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Years of Grace

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  590 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
She fought the battle of the generations victoriously because she understood both the years of grace and the age of jazz. Her story reveals the beauty, the drama, and the passion that can lie unsuspected beneath a quiet exterior.
Hardcover, 581 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Cherokee Publishing Company (GA) (first published 1930)
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Apr 20, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it
Very easy, leisurely reading. This book, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1931, was mentioned in a modern novel I had just read, and I was intrigued enough to go looking for it. I guess it's out of print. It wasn't on Kindle either and the ones for sale on Amazon were being sold at $50+. Don't know why? But I found my copy on Ebay, a leatherbound book I was able to get for $20. So needless to say, I was quite excited to get this book in the mail, and to start reading it. This novel gives a nice g ...more
At first I thought this book was going to be a nightmare to read--simple prose, all about a proper girl named Jane.

But the story caught me. The prose began to strike me as simply being old-fashioned, as are words that you just don't hear much anymore (e.g. pigtails)--not hard words, just out-of-fashion words. I only had to look up one word* in the entire 500+ pages, which means easy old-fashioned reading!

But in spite of the simple prose and vocabulary, the story does get good. Jane grows up, tr
Feb 05, 2012 Danielle rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer-s
More boring Americana. The struggles of marriage, family obligations, and the coming generation. Best line...."you could never believe that [children] would grow up to disappoint you."
Alexandra Harmon
Aug 16, 2014 Alexandra Harmon rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is one of those books that I will read several throughout my life, and get something new from it each time.

Yes, it falls into the genre of “chick-lit,” but, it is so much more sophisticated than something like Little Women (sorry, Mom!). Jane is a completely likable, relatable character, but the author doesn’t romanticize her and sees her with a certain amount of ironic detachment. She is spirited and loving, but loses her first love through her
Tracy Shapley
Aug 25, 2011 Tracy Shapley rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
As I've noted in Pulitzers of this age, the writing was incredibly simple. A very simple story - but one I liked. It was about Chicago from the 1890's to around the late 1920's. As an added bonus, it took place in my actual neighborhood! So I dug that, obviously. The writing though, was almost just a list of things that happened. Like, "Agnes went to the store. She bought cake there. She put the cake in the bag. She brought the cake home. She ate the cake” If this had been one of the first Pulit ...more
Roxanne Russell
Jan 16, 2013 Roxanne Russell rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
This book settles in with many of the first twenty years of the Pulitzer winners for fiction in providing a perspective on the immense changes in American life at the turn of the 20th century. However, unlike the stories that stories that detail great downfalls or family strife in this time, Barnes presents a heroine who couches her development through her romantic connections.
This story was OK- interesting enough and well-described. But it highlights Wharton's superior talent in capturing the
Apr 05, 2015 Wanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
A vida de Jane Ward dos seus 14 anos até os 50 e poucos anos. As alegrias e tristezas que qualquer pessoa pode experenciar. Problemas comuns mas que realmente importam são deliciosamente descritos neste livro. ADOREI. O tipo de livro que nos faz refletir sobre a mudança de nossas próprias opinões a cada década vivida. E como o pensamento de diferentes gerações mudam mas os fatos da vida são, em geral, sempre os mesmos.

:: passagens ::

Perhaps people were all bored most of the time after they were
Jul 13, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it
This book, which won the Pulitzer prize in 1931, was repeatedly mentioned in Sarah Jio's "Violets of March." Because that book was a five-star book for me, my interest was peeked. Although out-of-print, I was able to procure a copy of "Years of Grace" from my local Public Library (good for them!). This book tells the story of Jane Ward, from when she is 14 years old, until she is 51, and takes place primarily in Chicago from the 1890's to around the late 1920's. It was interesting to read about ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Tricia rated it liked it
A good read to reflect on life. Not super exciting, but enough to hold my attention. It is the book that that is referred to numerous times in Violets of March. It peaked my curiosity enough to buy it on eBay since it is out of print. I enjoyed the outlook of Jane as a teenager, married with children adult and then elder and her thoughts on her life and the lives of her children and parents and how it changes from one generation to the next.
Aug 18, 2014 Jimmy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzers
This book was an adequate and enjoyable read. Like the character of Jane, the protagonist, the writing itself is admirable and competent, but not exceptional nor all that very creative. Is it worthy of a Pulitzer? Hard to say, because it seems to fit a type that certainly was preferred by society and by the Pulitzer committee during the period of its publication in 1930 and its selection in 1931. But when you realize that Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" was also published in the same year, you begin ...more
Brenda Cregor
Sep 26, 2014 Brenda Cregor rated it it was amazing
How happy I am that this book has not yet been sullied by descent into paperback-hood!

There is something about this novel that makes you want to sit taller, watch your language, and brush up on your French.


Yes, that's it.

It speaks to human decency.

Forget the ill-assigned comparison between this book and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, which, by the way, is in paperback now.

Margaret Ayer Barnes won the PULITZER PRIZE in 1931 for this, her first novel.

