Monday, January 5, 2015

Book Review: Saving Grace

US cover
Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue. To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity. With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Amy Bromberg:

This is a very special book to me because Jane mentioned me (AND Melissa!) in the acknowledgements. I remember the day that Melissa sent me an email with the subject “You’re going to have to sit down for this.” It was a picture of the acknowledgements for the UK version. I started jumping up and down! Such an honor.

As opposed to Jane’s other novels, this one has a little darkness and suspense. I have to say it’s quite nice to add a few “ingredients” that are not usually part of the norm. She brings the reader on an emotional ride with Grace and her family’s history of bipolar disorder. I also like how the ending wasn’t tied up all pretty like a bow. This makes things more realistic and relatable, because life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

It was slow in the beginning, but once I got to about the middle, I couldn’t put it down. That unexpected twists and turns kept me EXTREMELY interested.

Saving Grace is an intricate look at marriage, relationships and at what can really happen behind closed doors. It goes to show that no matter how perfect something may appear from the outside, very often it isn’t always the case. I highly recommend this one, like I do with all Jane Green’s novels.

Melissa Amster:

Saving Grace is definitely a change from what I'm used to from Jane Green. It's darker than her previous novels and deals with an issue that not many of us pay much heed to. However, her essence still shines through. (Especially when she talks about food and home decorating.) I found myself getting caught up in the story and cringing for Grace whenever things started falling apart for her. The flow of the story was great, but some of the flashback scenes tended to interrupt the pacing. I'd want the action to continue and suddenly we'd be transported back to Grace's youth. I also would have liked to read chapters from Beth's point of view, or even see Jane through her best friend Sybil's eyes. I liked that the story didn't end neatly and that there were some loose ties. However, I was satisfied with the decisions Grace made for herself.

On a personal note, I could understand why Grace felt how she did in regards to worrying about turning into her mother, who had bipolar disorder. There was a somewhat distant relative in my family who had mental illness (I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I know they weren't able to live on their own after a while). When I was a kid, I was scared of them, especially when they would call at random times and yell at me if my mom wasn't around for them to yell at. If my mom was mad at me about something, she would try to compare me to this relative. Maybe trying to make such comparisons was helpful because my attempts to prove I was nothing like this relative strengthened me overall. So given that Grace's mother was a direct relation, I could see how scary and stressful the possibility of becoming like her must have been for Grace her entire life.

UK cover
Of course, my review would not be complete without casting ideas. I hope these live up to the ones I chose for Tempting Fate.

Grace: I'm back and forth between Maria Doyle Kennedy and Julia Ormond.
Ted: Pierce Brosnan
Beth: Amy Smart
Sybil: Nia Vardalos
Patrick (Grace's friend from her teen years): Dougray Scott
Clemmie (Ted and Grace's daughter): Emmy Rossum

Thanks to Sarah Hall Productions and Pan Macmillan for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Jane Green:


Janine said...

Fabulous review. This sounds like a very interesting book.

karen said...

I am reading this now and already seeing the sinister side Grace can't see.