Book Review: Saving Grace by Jane Green
Saving Grace by Jane Green
You discover very early on in this contemporary novel that the main character, Grace, appears to have the perfect life, but in reality she is in an unhappy marriage. Grace lives with her husband Ted in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State. He is a bestselling novelist and they appear to have an enviable life. But his book sales aren’t what they used to be, and after 25 years of marriage, Grace is walking on eggshells with his unpredictable moody behaviour. The only thing enabling them to function as a couple is their able assistant Ellen.
But Ellen is forced to give up her role to care for her mother. Grace’s life begins to fall apart when she realises she can’t take on all the work that Ellen has done in the past – everything from paying the bills, to social media updates, to typing up Ted’s notes. So when they advertise for a new assistant and a young woman, Beth, walks into their lives and she organises everything so efficiently, Grace feels she is a Godsend. But it is not long before Beth seems to be taking over her life. She starts dressing like Grace, attending functions with her husband instead of Grace – and Grace finds herself being side-lined by this increasingly ambitious woman.
The tag line on the cover to this book is ‘a perfect stranger wants her perfect life’ – but the twist in this tale is that Grace’s life isn’t perfect, but Beth doesn’t know that. All she can see is the literary star husband and the dream house. What happens next in this light, but page-turning novel will surprise the reader, and it touches a little on the subjects of mental illness and domestic abuse.
Grace is a dedicated cook in the book, and the book is full of recipes – but I don’t think this part of the novel works. The recipes don’t seem to be there for any real reason, and they feel like a means to pad the book out. But that aside, I think this is a great read, perfect to while away a weekend afternoon.