Unable to ignore the haunting photographs that 13-year-old Trevor Kennedy brings in to be developed, Crystal, a store clerk dealing with her own loss, finds her life colliding with this troubled boy whose family is about to be pushed to the breaking point. (from Google Books)
T. Greenwood is a favorite of mine. Her prose is pitch-perfect and heart wrenching. She manages to capture the human experience with a keen eye. I cannot rave enough about her. Her latest novel, Grace, is no exception. We return to Two Rivers to meet the Kennedy's and a teenage mother who just gave up her baby for adoption. The way their worlds collide is significant, dramatic, and so real.
Kurt is a lovable character. One thing about Greenwood is that she is able to show character flaws in a beautiful light. Each of her characters are very human, realistic. The patriarch of the Kennedy family is flawed but he is heroic. He may not handle things the way he should. He doesn't realize until the end just how poorly he's treated his son, but the reader is left with a glimmer of hope that he has changed. His father is an ass and that seems to occupy a lot of Kurt's thoughts.
Elsbeth is someone who made my heart ache. She longed for things she would never have. There was always such a sense of loss with her. And the juxtaposition between her and Crystal was a stroke of sheer brilliance on Greenwood's part. The woman who kept the baby when she was a teenager, married the boy, and stayed is yearning for freedom while Crystal, who gave up her baby and the boy who impregnated her won't have anything to do with her, wants that life.
Trevor is an interesting character. I felt bad for him because he was the scapegoat for everything. And the topic of bullying has been a huge one lately, and I think Greenwood captured the significance of the problem perfectly.
Crystal was probably my favorite character. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because, out of all the characters, she was the one who stood up for herself. She made her decision and went with it, rather than letting life happen to her.
All of these characters encircle Grace. She is always in the background but she is such a poignant centerpiece for the whole novel.
What I love about Greenwood is her characterization, among other things. Each character breathes with life and becomes more than just names squished between the pages in a book. They become people I am familiar with, like an old friend. Her plotting drives forward like an avalanche and I often wonder where she is going with things and then she throws in surprise curves that make you keep reading.
Grace is compelling and dramatic and beautifully written. It is not escapist literature by any means, but it is enjoyable to read and her words carry you away on a comforting ride. I highly recommend this novel and any by T. Greenwood to anyone looking for intelligent reading.