Pious young Grace Kettle escapes the world of her unsavoury and bullying father to train to be a nun. But when she meets the dashing and devout Father Luke her world is turned upside down. Her faith is tested and she is driven to make a scandalous and life-changing choice – one she may well spend the rest of her days seeking forgiveness for…
What I Thought:
Thanks mainly to the dearth of what we would now call YA books, in my formative years, I tended to read a lot of sagas – borrowed from the library ‘for my mum’, I read a lot of Catherine Cookson, Barbara Taylor Bradford and their like. I’ve not really picked up what I would term as a ‘saga’ for quite a while now, so I thought I would give A Mother’s Grace a go.
Rosie Goodwin’s novel is the third in a series of standalone novels connected by the theme of the old rhyme ‘Monday’s Child is Fair of Face…’. I’ve not read any of the other books in the series but, although some secondary characters appear in all three novels, I’ve been told that you don’t have to read the others to enjoy this book, and they’re fine to be read out of order.
On the whole, this was an enjoyable read. Much like those sagas of old, the heroine, Grace, is likeable and puts up with her hardships with stoicism and a can-do attitude. When she finally decides to become a nun, she commits to it wholeheartedly and doesn’t shirk hard work and the deprivations that her choice entails – until loves comes into the picture!
There is a definite formula to these types of novels, but that certainly isn’t to say that the story that Rosie Goodwin has written is predictable and there were lots of elements in Grace’s story that came as a surprise. When I hear this book spoken about it is described as ‘heart-warming’ and it certainly succeeds in that as, you know however Grace suffers, it will work out ok in the end…
While I am happy to recommend the book, there were a couple of things that tested my patience as I was reading. You know those stock phrases that authors use to describe fainting, or someone turning pale with shock? There are lots of ways to describe those things but I found that Rosie Goodwin used the same stock phrases repeatedly – ‘the colour drained from his face’, ‘the ground rose up to meet her’. I know that this will not bother many, many people, but the repetition drew me out of the story and I wondered that an editor didn’t pick it up and recommend alternatives. This is a small, nit-picky point, but one I feel that needs to be considered as it affected my experience of reading the book.
Despite that very minor point, I would be happy to read Rosie Goodwin’s books in future and, considering that she has a quite extensive back catalogue, there is plenty to choose from.
A Mother’s Grace is published by Bonnier Zaffre. To find out more about Rosie Goodwin, you can check out her website where you can also find out about Memory Lane, a community for those who read and write historical sagas.
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.