Breathe Grace by Kelly Wilson is a novel which combines a story of women helping women with a touch of the supernatural. It is likely to appeal to young adult readers.
After a series of appallingly bad choices have come close to ruining her life, Grace is sent to live with her grandmother for a time. Grace normally lives in Melbourne, and her grandmother lives on a farm in outback NT, so the difference is significant. Her mother and grandmother see it as a way to give Grace a chance to reset. She sees it as a way to isolate and punish her.
Despite Grace’s unwillingness to take an interest in her grandmother or anything around her, she’s gradually drawn in. It’s clear her grandmother has many secrets, and Grace is intrigued. Then, too, there are the mysterious dreams that transport Grace to other places and times, and seem to drop tantalising hints about the secrets her grandmother keeps.
The novel follows Grace on her journey to get to know her grandmother, her family history, and ultimately herself.
For me, the main obstacle was that I never connected with Grace – she simply didn’t come alive for me.
However, this is very much a personal reaction, and not everyone will share it. Grace is clearly intended to be a character that many young adults will identify with. She’s angry and resentful about the decisions others have made about her life. She’s made some really bad choices and is behaving like a selfish brat, but she’s not a bad kid deep down. She loves her mother and grandmother even while she makes their lives difficult. She wants to be treated like an adult even though she’s behaving childishly.
Plenty of young adults will see themselves in her. Indeed, plenty of parents will see echoes of their own teenagers in her.
The setting is well drawn and is a strength for the novel. There’s a very strong sense of place and time to the scenes set on the farm, which is particularly important given the dreams Grace has. Obviously these require some suspension of belief, but that would be more difficult without such a grounded framework.
The dream scenes – I can’t tell you where they’re set, it might spoil an element of the story for you – are well written and a number of them are very vivid. It’s easy to understand how Grace is drawn in, and why they affect her relationships and thought processes so deeply.
Overall “Breathe Grace” is well suited for the young adult audience. Adults who focus on the feminist aspects to the story are also likely to appreciate it.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Breathe Grace by Kelly Wilson. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and I love sharing that joy.
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, across all genres. There’s not much I won’t at least try. I’ve been an enthusiastic book reviewer for years. I particularly enjoy discovering writers new to me, and sharing good writing with others.
My career has included time spent writing and editing technical documents, but it’s fiction that really moves me. I’ve reviewed for a number of different outlets over the years, and have been a judge in literary competitions.
I’m now raising little bookworms of my own, which brings a whole new kind of joy to sharing books.
More of my reviews can be found on my review blog www.otherdreamsotherlives.home.blog .