LETTERS FROM GRACE
Page Publishing, Inc. (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (08/2020)
“Letters from Grace,” by Priscilla Audette, is a compelling family drama that may echo your own. This is a story that opens quite innocently–siblings sifting through their mother’s clothes and other belongings following her death from pancreatic cancer. They share memories of her as they talk. Some of the memories bring up an array of emotions. And then there are the letters, and this opens up a secret that could alter the way the siblings feel about each other. They are led to question their own mother, a woman they thought they knew well. “Letters from Grace” is a story about the Quinn’s, but it could be a story about your family, or any other family in America. This award-winning author brings you into the Quinn family – their mother’s secret is about to rock their world – and yours too.
Audette has woven a tapestry of normal against the abnormal. It’s normal to go through your loved one’s belongings after a death, but it isn’t so normal finding out a secret that changes the dynamics of your entire family. As you read through the chapters, you get to know the family and the personalities of the siblings, and you find yourself wondering how you would react in the same circumstance. There are lots of family memories and milestones that they share, and the dinner table conversations are very interesting.
The author is skilled at storytelling, plot-building, character development, and letting the story play itself out to a satisfying conclusion. It’s the funny lines and quirks about Grace at the beginning of the story that show you how typical this family is, but as time goes on, you realize that typical is often a veneer for what lies beneath. Some of this story may bring tears to your eyes, but it could also frustrate you or make you smile, especially if you’re a reader who tends to put yourself in the characters’ shoes.
This story is about what is lost, and what is found. Or rather, who is lost, and who is found. I’m tempted to say that this novel would make a great night-time TV drama, but it’s actually better than what you would find on “Lifetime”, as these characters feel like very real people in very real situations. It is heavy on dialogue, and the author does it well. The drama isn’t overly dramatic. It rings true. “Letters from Grace” by Priscilla Audette, is an impressive novel about secrets, enlightenment, and family bonds.