Writing: 5 Plot: 5 Characters: 5
I absolutely loved this book — just as I loved her latest book, Clover Blue. The author has such a luminous voice, and Grace — the 11-year old center of the story — completely captured my heart from the first page. There is something compelling about a young voice trying to make sense of the world. I think it must be the start from innocence — it feels fresher and unsullied.
Grace is born with a gift she calls “The Knowing.” She sometimes knows when something is going to happen, she can sense illness and sometimes heal, and she can always talk to her twin brother Isaac — who she remembers from the womb but who never made it into the world alive. Her father is a preacher who worries that Grace’s talents are the work of the devil, while Grace (and Isaac) believe it is a gift from God. And therein lies the context of this delicate and unique coming-of-age story set in rural Michigan in the 60s.
Gorgeous, exquisite, writing; perfect pacing; an array of characters that pull at your heartstrings; and a beautiful, beautiful, ending.
Some great quotes:
“My teachers call me a day-dreamer, but I’m not dreaming. The me who goes places in my head is a lot more awake than the bored me sitting at my desk.”
“I love the soft flesh of Mama’s warm palm against my own even though sometimes I feel a deep sorrow through her skin. Mama usually does a good job of hiding behind her preacher’s wife smile, but sometimes her crinkled forehead gives her away.”
“Daddy tends to leave a dent in soft things. Not just because he’s big, but because he means to. Everything about him is heavy, from his voice to the way his food lands on the floor. Sometimes just in the way he looks at you.”
“Not having Mama as part of our family is like having the thread slip from the needle. She pulled us all into this world and we need her to keep us sewn together.”
“It’s not what I was expecting. And no, I didn’t know that. Lately I feel like a chipped plate at a table set for company.”
“But I can feel him. I feel his loneliness and his sadness as if they were my own. Maybe they are mine. Maybe the reason we get along so well is because we know exactly how the other feels”
“Everyone is offered this gift, but most people turn away from it at a very young age. Truth frightens people. You’re one of the brave ones.”