The Mystery of Grace
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Mystery of Grace

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,966 ratings  ·  289 reviews

On the Day of the Dead, the Solona Music Hall is jumping. That's where Altagracia Quintero meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.

Altagracia – her friends call her Grace – has a tattoo of Nuestra Señora de Altagracia on her shoulder, she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg, and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it'll never wash out. Gr

...more
Kindle Edition, 269 pages
Published (first published March 17th 2009)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mystery of Grace, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mystery of Grace

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Amanda
**Some mild spoilers ahead**

On the front of this novel, Alice Hoffman is quoted as saying “No one does it better.” That’s not true. A lot of people do it better. Alice Hoffman, for example. Or Robin McKinley. Or Neil Gaiman.

Altagracia "Grace" Quintero is a self-described gearhead covered head to toe in tattoos, and she gets pissed when people judge her for her ink instead of her character. She loves classic hot rods (which she rebuilds), rockabilly and surf guitar, and Ford Motor Company (and s...more
Michael
When Grace and John meet at a bar on Halloween, the attraction between the two is undeniable. Everything is going well, until the morning after Grace mysteriously vanishes from John's apartment after John confesses he feels responsible for the death of his brother.

That's the hook for Charles De Lint's latest fantasy novel, "The Mystery of Grace." The novel is one part love story, one part fantasy story and one part fairy tale.

The romantic coupling of Grace and John has some problems before it....more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Three and a half stars, rounding up.

Very nicely woven book. I always love de Lint's use of language and description, but he keeps his focus on the plot and character relationship here more than getting lost in the setting. The characters, Grace and John, became very real, and the side characters interesting. One of the most fascinating things about the book was that the setting for the afterlife became more real than the "real world" at times. I enjoyed the process of Grace gradually caring more...more
Brooke
The Mystery of Grace is a perfect de Lint novel. It has fully fleshed out characters I really cared about, the author's familiar treatment of spirit worlds and the ordinary people who encounter them, and the easy-going voice I've come to love over the years.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn't yet read a de Lint novel. It does differ from his others in that the spirit world in this book is a limbo where people are trapped after they die. There aren't any of his usual fairies o...more
Jennifer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Charles de Lint is my favorite author. Period. So I grabbed this without even looking at the bookflap and just plunged in. Do yourself a favor and do the same thing. Without knowing anything about the book, the prologue is one of the best hooks I've read in a long time. But you can't know anything about the story beforehand. But, man, what a hook!

One of the things I love about de Lint is how his characters always have faith in something bigger than themselves, but that faith doesn't necessarily...more
Carolyn Phelps
An unexpectedly fine story. My favorite part comes towards the end of the book: Every time we make something out of nithing, that's an act of magic. I doesn't matter if it's a painting or a garden, or an abuelo telling his grandchildren some tall tale. every time we fix something that's broken, whether it's a car enghine or a broken heart, that an act of magic. And what makes it magic is that we choose to create or help, just as we can choose to harm...If we can only remember what we are and wha...more
Jenne
When John meets Grace he knows there is something unusual about her but he is falling in love with her two weeks too late.

Grace is an unusual woman. Not because of the tattoos, or because of her job as at Sanchez Motor work where she restores and customizes old cars. No, Grace is dead. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time - the corner shop when a kid decided to rob it.
But instead of passing on, Grace wakes up in her own apartment in a realm occupied by the dead of her neighbourhood. She...more
Sandi
My favorite TV show when I was a little girl was "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir". I loved the story of a romance between a widow and the ghost who occupies the house she moves into. The Mystery of Grace gave me the same feeling I got from that old TV show. It's beautiful and poignant. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give anything away.

The Mystery of Grace is different from the other Charles de Lint novels I've read. It's much more introspective and romantic. I will warn you that t...more
Hope Baugh
This stand-alone urban fantasy/romance by one of my favorite authors was published for adults but will, I think, appeal to many teen fantasy readers, too, and/or teens interested in questions of faith and what happens after we die. The book opens with a chapter about John and the beautiful, heavily-tattooed woman he picked up at a bar. One minute she is using his bathroom. The next minute she has disappeared. However, the book is more about that woman than about John. Her name is Altagracia, or...more
Jeff Miller
I certainly didn't intend to finish this novel in one day, but I did.

