If you’ve read (or heard me talk about) my first novel A Strange Companion, you’ll know I do love a good grief story. I have a bit of an obsession with grief, mostly because it’s such a complex topic, and yet so universal, and I’m always interested to read the point-of-view of others. Grace After Henry, a story about the aftermath of loss, examines the question of whether a lost love one can ever be replaced.
After the sudden death of her partner, Henry, Grace is trying figure out how to go on with the life they had planned together. She’s struggling along, when Henry’s long-lost twin brother turns up on her doorstep looking at lot like a good replacement for the man she’s lost. Suddenly, “Henry” is back in her life, and Grace is pulled into the way things were…until she realizes that things aren’t the same at all, and that she’s hiding from her grief in a make-believe world.
Why I Loved It
I enjoy a book that gets real about grief, without sliding into the maudlin. Bonus points if it captures the humor that so often accompanies grief. Set in Dublin and capturing that wicked Irish sense-of-humor, Grace After Henry is a funny, poignant, and very real look at life after loss. It doesn’t linger on the sadness, but focuses instead on the way the mind works when grieving, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to cope with loss.
What I Learned as a Writer
While story is key, what really brings the world of a book to life is the cast of supporting characters. I looked forward to scenes with Grace’s outrageous parents, her no-nonsense BFF, and her cadre of fellow mourners at the city cemetery.
Read This Book If…
You enjoy a wry sense of humor (think Derry Girls, but further south) and stories populated by colorful, quirky characters.