Gillian Tindall’s Give Them All My Love, the story of a killing in which she examines complex themes concerning love, revenge, justice and the nature of grief, is a tour de force, the most compelling novel she has ever written.
The story opens with the narrator, Tom, in a prison cell: some traumatic, violent event has taken place. We realise its perpetrator must be Tom himself, though he speaks of ‘love’. The action shifts to a Court of Law, but we have gone back some years and Tom is there not as prisoner but as judge: Justice of the Peace, one-time headmaster, author, he is a respected figure. But he is also a man weighted with a double tragedy – the untimely death of his first wife, and the more terrible death of his daughter in an apparently senseless accident.
A random event during that day in Court carries Tom back in memory to a far more distant period: his youth in France where he was writing a thesis on the Resistance, his meeting with a compelling figure from that world, living in retirement in the Creuse, and with the girl who becomes his wife. Other memories both good and bad now rise to the surface, together with a long-buried enmity and anger which belatedly stirs Tom into an obsessional private enquiry into the circumstances of his daughter’s death.
Across the false trails and competing claims of Tom’s life, past and present, haunting patterns begin to emerge, till the reader, like the narrator, forsees what will come but not how.