Book Giveaway & Toni's Review of Grace by T. Greenwood ***3 Stars***

T. Greenwood’s extraordinary novels, deftly combining lyrical prose with heartrending subject matter, have earned her acclaim as a “family-damage specialist” (Kirkus). Now she explores one year in a family poised to implode, and the imperfect love that may be its only salvation.

Every family photograph hides a story. Some are suffused with warmth and joy, others reflect the dull ache of disappointed dreams. For thirteen-year-old Trevor Kennedy, taking photos helps make sense of his fractured world. His father, Kurt, struggles to keep a business going while also caring for Trevor’s aging grandfather, whose hoarding has reached dangerous levels. Trevor’s mother, Elsbeth, all but ignores her son while doting on his five-year-old sister, Gracy, and pilfering useless drugstore items.

Trevor knows he can count on little Gracy’s unconditional love and his art teacher’s encouragement. None of that compensates for the bullying he has endured at school for as long as he can remember. But where Trevor once silently tolerated the jabs and name-calling, now anger surges through him in ways he’s powerless to control.

Only Crystal, a store clerk dealing with her own loss, sees the deep fissures in the Kennedy family—in the haunting photographs Trevor brings to be developed, and in the palpable distance between Elsbeth and her son. And as their lives become more intertwined, each will be pushed to the breaking point, with shattering, unforeseeable consequences.


This is going to be a very mixed review. I was amazed at the quality of writing but disappointed in the story. Grace is a very heart wrenching story. It focuses on four character point-of-views, with their common link being Gracy, a beautiful vibrant little girl.

·         Kurt – Gracy’s father.  He is hard working and struggling to keep his family healthy and happy.  Now he also has to shoulder the problems of his ailing father.
·         Elsbeth – Gracy’s Mother – Unhappy with her choices in life and wondering what could have been.  She is connected to one child and detached from the other.  She is struggling with her identity.
·         Trevor – Gracy’s Brother – A trouble young man who has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He always feels alone and misunderstood.  Not to mention the troubles of becoming a man.
·         Crystal – Passing Acquaintance - A young woman at a crossroads.  She has similarities to Elsbeth.  She is battling the fallout from a life changing choice and is drawn into the Kennedy family problems.

I felt each character individually and their turmoil.  Ms. Greenwood’s style of writing is wonderful and the flow of the storytelling was very well done.  I was never confused and always had a clear view of whose portion of the story was being told. 

The beginning sequence of Grace really drew me in.  Why would a father have a gun to his only son’s head?  I can’t remember a book that had me wanting to sneak a peek at the ending more.  It grabbed me, but the hold was not very strong.  These characters were riddled with problems, secrets and oddities.

This was a slow and agonizing journey for me.  I think I didn’t like it 100% because I’m not used to this type of storytelling.  There was no romance, suspense or reason for the story.  Grace was a no holds bar look into the troubled lives of these four people.  I saw the not so good, very bad and the disturbingly ugly.  I was sad or angry throughout most of the story.  This book really highlights the importance of open communication.  Their personal problems were so apparent, but each had their own demons to fight and it was amazing how utterly alone they all felt.  I wanted to help each of them so much, but I felt trapped watching their lives crumble.

·         Am I sorry I read Grace?  No, not really
·         Will I be thinking about this novel in the near future?  Yes, their stories were that heartbreaking
·         Will I read other books written by Ms. Greenwood?  Hmmm, I’m not sure.  I don’t like sad stories.

So all-in-all, Grace is a very well written book.  I cannot fault Ms. Greenwood on the quality of the story, writing or development of the characters.  It just isn’t my cup of tea.  I read to escape and this story was not an escape for me.  Ms. Greenwood does live up to her title of the “family-damage specialist”.  After reading this story I need a quick dose of happily ever after.

Thanks for reading - Toni

Book Giveaway!!

I'm giving away my ARC copy to one lucky person.  Please be sure to read the terms and conditions.

Good luck and I can't wait to see your responses!

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Chrisbails said…
This book sounds interesting. I do like sad stories. I love a good cry. This is a new author for me. Will have to add this book to my must read list. Thanks for the giveaway.
lilymo said…
This kind of appeals to me because a couple of my favorite books don't have a happy ending and it was the characters in the book that made it worth the read. Just like a book without character development and a happy ending wouldn't really appeal to me.

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