There are so many elements to this novel - a love story, life after death, sacrifice, moving on, purgatorial aspects - all combined in a story that moves you in many parts. The spiritual side of it mixes a bunch of different beliefs from Wikka, voodoo or something like it, Catholicism, etc - but this blending shores up the story and brings you along. You certainly come to care for the characters who while flawed are moving in h...more
CJ - Drop Dead Cute
Just a great book. As usual, Charles de Lint's books have a certain quality to them that is both light and solid. The subject matter is can be important and sometimes heavy but the way that he tells a story is nothing short of magical.

This book is not apart of the Newford collection but it does take place in a small town that fuses both Spanish, Native American and Anglo cultures together. The main character is a beautiful, tattooed, mechanic who loves her grandfather and shuts down emotionally...more
Autumn
This is why I love browsing bookstores and the library: unexpected surprises. I hadn't read a Charles de Lint book in a long time. The last one I read was Widdershins, and did like it but found it slow. I found a copy of this one in Half Price Books and decided to get it from the library. This was very different from the other de Lint books I've read: no faeries, set in the southwest, minority protagonist, very specific and different culture and setting. Grace is a great character. She's a heavi...more
Erin Brenner
It's been a while since I'd read a de Lint book. He used to be one of my favorite authors, but it had gotten to a point where I'd read everything and I had to wait for something new. I guess I left it too long because now there seems to be a lot out there. This is definitely one of his weaker books.

The biggest problem is that de Lint just doesn't do a good job addressing Grace's issues with the Catholic faith and yet that's what the book ends up being about. Two-thirds of the book is devoted to...more
Barrett Brassfield
Quite possibly my favorite Charles de Lint novel. I have enjoyed all of his novels that I have read because he combines such interesting elements in his fantastical stories and Jilly will always be my favorite de Lint character but The Mystery of Grace is such a near-perfect little novel and nowhere do I think de Lint as a writer is better than he is here. This is because de Lint can be a little wordy in his descriptions of settings at times and this can occasionally place the character outside...more
Alison Whittington
A good weekend read. Not as complex or meaty as many of Mr. de Lint's other full-length novels, but entertaining with a unique plot and enough twists to keep things compelling.

Set in the American Southwest, in a world that's an intriguing mix of custom vintage cars, rockabilly music, taquerias and adobe house, The Mystery of Grace has a compelling plot. But that's all I can really say, because I'm not big on spoilers, and to describe the plot at all would be a spoiler. Even the book jacket very...more
Alex Fayle
While Charles de Lint writes a lot of YA fiction, The Mystery of Grace isn’t one of them. That’s not to say that teens shouldn’t read it, but it deals with themes that aren’t very YA. It starts out with a one night stand and love at first site, spends most of the book exploring death and separation, and meditates on what it means to live a full life.

Despite all that, as a teen, I certainly would have read it and loved it. I believed in the possibility of a love strong enough to surpass death. I...more
Kevin Farrell
Typical boy-meets-girl, they-fall-in-love, she-disappears-on-her-way-out-of-the-bathroom, boy-finds-out-she-died-two-weeks-before-they-met. Actually, not so typical and so well told by Charles de Lint. The only other book by de Lint that I have read was Onion Girl. That one was a really good YA novel about ordinary people who had a touch of magic in them. So I was at the library the other day and saw this one on the shelf. I took it home and enjoyed it very much.

Like his other books, de Lint cre...more
Betsy
This ghost/romance story was a quick read but not a totally "wow" read for me. While I liked it well enough when I was reading it, looking back to four days ago when I finished it, I really had to think about it for a few minutes, to remember how the book ended. I liked the concept of the dead being able to walk among the living twice a year and that two people who, when they were both alive, would probably not have ended up together, somehow find commonality & a bond that is both spiritual...more
Beth
When Latina hot-rodder Grace intervenes in an attempted robbery in her neighborhood and is shot in the chest, she comes to in her bedroom, dead. It seems she and a a number of other people who died in the neighborhood was "stuck" in a limbo of sorts, but can crossover to the world of living two nights a year. As she comes to terms with being deceased, Grace makes friends and is quick to take advantage of Samhain to slips back through, where, or course, she meets a soulmate. The conflict of this...more
Sarah Sammis
With my on-going goal to read more Charles de Lint, I chose his newest adult urban fantasy novel, The Mystery of Grace. I'd actually tag it as a contemporary Gothic horror but the two genres share many points in common.

