by Alice Murphy

August 2003
ISBN: 1-59129-931-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Publish America
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At the tender age of fourteen, Grace Hollingsworth is having to deal with the death of her beloved father. She has a strong Christian faith, family and neighbors to help her through. She seeks refuge in the family tree house as a way to feel closer to God.

Grace is excited when new neighbors move in with a daughter, Brandy, who is Grace's age and has a generous nature. Grace is grateful to have a friend in a neighborhood that has been inhabited by mainly older couples. Brandy puts on a brave front, but has her own problem of dealing with her father being gone and her mother being elusive on the details.

Grace's mother, Liz, is also having to deal with the aftermath of her husband's sudden death at the hands of a drunk driver. Her first day back at work is stressful and things are lonely after all the company from the funeral have gone home. Grace and her mother are able to use their strong faith to help others deal with difficult life issues.

The story is told in third person shifting between main and secondary characters in short vignettes and through letters from Grace's Aunt Margaret. The romance element is more focused on young and "puppy love". The writing style is a bit simplistic for adult readers. It might better appeal to young adults. The author shows promise, but could use some more polish by using more metaphors and similes and other literary devices. There is a strong inspirational message in Grace, but more sparkle and crisper dialouge would help get it across to the reader. There is a more mainstream audience for inspirational fiction today, but any writer needs to find her voice and niche to be successful and marketable.

Reviewed in September 2003 by Roberta.

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