Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Saving Grace

Author: Jane Green
Genre: Women's Fiction, Modern Fiction
Type: Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: St Martin's Press
First Published: December 30, 2014
First Line: "There are only so many hours Grace can stay away from home."

Book Description from GoodReads:  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.

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and St Martin's Press for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

My Review:  Jane Green has a solid reputation as an author of women's fiction.  Many years ago I had read one of her books and remember enjoying it.  But it wasn't until last month that I picked up another book by Green -- Another Piece Of My Heart and listened to the e-audio version.   Unfortunately that book, and sadly, Saving Grace haven't lived up to my expectations for this popular author.

I found Saving Grace to be very predictable.  You could see Beth's 'game' a mile away but I gave the author some leeway and assumed she'd throw some big twist at the reader.  This never happened.   As soon as Beth told Grace to email her references warning bells went off in my head (as would most people) but sadly, not in dear Grace's head. 

Another deal breaker for me is when I don't feel connected to the main character.  This was the case with Grace.  Sure, I felt bad that her world was crumbling down around her but it was Grace's personality and lack of strength that got to me quickly.  She was cowed by her verbally abusive husband and seemed a little dim for having to farm out dealing with the day-to-day issues to a stranger and couldn't even pay bills or organize a kitchen pantry on her own.  I think she was supposed to be some Martha Stewart-type woman ... and at times she was with her cooking etc but she definitely didn't have any power.  

Grace was then pushed out of her life and marriage much too easily to be believable with the final straw that pushes her over the edge being the fact that tables, chairs and appropriate napkins weren't delivered for one of her famous 'do's'.  It was silly and the fact that she doesn't see who was behind it immediately is laughable.  It's this continual acceptance of the events that happen to her without asking for help, second opinions or even just standing up for herself that I found frustrating.  She struggles to make any decisions for herself for the entire book.

There was also a unique addition to the book that I wasn't expecting.  There were several recipes included throughout the book and while I realize that Grace enjoys to cook I wasn't sold on including these recipes in a contemporary fiction read.  They felt like an afterthought or a distraction more than a bonus.

Finally, there were some loose ends that weren't tied up by the end of the book and I find that frustrating.  For example, why did the reader not find out the motive of the psychiatrist?  Why was so much time devoted to the back story involving Grace's mom?  Why did Beth zone in on Grace's family specifically?  

In the end, this book was not a hit with me.  With no twists or turns, cliched characters and a very predictable plot this book felt like it should be a movie of the week.  This was not the kind of book I was expecting from a seasoned author like Jane Green.

My Rating: 2/5 stars 


Janine K said...

That's so disappointing! I have this on hold in audiobook at work, and I have read most of Jane's books and really enjoyed them all. She narrates her own audio books as well.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I listened to one of her books recently and her narration negatively influenced the book for me. She read it well but her British accent while reading American characters kept distracting me. She talked about the east coast and I kept thinking the east coast of England, not the US.

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