Title: When Grace Went Away
Author: Meredith Appleyard
Published: May 18th 2020, HQ Fiction
Status: Read May 2020, courtesy Harlequin Au
A thoughtful, well-crafted story of a mother and daughter at a crossroads, When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard explores the themes of family, love, grief, regret, and forgiveness.
While financial analyst Grace Fairley is excited about her new posting to London, leaving behind her mother Sarah is difficult. Estranged from Grace’s father and siblings in the wake of tragedy, Sarah will be on her own in Adelaide, and Grace fears she’ll be needed and unable to help.
Sarah is happy about her daughter’s well-deserved promotion but once Grace is gone, the only link to her son, daughter and grandchildren is lost. With nothing keeping her in Adelaide she decides to return to Miners Ridge, the small rural town where her family still lives, and attempt to rebuild her relationship with her children.
Told from the perspectives of Grace and her mother, Sarah, one woman is faced with making decisions about her future, while the other is looking to reconcile her past. This is an emotional, layered story that explores a wide variety of issues including the process of grief, family dysfunction, addiction, illness, and long distance romance, as well as challenges related to farming, FIFO, career ambition, and small communities.
I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much is because the two main characters are of a ‘mature’ age – Grace is in her early 40’s and Sarah in her late 60’s – and even though I have little in common with either of them, I found it refreshing to have the focus on familiar contemporary themes and issues from the perspective of those closer to my age group. There is a sincerity and realism to the actions and emotions of the characters which meant I became invested in their journey.
I found When Grace Went Away to be an engaging, poignant, and satisfying read, and I enthusiastically recommend it to readers who enjoy contemporary women’s fiction.
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3 thoughts on “Review: When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard”
I really enjoyed this one as well.
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Not entirely sure if this is for me, but I do agree that reading characters that are closer to my age makes a difference — even in thrillers and mysteries. That perspective can’t be underestimated.
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