What to Read in 2021

Continuing my quest to explore all things Women’s Fiction, I tested out Women’s Sagas this month. Side note: when I picked this book, it was listed under Women’s Literary Fiction and Women’s Friendship Fiction. The book works under any of the sub-genres.  

April’s Pick: 

April’s read, A Little Bit of Grace by Phoebe Fox. I’ll be honest: I picked the book because Fox is a fellow Austinite. But I’m really glad I selected A Little Bit of Grace.

As a reminder, my reading plan for 2021 is to sample a book from Women’s Fiction sub-genres and see if they match the overall expectations for Women’s Fiction. You can read more about the plan here. 

Back to April’s book, A Little Bit of Grace. 

Book description from the author’s website.

Family is everything—Grace Adams’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 a letter from a woman claiming to be a relative Grace never knew she had sends her on a journey—from the childhood home she had to move back into (three doors down from the happy couple) to a tropical paradise island to meet a total stranger who claims to be family. And Grace starts to uncover answers about the eccentric woman her family never mentioned: an octogenarian who writes a viral relationship-advice blog, a compulsive (and highly successful) matchmaker…and the keeper of an unimaginable family secret held for more than fifty years.

A heartfelt, funny story about family and forgiveness, starting over when the happy ending ends, and handling it all with a little bit of grace.

My take:

The first few chapters of this book don’t prepare you for the family secret that is revealed later. It felt like another book complaining about divorce and a lack of social life. I considered putting the book down, but gave it a couple more chapters. My decision paid off. A few more chapters and Grace embarked on her adventure and the action took off! 

This isn’t a happily ever after book. It is more realistic fiction. Grace, the main character does change her outlook on her life and there are some important subjects touched. For example, transgender issues are addressed (I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying that since the book is a best seller in the Transgender Fiction category on Amazon). Transitioning is an emotional experience and Fox captures that on the page. 

The small town vibe of Cypress Key, the small town Grace visits, left me nostalgic. It’s a place where everyone knows your name – and your business – but it is also home. The town was a character itself, which says a lot considering what wonderful characters appear in the book. Grace is the stereotypical divorcee who is dealing with her ex-husband has he moves forward. Millie is an over-the-top matchmaker. And Millie’s friends – well, you need to read the book to catch their humor and authenticity. 

I’m finding a book’s characters are what makes or breaks the story for me. If I don’t find a connection to whom I am reading about, regardless of what is happening in the plot, I can’t stick with the book. That’s a good thing to know as I pick the next book to read.

Until next time…

Photo by Lacie Slezak on Unsplash