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A Little Bit of Grace.

Phoebe Fox; A LITTLE BIT OF GRACE; Henery Press (Fiction: General) 15.95 ISBN: 9781635112887

Byline: Karen Rigby

Forgiveness doesn't arrive as an easy Band-Aid in this genre gem; instead, it's richly, convincingly explored as the result of mature self-reckonings.

Between snowbound Sugarberry, Missouri, and Cypress Key, an island in the Floridian hinterlands, there's a world of difference -- and a family secret that reaches back decades. A Little Bit of Grace is a heartrending novel of transformations and surprises. Phoebe Fox elevates a rom-com plot about a divorcAaAaAeAa[c]e in search of herself into an unexpect tale of kinship.

The story launches when Grace Adams learns that her ex-husband and partner at her law firm has moved on with a new woman who is expecting their first child. Grace flees to Florida to meet her deceased mother's estranged Aunt Millie. In a refreshing twist, the eighty-one-year-old pillar of the island reveals vulnerabilities of her own, instead of playing the role of a fairy godmother. Grace is left to consider what to do with her resentment after a challenging inward journey.

Millie -- who is a fashionista, matchmaker, blogger, and online relationship-advice sensation -- provides extravagant fuel. Grace's shift from a small-town transplant whose life once revolved around the needs of others to a woman beginning to find her voice is drawn with plentiful humor, especially in scenes that feature familiar sequences of the genre. These include a shopping spree, a makeover, and a wedding party.

Throughout, Millie is presented with multifaceted, intelligent depth. Fox skillfully allows her character's savoir faire to occasionally waver; in these moments, the weight of the pain she's endured becomes evident. Millie's memories of her husband, an exceptional, forward-thinking man who accepted her decisions without question, also resound with tenderness.

After Millie recounts why she left Missouri, Grace revisits memories of her family, whose fears and prejudices she'd never known. It's a courageous undertaking laced with grief. Forgiveness doesn't arrive as an easy Band-Aid; instead, it's richly, convincingly explored as the result of mature self-reckonings. Spanning themes that range from the freedom to express one's identity to the healing power of taking the higher road when relationships end, this is a satisfying account of women's friendships.

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Author:Rigby, Karen
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 27, 2017
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