I am a firm believer in the idea that things happen for a reason…especially when it comes to books. Even more so when I am searching for a book to feature in one of our Characters & Candles Boxes (this book is in our July box!).
Because this book resonated so deeply with me personally, I wanted to share why I chose this book and then tell you why I love it.
Yes, this book has a great summer-themed cover. Yes, it’s got a phrase that I find myself saying often: You’ve got to give yourself (and others) a little bit of grace. But, there is so much more.
First, was the appearance of the name “Marilyn Martin” in this book. While she’s a very, very minor character, her name jumped out at me. Marilyn Martin is the name of my husband’s grandmother who recently passed. She was a dynamic and sweet woman who traveled often and loved her family deeply.
Second, the main character, Grace, is in a bit of an identity crisis. She is struggling to figure out who she is and what she wants. As a woman who has now officially entered into the “middle aged” phase of her life, seen all of her children graduate, and embarked on a new career choice, I connected with Grace almost immediately. That we share a lackluster sense of fashion sense and have had reasons in our life to examine our internal biases makes us incredibly similar.
And finally, I chose this book because it addresses the struggle and pain that is often associated with someone coming out to their family. This is a story that I have seen played out in my own family. I’ve seen first-hand the pain that an inability to accept someone as their true and authentic self can cause. I’ve seen fear and judgment cause rifts and I have also seen how acceptance and love can mend all wounds.
And while that may sound like a lot for a book to tackle, I promise you, Phoebe Fox does it with, well, with a tremendous amount of grace. And laughs. So many laughs.
This book explores several stages in a woman’s life and the role that family and friends can play in that.
It is a story of transformation and forgiveness.
It is a reminder that who we are is not defined by our gender, skin color, age, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
That a little bit of sass in our step, a brightly colored wardrobe, and good friends can change our lives.
And that being our authentic self is the only way to be truly happy.
Family is everything—Grace Adams McHale’s mom must have said it to her a thousand times before she died. Before Grace’s dad ran off with an aspiring actress half his age. Before only-child Grace found out she was unable to have children of her own. Before Brian—her childhood best friend, business partner, and finally her husband—dropped a “bombshell” on her in the form of her stunning new replacement.
Which means Grace now has…nothing.
Until she receives a letter from a woman claiming to be a relative Grace never knew she had, sending her on a journey from the childhood home she had to move back into, to a Florida island to meet a total stranger who embraces her as family. There, Grace starts to uncover answers about the eccentric woman her family never mentioned: a larger-than-life octogenarian who is the keeper of a secret held for more than fifty years, and the ultimate inspiration to always be true to yourself. As Grace gets to know this woman and picks up the pieces of her own shattered life, she is forced to question whether she can find forgiveness for the unforgivable.