Grace learned from her beloved Abuelo the fine art of restoring classic American cars. She's a fanatic for Fords to the point of having the company logo (along with many others) tattooed to her body. As she lives in a small south west town, she is well known. For those who don't k...more
Kim
This is Charles de Lint, so of course in many ways it's fabulous, but it was also. . .a little bit strange. There are the expected de Lint touches---Grace is an appealing character in a no-win situation, and de Lint has a way of making a world I'd never even considered before---a world of custom hot rods, rockabilly music, and tattoos---kind of intriguing. The Southwestern setting of this book is lovingly depicted, and the book as a whole moves more quickly than is de Lint's norm. At the same ti...more
Dianna
i love delint, but he is uneven, and he's been particularly uneven for his last couple of novels. i was really thinking that the man had lost his mojo, that having played his fictional city of Newford out, he was kind of over.

in this book, he invents a new city somewhere in the southwest, and at first i had high hopes. and really, it's not bad. but it doesn't reach the magical place that his best books do. it was an odd story sort of about the afterlife and involving a rather unconvincing romanc...more
Nancy
This latest book by Charles De Lint is a departure from his loose series set in the imagined city of Newford with its blurred connections to an other world of fantasy, danger, and delight. The Mystery of Grace is set in the Southwest, and focuses on the impossible love story of Grace, a grease monkey and hot rod car builder and restorer, and John Burns, a rather shy and ordinary guy who uses his artistic skills to assist his best friends in the company they founded. A one-night stand leads to a...more
ccqdesigns
Charles de Lint has another great read with this one. Although I am not sure Grace fits into the Urban Fantasy category as much as his other books do. This one is more like The Shack than a fantasy book. Of course, since I am a de Lint fanatic, I may be a bit biased, but this is one great book. Grace is a young latina who specializes in rebuilding muscle cars which she learned from her grandfather. She is covered in tattoos and is very lonely after her grandfather's death. She finally meets the...more
Walter
This book is a bit of a change of pace for de Lint. The religious mythology is largely Christian, although there are allusions to Native American beliefs. Grace is a young woman who is shot and finds herself in an afterlife centered on the place where she died. She learns that the dead can return to Earth twice per year, and on her first visit she meets a man whom she falls in love with in the course of an evening, after which she vanishes, leaving both parties wondering whether they will see on...more
Donna Jo Atwood
(I just wrote a remarkable review of this book and lost it. Come to think of it, that is a perfect description of this book.)
If you like fairy tales set in the real world, this may be your book.
Altagracia (or Grace) has a life customizing hot rods; she has friends, including her personal tattoo-er; she is also a mystery.
I've never been entirely clear on what mystical realism is, but what ever the technical definition is, this book qualifies in my mind. Charles de Lint has a firm grasp on the the...more
Simon
It became really engaging after the first few pages, and it was refreshingly different.

But it had a number of issues that left me unsatisfied. Though it was enjoyable enough to read, the entire middle of the book feels tangential and shoehorned. The author put quite a range of diverse characters into the book, but some of them fell into some blatant (to me) and unfortunate tropes; that definitely undermined my confidence in the author's abilities. But the worst to me was how many times coinciden...more
Donna Maroulis
As always , Charles de Lint has original plots and twists. Very broad knowledge of places and customs, I like that !
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Nevernever
  • Finder (Borderlands)
  • The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
  • The Essential Bordertown (Borderland, #4)
  • A Red Heart of Memories (Red Heart of Memories, #1)
  • Welcome to Bordertown (Borderland, #5)
  • Hannah's Garden
  • In Sea-Salt Tears (October Daye, #5.1)
  • Wild Hunt (Evie Scelan, #2)
  • Fathom
  • The Summer Country (Summer Country, #1)
  • Solstice Wood (Winter Rose, #2)
8185168
Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins.
More about Charles de Lint...
The Blue Girl (Newford, #15) The Onion Girl (Newford, #11) Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1) Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #8) Moonheart

Share This Book

“Tattoos...are the stories in your heart, written on your skin.” 79 likes
“Not only do we all have magic, it's all around us as well. We just don't pay attention to it. Every time we make something out of nothing, that's an act of magic. It doesn't matter if it's a painting or a garden, or an abuelo telling his grandchildren some tall tale. Every time we fix something that's broken, whether it's a car engine or a broken heart, that's an act of magic.

And what makes it magic is that we *choose* to create or help, just as we can choose to harm. But it's so easy to destroy and so much harder to make things better. That's why doing the right thing makes you stronger.

If we can only remember what we are and what we can do, nobody can bind us or control us.”
36 likes
More quotes…