Sunday, 28 September 2014

Review: Saving Grace by Jane Green

**** 4 Stars

I really enjoy Jane Green books and this one sounded like another winner from the blurb. 
I actually found this one a little different from a normal Jane Green, the subject matter just a little darker.

The Blurb

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.

Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.   

My Thoughts      

Grace Chapman, has been married  to bestselling author Ted Chapman for 25 years. On the outside they have what appears to be the perfect marriage, Ted is charming and they live in a beautiful house, attending lots of high society functions. Grace loves to cook and does charity work for a local halfway type house for women looking to get themselves back on their feet. Grace has the perfect life. What people don't see is that Ted's moods are very much up & down and when they are down these moods are taken out on Grace.

At the start of the book they are just losing Ted's personal assistant, Ellen who is leaving them to go and look after her mother. Ellen is the one person that keeps Ted in his place and keeps everything running smoothly. Just as Grace is thinking about looking for a new assistant, Beth walks into their lives at a charity gala, she seems a perfect fit for the job but Grace has her reservations. Ted however gets on well with Beth so Grace decides to hire her. 

Grace had a very difficult childhood whilst living in England. Her mother suffered from manic depression and died at a relatively young age, whilst at university Grace spends a lot of time with her best friend and her family who take her under their wing. Very few people know the secrets that Grace keeps about her early years as she keeps them buried deep.

At first Beth seems wonderful, always happy to help out and take on extra tasks but slowly she starts to insert herself deeper & deeper into Grace & Ted's life leaving Grace to feel that she is slowly going mad. One night things all become to much and the unthinkable happens causing Grace to flee to England to the only family she has ever really known. This leads to Grace trying to find herself again and gain the strength she needs to confront Ted and Beth.

I loved that this book was so much darker than anything I have read by Jan Green before. The book seems to settle somewhere between chick-lit and a psychological thriller and I love both genres. I found Grace a totally engaging character, a strong woman who is battling her demons hoping that she hasn't inherited her mothers psychological problems. Green also touches slightly on the theme of domestic abuse, whilst Ted is never violent towards Grace it is clear that she has to tread very carefully whilst he is one of this moods, which seemed more often than not.

I despised the character of Ted, hated him with a passion and was willing Grace not to return to him. He was one of those character that you find yourself wanting to shout out but not being able to as you are reading in public. 

Having been touched by the issue of domestic abuse and having dealt with a family member who suffers from mental health issues this book really touched me and I found myself emotionally invested from the start. At times it was a little bit predictable but overall it was a great read that kept me hooked from start to finish. One thing I would lose though is the recipes that feature a lot at the end of the chapters.

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