REVIEW: Grace Me With Your Presents, by Pippa Franks

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Grace Carter is nearing her 40th birthday and her only daughter has just left for college. She’s unsure about reconnecting with her husband and wrestles with a secret she’s kept since before her marriage. As she’s about to tell her husband her secret, she’s called away to her childhood town to help her aunt recover from a broken hip.

While there, Grace rediscovers things about herself and learns quite a bit about her family and neighbors. Ripe for personal change and growth, Grace evolves quickly and so does her involvement in the little town of Eskton. The secondary characters are richly drawn and have distinct, quirky characteristics. The way that each relationship is explored, and each character revealed, from Grace’s interactions with her college-bound daughter at the very beginning of the book, to her conversations with the drunk vicar, have so much relate-able truth to them. The interactions between Tippy and George are wonderfully written, and I very much enjoyed getting to know Jemima, Grace’s aunt.

I did have some issues with the way the plot developed. In my opinion, there is a good deal of foreshadowing and it becomes fairly heavy-handed at times. I found myself wishing, when I finished the book, that there was less lead up to the big reveal and more exploring its impacts on the characters involved. There is a second surprise that’s very well designed, but I wished it had been explored more. As a U.S. reader, I both enjoyed and was confused by some of the colloquialisms used in the narrative. The language gave the story a flavor that I liked and, since I wasn’t accustomed to some of the words, made me more aware of just how universal the themes in this story really are.

All in all, I enjoyed the book very much and will read other books by this author, but I do feel that a bit more editing in some places, and a bit more exploration in others, would have done this book good.


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