Eithne Shortall comes to the blog with her US Debut today, a contemporary woman’s fiction title about moving on after tragedy in
Grace After Henry
Starting with a particularly grim description of Henry’s demise, we learn of his fiancé Grace, their plans for their life, and their relationship up to this point when suddenly, Grace’s life is upended and she’s struggling to discover the ‘point of it all’. With the sudden loss, we get all the phases of Grace’s grief: regrets, what ifs, moments and memories of their relationships, even remembered conversations that pop from funny to poignant, and the questions that always arise when you lose someone, with or without notice. Fortunately for Grace (and adding levels and layers to the story) are the secondary characters that Grace encounters, from her lovely parents to the “Three Wise Men” as regular fixtures at the graveyard and their clever quips and solid examples of life after loss.
Making Grace’s life even more difficult in the midst of loss, when all she really wants is to have Henry back is her ‘seeing’ him everywhere – on the street, in the shops, even in the man, Adam, who comes to fix the boiler. It’s one thing to live with the loss that she’s almost not quite processing with the constant flashbacks to conversations and moments, but to see him EVERYWHERE is wholly unnerving. But, Adam just may have more to his resemblance to Henry than she could have imagined. And what brings even more emotion into the story is the way Shortall wove the issues of adoption forced onto single mothers by the church, and the long-lasting questions and discoveries that follow the adoptees for their entire lives with the ‘closed’ and ‘lost’ records. While it may seem as if Grace started out in many ways ‘substituting’ Adam for Henry, the connections between the two men and her recognition of those similarities seemed to allow her to move along in her grief, and choices, never simple are made – best for all around.
Quite an intriguing view of grief, loss and the universe bringing answers and more questions as Grace moves forward after the loss of Henry, allowing for the occasional bad choices and unusual directions as new footing is found. With the addition of friends and family, all experiencing their own reactions to the loss of Henry, or having experienced losses of their own, each serves as a touchstone for Grace, letting her move to and fro with memories, emotions and toward her new ‘what next’. A wholly unexpected story that feels very ‘Irish’ in both intention and execution – the flair for a story that has readers engaged and waiting for the next moment be it laughter or tears, all pulling at heartstrings and memories of those lost in our own lives. Pulling at emotions and curiosity with equal measure, Shortall’s writing and characters are those you want to know and wish the best for.
Title: Grace After Henry
Author: Eithne Shortall
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Humor elements, Irish, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Ireland
Published by: Putnam Adult
Published on: 12 March, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 4 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible
A quirky love story set in Dublin that’s perfect for fans of PS, I Love You and Jojo Moyes, Grace After Henry is a funny, heartfelt debut novel about one woman learning what it means to move on and to let go
When her fiancé, Henry Walsh, is killed in a freak biking accident, Grace feels like she’s lost her own shadow. For five years, they’d been inseparable: five years of the most rollicking, soul-finding love Grace thought any two people could share. In his absence, Grace picks up the pieces of her life: She moves into the dream house they bought together, she returns to work as a chef, she watches TV with her nosy elderly neighbor, but through it all she’s ever aware of the Henry-shaped hole in her life.
Until his long-lost twin brother knocks on her door.
Andy is Henry, and yet he’s not quite. Newly arrived in Dublin on his own search for answers, he makes Grace’s loss feel both greater and smaller. Soon Grace isn’t sure if she’s learning to let go or becoming desperate to hold on. Filled with a warm and zany cast of characters all searching for a sense of home, Grace After Henry is a funny, tender, and bittersweet story about love, loss, and second chances.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: