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The Saving Graces: A Novel


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Amazon.com ReviewUnlike the Graces of Greek mythology, the ones in Patricia Gaffney"s feel-good novel, The Saving Graces, are not in the business of dispensing charm and beauty. Though they possess some measure of good looks, Gaffney"s Graces are more focused on the less ethereal problems of life: men, careers, babies, death. And there are four, rather than three, of them (Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel), who have been getting together for regular dinners in their Washington, D.C., homes for 10 years.The narration of The Saving Graces rotates among the four women and gets right to the heart of each Grace--the stories they tell stick close to the territory of their emotional lives. This intimate directness makes Gaffney"s women seem, well, womanly. Serene Isabel, who has always been "the best champion, the kindest friend" to all the other Graces, is dying of breast cancer. Rudy needs to leave her ultra-controlling husband. Lee, usually the rational one, is possessed by her desire to have a baby. Ironic Emma wants to write a novel and has a hard crush on a married man. This group feels messy and real: they keep secrets from each other, grate on one another"s nerves, and analyze each other. But ultimately, all four know that they"ve lucked into a very good thing. Not just because they share the sweetness and silliness that comes with friendship, but also because they are willing to act as soldiers for each other. When Rudy finally gets up the nerve to leave her husband, for example, she doesn"t do it alone: "Isabel stood on my right, Lee on my left. Emma had taken a seat on the bed--an escalation of the offense, usurping more enemy territory." In Gaffney"s universe, women armed with grace, humor, and a couple of good girlfriends can transcend even the most painful events in their lives. --Katherine Anderson--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.Read moreFrom Publishers WeeklyFormulaic but sprightly, Gaffney"s debut is a variation on the theme of women"s solidarity and bravery. Four friends in Washington, D.C., have been meeting once a week for 10 years, relying on each other for laughter, advice and encouragement. There"s Emma, approaching 40 and in love with a married man named Mick; Rudy, the unstable depressive whose marriage is on the rocks; happily married Lee, who desperately wishes to have a child with her husband, Henry; and Isabel, the divorced cancer survivor who is in love with her neighbor, Kirby. They call themselves "The Saving Graces," after a dog they once hit with a car, rescued and nursed to recovery: now "she"s old and grizzled like us... but she is the sweetest dog." Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the Graces, and though Gaffney provides each character with a distinctive voice, the stories are overly emotional and predictable. Together the women help each other with their various love troubles until Isabel"s cancer returns, a blow that brings them even closer, "putting things in perspective" and setting the scene for the inevitable weepy ending. The Graces eventually get what they long for; each finds her own brand of bittersweet satisfaction, with hard-won lessons learned. "We don"t go around calling ourselves [the Saving Graces] in public," says Emma. "It"s corny; it sounds like a TV sitcom... starring Valerie Bertinelli, Susan Dey and Cybill Shepherd. Notice these are all attractive, smart, funny women who happen to be a little long in the tooth." While Graces reads much like daytime drama, it lacks the suspense of that medium; we know how things will work out right from the beginning. But since TV doesn"t travel to the beach, this novel may provide a soap opera fix under a sun umbrella. 100,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; author tour; rights sold in Germany, Sweden, Finland, England and Norway. (July) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.Read moreSee all Editorial Reviews

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