, and it seems that the transatlantic action was just a pretext to show off that the author was comfortable on two continents. Too bad!