One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.
She doesn’t scream or break something or cry or curl into a ball. She simply abandons her car and walks away.
But not from life – towards it. To the daughter who won’t live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart…
Today she’ll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten. But Grace is about to remind them.
Thank you to Eloise at Michael Joseph for sending me an early copy of Amazing Grace Adams. Coming out early next year there has been a lot of hype about this one and I was excited to read it.
We meet Grace Adams at a difficult time in her life, as she abandons her car in traffic and walks away. The story then unfolds and is told in a range of time frames – now, and at different points in the past. Told this way we meet different versions of Grace, full of promise in her youth; excelling in languages, to the woman we meet now, on the verge of a breakdown. Gradually it becomes clearer as we learn of her fractured relationship with her teenage daughter and her broken marriage stemming from a devasting trauma some years previously.
I liked this story a lot along with many others, as evidenced already on social media. Grace was a rounded, flawed and authentic character but showed strength and resilience throughout her journey. Her journey, which in this story was both Grace’s adult life and this one day as she determinedly continued her mission on foot.
Told in the third person but exclusively form Grace’s perspective, we walk with her on this journey and share her pain, past and present. I mentioned previously Grace’s strength and this was what resonated most with me, but her story was sad, heartbreaking and moving in equal measure. I think Amazing Grace Adams – because this woman is amazing, is a character who will stay with her readers and be mentioned in years to come.
I can’t say too much more about this novel as I don’t want to spoil, however this character driven novel is a winner, engaging and relatable and I am certain will hold wide appeal. Short chapters add to the readability but I did find I had to notice the time frame as this did vary and required a bit of tracking.
About the Author
Fran has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway University of London. She was taught by Andrew Motion and passed with distinction. Before that she worked as a journalist, including a stint at The Times. She lives in London with her husband, an electronic music producer and composer, and their three girls. Amazing Grace Adams is her debut novel.