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All The Places That Were Hurt


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A young woman takes the road less traveled from London to Vermont, in search of her spiritual home. A beautiful tribute to love and healing.

At the beginning of All the Places that Were Hurt, May, the protagonist, is hopeless and grieving. Looking for some relief from her situation, she decides to travel from her home in London to the college town of Hartland, Vermont. Hartland is where she was happier than ever ten years before, leading a carefree life surrounded by friends, adventures and nature. This is also where she met her first love.


Lallie, May’s older, much more conventional sister, admonishes her not to return to Hartland because, although things started on a promising note for May there, they didn’t end up well.


But May still decides to go, and once in Hartland, she keeps bumping into Harley, her old flame. Harley is the town’s heartthrob: handsome, bright, mysterious, elusive. There are shades of Heathcliff (yes, that guy from Wuthering Heights) in Harley. But there is also much more to him, and there are deep-seated reasons for his strange behavior that the reader will discover as the novel progresses.


Through the relationship between May and Harley, this wonderful book explores the devastating and lasting consequences of trauma, but also the possibility of healing and growth. There is a celebration of small town life and the sense of community and belonging that it can bring. Ultimately, this is a novel about love: romantic love, love of friends, love of nature, love of a place, love of family, love of yourself…   


The plot is very attuned to nature, to the seasons. Summer is the time for passion; fall is the time for reflection. It is no coincidence that this novel both starts and ends during the winter. There is dread and grief in the winter, indeed. But there is also the stark beauty and the realization that the season of rebirth will come next.  


All the Places that Were Hurt is a novel that takes its time to develop. It is not in a rush to get to the end, and neither should you, the reader, be. Like the free-spirited May, it invites you to stop by and dwell on its scenes of domesticity and intimacy. It makes you pause and admire the beautiful sentences. It compels you to reflect on the natural and psychological landscapes it depicts, as well as on the complex interactions of its characters.


At nearly 500 pages, this book involves a significant time commitment. It also requires a considerable emotional investment due to some of the sensitive matters it addresses (in a tactful way, it must be said). But it is well worth the effort. Like all good literature, its characters will grow on you as the pages and seasons pass. And when you turn to the last few pages, you will feel already nostalgic, like you are saying so long to a dear friend.  

Reviewed by

Content strategist. Founding member of Bogotá Writers, where I have contributed short stories to two anthologies, with a third forthcoming soon. I write in English and Spanish, and have been published by After Dinner Conversation, Short Édition and Letralia. I read for Reedsy and Short Édition.

About the author

MISH CROMER is a writer and therapist from London. Drawing on her cultural heritage of Greece and the southern USA, she writes novels about the complexities of family, with a focus on women's narratives and the meaning of home. She has three children and lives in London with her husband. view profile

Published on November 15, 2021

Published by Cinnamon Press

130000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Reviewed by