From the description of Saving Grace, I thought I would love it. It’s billed as the story of Grace Grayson-Wiley, a reclusive old woman. She is the subject of small-town gossip because of her annual vigils on the night of the Splendor Belle Gala on her front porch, dressed in the dress she wore the night her love and hope for marriage stood her up.
The blurb on the book also mentions the story is about four women, introduced in a previous novel who decide to help Grace in an effort to strengthen their bond of their own friendship. “Will their joint project instead tear them apart forever?”
The book itself didn’t seem to live up to this description. First, the story focused much more on the lives of the women in the friendship than it did on the story of Grace Grayson-Wiley, and while her story was interesting–even a mystery of sorts that isn’t unravelled until the end–the story of the women never threatens the dissolution of their friendship, so it didn’t feel that the stakes were as high as suggested.
That’s not to say that the lives of the women don’t spark interest in the story–Naomi is the new bride of a man with a teenage daughter who doesn’t seem impressed with her, Gayle is fighting suspicions that something is wrong with her husband, Rosemary is keeping a beau at bay while dealing with the return of her grown daughter, and Lucy fears she will never find true love, thinking herself unworthy of the right kind of man. Although the story is told from the viewpoint of Naomi, its in Lucy’s voice that the author seems most at home.
But I found it difficult, despite their descriptions to pin down the age of the characters, who seemed to waver between thinking of themselves as senior citizens to acting like giddy teenagers. While I cared about whether Lucy finally gave in to love and what might be wrong with Gayle’s husband, I just wasn’t invested enough in the characters to drive me to keep reading. It wasn’t one of those books that called me from my nightstand when I had to put it down.
At times it felt as if the story were interrupted by fashion news. One paragraph reads: “Lucy tugged her black cardigan on over her white turtle-neck. Her full pink skirt, which shrouded her hips while accenting the inward nip of her waist, swished over her white stockings as her black flaps slapped out a rushed pace as she went to meet Ben.”
I wished I could peel these details away and get to the story, because the story itself had potential and the dynamic between the characters and the mystery of Grace Grayson-Wiley were worth reading about.
To be fair, this was the second in a series of books, the first of which I have not read, and it’s possible that reading the first book would ground me deeper in the character’s identities.
Note: I received this book as an ebook from Multnomah Waterbrook Publishers in exchange for my honest review.