Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs here https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/
Cathy has been reading Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford
This was quite a dark, although sensitively addressed story, and one that emphasises how easily someone can get sucked in to situations they feel unable to control.
Grace was just sixteen when she met Neil, and not much older when she became pregnant. Neil had charmed Grace from the beginning but she saw another side of him when she told him she was expecting their child. He didn’t want to know and made his feelings plain. This was the first sign of his true character and a precursor of what was to come.
A moment ago I was fifteen, lying on my bed watching Rihanna and Katy Perry on YouTube, my legs swinging in time with the music.
A moment ago I was meeting Neil for the first time, at some stupid party.
Run, run away.
In an about face, Neil decides to take responsibility and asks Grace to marry him. Grace’s plans for university morph into dreams of a happy home life with a loving husband and beautiful baby, but real life is nothing like she imagined. Instead Grace becomes exhausted with a fussy baby and no help from her husband who acts like he’s still single.
Grace descends into an abusive and manipulating relationship, which sees Neil’s cruelty and deviousness escalate, making it look like Grace is at fault. Although Grace tries to take back control of her life, things get even worse as Grace feels betrayed by her parents and spirals into a desperate situation that includes homelessness, alcohol abuse, prostitution, physical and mental abuse.
Grace and Serenity is hard hitting, shocking and emotional. Events are seen through Grace’s eyes in all their stark reality. Annalisa Crawford pulls no punches in this all too plausible and heartbreaking story. The writing is full of imagery with a touch of the paranormal and without going into unnecessary, gratuitous details, evoking a myriad of emotions.
It’s a compelling story and, although I couldn’t see how, I really hoped Grace would somehow get her life back on track.
Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.
At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.
The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.
But nothing ever comes for free.