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Days of Grace by Catherine Hall
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Days of Grace (2009)

by Catherine Hall

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If you are a man, do not read this book because there is not a single redeeming male character in the entire book. Nora's experiences with men is jaded as she is raised fatherless, sent away from war-torn London by her mother to live with a creepy rector and his wife and loses her best friend to a predatory man. Even her marriage to George, a wheelchair-bound polio victim and her friendship to Michael, a slow-witted young man never show any type of healthy male relationship. Nora has grown to be a tortured and lonely old woman who never learns to have a healthy relationship with anyone she meets. I enjoyed reading this book for the complexity of the story but it was very depressing. I looked for some redeeming quality in Nora's character but unfortunately I couldn't find any
1 vote ljpower | Jan 24, 2011 |
This is a historical novel that begins when Nora Lyynch, from a poor family in London, is sent at age 12 to live with a family in the country and ends on VE day. Norah has only her mother alive. She settles in to her life in the country and becomes very friendly with the daughter Grace, the sister she never had. She realises that this is a life far better than anything she could have had in London for there she is educated, and when her mother later on comes to take her back she decides not to go.
The book is another one of these novels set in two time periods. We have Noarh, now seriously ill and dying looking back on her life, her growing up, and her friendship with Grace. Norah takes in a young umarried pregnant women she has observed from her window and cares for her for as long as she can both before and after the baby is born. Then at that stage a young nurse David comes to care for Norah and forms an attachment with the young woman Rose. Norah is gradually revealing her story to Rose but she has been holding on to a guilty secret that she does not feel that she can reveal until she has truly reached the end of her life. It is then that we learn what happened to the friendshop between Norah and Grace after the two of them ran away from their home in Kent to live in London. It is a good story although I did wonder why it had to be necessary to include a gay relataionship within the story - but still worth a read. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Jan 8, 2011 |
Indie Pick ( )
  fordbarbara | Sep 21, 2010 |
I am giving this book three stars as I think the writing was very good. Maybe it is because I am an older reader but I found that in many parts of this book that I had to "suspend belief". I found it hard to imagine that two young girls during WW 2 would live such a solitary life..being just a gang of two so to speak. William,the slow boy in the village is the only other young person mentioned and then only about three times.
Nora delivering the baby and Rose,Nora and baby Grace living such isolated lives is not to be believed. To not have visiting nurse come to the house to see the newborn or take baby Grace to clinic for her baby immunizations would be child abuse!
I found the character of Nora and her story to be one of the most depressing I have read this year.
The Very Thought Of You by Rosie Allen that I read earlier this summer is very,very similar to this book in plot and is almost as much of a downer. ( )
  MEENIEREADS | Aug 30, 2010 |
This is an astoundingly good debut novel. It is the story of Nora Lynch's life as an evacuee to the country from London at the onset of WWII in counterpoint with her life fifty years later. The memories of her life center around her relationship with Grace, the daughter of her surrogate family in Kent during the evacuation. The challenges inherent with deception color Nora's life as she faces end-of-life issues and lead, ultimately, to grace. I hope to read more by this talented new author. ( )
  pdebolt | Aug 2, 2010 |
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Very enjoyable book - Sarah Waters meets Daphne du Maurier. Does everything a good debut should: moves you, surprises you and restores your faith in the power of a novel to transport you to another world.
 
From the "Spitfire summer" to bombed-out Soho, Hall's backdrops feel familiar, but her writing has a terse and fierce precision that tightens into tragic fury.
 
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Sent from London to stay in the country rectory of the Reverend Rivers and his family, 12-year-old Nora enjoys an idyllic initial stay before discovering tensions in the Rivers' marriage and forging a secret with foster sister Grace that she keeps for more than fifty years.… (more)

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