Monday, November 29, 2010
A Christmas Grace: Review
Anne Perry has dedicated her novel, A Christmas Grace, "to all those who long for a second chance." A highly appropriate dedication for a story that centers on Emily Radley and her efforts to give a second chance to the folk who live in her Aunt's Irish town. Emily is called at Christmas time to be with her aunt who is dying. She thinks she is going to lay to rest an old family feud--a second chance for her aunt as well, but finds that Susannah Ross is looking for help with more than that.
The people in the town that Aunt Susannah has come to love have lived under a cloud of suspicion for seven years--ever since a young man was washed up on their shores during a dreadful storm. Saved from the sea only to murdered later by one of their own. While Emily settles into her aunt's home, another storm rages bringing another shipwreck victim ashore. Is history repeating itself? And can Emily help the townspeople face what happened before and avoid a similar fate for the shipwrecked man? Emily also faces personal questions of family loyalty to an aunt who left her family for love and questions about the kind of love she (Emily) shares with her husband. It will take a special kind of Christmas grace to help Emily find the answers.
This is a beautifully told Christmas mystery. Perry has a wonderful sense of place and a particularly graceful way of giving her readers that same sense. I feel as though I had actually visited this small coastal Irish village. It was very touching to read this story of Emily's final gift to the aunt she had never known. Perry carries off the story without making it too sentimental and improbable. The ending is a bit flat, but over-all a fine story for the Christmas season. It also develops some interesting threads that could be taken up in later stories about Emily and her husband, Jack. Three and a half stars.