This is an amazing read. From the first page to the last, the novel is a warm-hearted story of one woman’s journey from a dark and abusive childhood into the light of acceptance and love. It’s also funny, alive with Lesley Crewe’s trademark wit and ear for dialogue.
Grace is born Amazing Grace Fairchild. Her sister is Ave Maria. Through flashbacks doled out gradually, we learn that Amazing Grace and her sister were born to a hippy mother who had been drawn into an abusive cult. Grace barely makes it out alive and spends the rest of her life trying to find her mother and sister.
When we first meet Grace, she is living in Cape Breton as the platonic housemate of a gentle giant named Fletcher. She is content with her life. It seems her only complaint is dealing with the town church ladies. “Last year at the Christmas tea and sale, I was so frustrated at a woman dithering in front of the fruitcakes I blurted, ‘Jesus Christ, take me now.’”
Grace curses too much, smokes too much, and enjoys a glass of wine or three. She also has a son with whom she has little contact and a granddaughter who barely knows her. It’s the granddaughter, Melissa, who acts as the catalyst in the story. She’s a rich and spoiled teenager who’s going down fast, tricked into posting nude selfies online and using drugs to escape from the boredom of her life. Her father sends her to live with Amazing Grace as a means of scaring her straight. What unfolds is the narrative of Grace’s past, which leads to closure, and yes, a state of grace, for the whole family.
by Lesley Crewe
$19.95, paperback, 288 pp.
Vagrant Press, September 2015