By reading some biographical excerpts o
Sharon Archer
May 29, 2015 Sharon Archer rated it it was amazing
"But remember one thing-there can't be understanding between the two generations. I've convinced of that. Love and sympathy, but never understanding. We must take our children's Ida's on faith. We can never make them our own. Remember that and save yourself unhappiness." Years of Grace
Jul 29, 2013 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
I saw this book on a list somewhere and decided to read it. The 1931 Putlizter prize for fiction follows Jane, a girl of 14 as she ages to about 50. She falls in love and has some issues with her parents over her choice to marry, goes to college, eventually returns and marries and has children of her own. I loved the section on her annual trip to her in laws' place and the part where she gets bored in her marriage. The book, while following social norms of the time, has a contemporary feel in so ...more
Mary Garner
Feb 20, 2014 Mary Garner rated it it was amazing
I have to give this novel 5 stars because it won the Pulitzer Prize! Regardless, it rates five stars for being a very readable book about life as it happens--without a single cliche; about conventional topics--without foregone conclusions. The author explores the age-old issue of generational differences with subtlety and provocative depth. The characters are satisfyingly developed and sufficiently complex. Plus, it was just fun to read a book written nearly 85 years ago, when driving in a car w ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Ben rated it liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
Years of Grace is typical of the Pulitzer's I've read pre-1940 so far. Largly about families around the turn of the early 20th Century. Years of Grace takes place in Chicago, and focuses on one girl and her desires versus her duties to her family and society. It's split into three books - the first on her late teenage years, the second jumps ahead to college, her marriage and having kids and the third as a 51 years old with her own children. It has themes that resonate today about the passage of ...more
Nov 09, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: putlizter
This one wasn't bad, but it seemed to take me forever to read it (it was also almost 600 pages).
The first couple of parts were really good, and the third, Jimmy, wasn't bad either. However, the last 150 pages of the book were pretty painful. I would have given it 4 stars if we hadn't have had to read for pages and pages about her grown up children misbehaving.
It was also surprisingly hard to find. The library had to special order it from KC and the only copy on Amazon was $42. Hopefully as the
Jul 26, 2014 Maura rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it
Originally published in 1930 and won a Pulitzer the following year... Surprisingly wonderful.
Jun 05, 2013 Quiltyknitwit rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
An amazing, enjoyable, and quite long novel of Jane, a young woman in 1890s era Chicago. The book follows her thoughts and experiences with her family, romances, children, and friends from girlhood to middle age. There were many poignant truths in this 1931 Pulitzer Prize winning novel that hold true to the 21st century. The characters were memorable. I also gained insight into the social and cultural expectations of my grandmothers and mother (who came of age the same years as covered in the bo ...more
Apr 26, 2013 Cheri rated it liked it
I've had this book on my list for a while after reading a book where it was repeatedly referred to as comparable to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and that it was a story that had meant a great deal to the author in their life. I don't agree that this book bears any significant resemblance to "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" other than the small section which takes place in New York, and perhaps the era may have been close.

I really didn't find anything compelling about this book.
Taadhameka Kennedy
Jul 13, 2014 Taadhameka Kennedy rated it really liked it
The story of Jane Ward's life may not be fraught with danger and intrigue over its 581 pages, but it is told with a quiet and witty introspection. She is a woman of her time and lives a normal life of domesticity and duty. But I find myself hoping that if my normal life were put on paper I would hope it would be told with the same amount of dignity and grace.
Feb 11, 2009 Scott rated it really liked it
What an interesting read. A library book club selection, this book was picked due to it's Chicago setting and that it won the Pulitzer in 1931. Although it is not the most modern of writing stlyes, I thought that the book offered great reflection on the history of society and more specifically women's roles and attitudes in the early 20th century.
Sep 28, 2013 Marty rated it really liked it
The latest of the Pulitzer novels my husband and I are reading, Years of Grace was very enjoyable. The story was captivating and the character development was excellent. At times the narrative seemed a bit drawn out, and we also enjoyed some marvelous insights offered by the author. We continue to be delighted that we have chosen to read these books.
May 07, 2012 Joseph rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of the best novels I've read in a long, long time. It will not be to everyone's taste; it is slow in places, but that is part of its charm. It recounts the story of Jane -- a young woman from post Victorian time until WWI. A wonderful read for anyone who likes slow, introspective fiction. It captures the heart.
Nov 07, 2012 Elena rated it really liked it

Good story and character development. I enjoyed the early 20th century voice it was written with. I did not like the writing style in the first part although I understand why the author did this. Writing was south better in the second part and on. Overall I enjoyed it and did grow to love the main characters.
Melissa (ladybug)
A book that follows Jane Ward throughout her life from first love at 14 and then to Married love with Grandchildren around you. This book shows us one girls decisions and what they cost her and that same girl having the fortitude to stick to these same decisions whether they were good, bad or indifferent.
Oct 04, 2012 Sophia rated it really liked it
I was captivated by Jane Ward and her innocence at first, then I really appreciated her restlessness as she got older, but the book really could have ended there.
James Rosenzweig
Sep 16, 2013 James Rosenzweig rated it it was ok
My final review can be found on my blog:
Dec 30, 2012 Thom rated it liked it
Nicely written, but I couldn't care for any of the characters.
Jan 07, 2012 April marked it as to-read
Now to find the book so I can read it.
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Margaret Ayer Barnes (April 8, 1886, Chicago, Illinois — October 25, 1967, Cambridge, Massachusetts) was an American playwright, novelist, and short-story writer.

She was educated at Bryn Mawr College, where she earned an A.B. degree in 1907. She married Cecil Barnes in 1910, and had three sons, Cecil Jr., Edward Larrabee and Benjamin Ayer. In 1920, Barnes was elected alumnae director of Bryn Mawr
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“The trouble with education is,' said Jimmy cheerfully, 'that we always read everything when we're too young to know what it means. And the trouble with life is that we're always too busy to reread it later. There's more sense in books, Cicily, than you'd really believe. Though, of course, they don't teach you anything vital that you can't learn for yourself.” 1 likes
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