Title: Grace: a Novel
Author: Barbara Boswell
Reviewer: Gail Gilbride
Secrets and lies form an integral part of Grace’s background.
The resilient young girl starts her journey in Cape Town of the 1980s. Despite her highly dysfunctional start in a family where relationships were heart breaking and complex beyond measure, she manages to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to carve out a respectable life for herself.
An old childhood friend emerges to reignite devastating childhood memories. Grace’s adult life is filled with love and stability, but half-truths and hidden family secrets threaten to derail everything she has worked so hard to build up. She faces an unbearable choice – reveal the truth or keep up the veneer.
Barbara Boswell’s graceful prose and masterful story telling serve to present us with the long term effects of trauma and violence in families, which can follow generations of victims. It is never easy to break the cycle but Boswell offers us a window of hope and the possibility of doing just that.
Boswell has crafted a highly significant novel which has lingered long after the final page was turned. Grace is a must read and a wonderful addition to the South African writing landscape.
Gail Gilbride is author of Under the African Sun and co-author of Behind the Blue Door.