**spoiler alert** From the back cover of my copy: "Set against the backdrop of two neighboring Southern towns, Sufficient Grace is the powerful, affect**spoiler alert** From the back cover of my copy: "Set against the backdrop of two neighboring Southern towns, Sufficient Grace is the powerful, affecting story of two families over the course of a year, from one Easter season to the next."
One quiet spring day, Gracie Hollaman hears voices in her head that tell her to get in her car and leave her entire life behind - her home, her husband, her daughter, her very identity. Gracie's subsequent journey releases her genius for painting and effects profound changes in the lives of everyone around her.
A spellbinding work, Sufficient Grace explores the power of personal transformation and redemption, and the many ordinary and extraordinary ways they come to pass through faith, love, motherhood, art, even food. This poignant, poetic study of the human condition affirms the enduring importance of relationships and the strength we derive from them, Even though we sometimes have to leave behind an old identity in order to discover our soul.
Beautifully paced, filled with unforgettable characters, Sufficient Grace reveals the vital place that spirit and belonging have in every inner life - and in the every day world."
8/27/07: Though it was difficult to get through the first chapter & I even put it down for a few months (I bought it in March, 2007) this is the most beautifully written fiction book I have ever read and the best book I've ever read. It's my top fave read of all time. I actually felt blessed to have read it once I was done. Amazing!
4/30/10: Once again I've fallen in love with this novel, even more than the first time. I don't know why I had a hard time with the first chapter or so the first time I read it (as I mentioned above). Ms. Arnoult's writing is beautiful; simple yet vividly descriptive. Her writing and more specifically this story comforts my soul and heals my heart in unexpected ways. I slowed my reading to a crawl towards the end because I didn't want it to end again. A novel I will come back to time after time.
one of the best books i've ever read! one of those 'i just couldn't put it down' reads! even if i didn't knit, i would love this book! (keep a box ofone of the best books i've ever read! one of those 'i just couldn't put it down' reads! even if i didn't knit, i would love this book! (keep a box of tissues ready for the last chapter!) ...more
First off, let me say that I doubt I would have heard of this book had it not been the April 2008 group read for the "Chicks on Lit" GoodReads club! BFirst off, let me say that I doubt I would have heard of this book had it not been the April 2008 group read for the "Chicks on Lit" GoodReads club! Based on its' description, I wasn't entirely impressed but decided to give it a try! I was more encouraged after our local library director told me she'd read it and that it was well done and very interesting!
I picked up the book on April 1st and was done on April 7th! (That in and of itself says a lot! I don't know about you, but bad reads don't go fast for me!) What a rare and amazing read! Very few books leave me feeling as though I am better for having read them ~ this is one of those books!
This story is an artful blend of little known facts and fiction, about a woman named Mamah Borthwick Cheney, (Pronounced May-Mah!) who began a scandulous affair with reknowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the (early) 1900's after he designed and built a house for her and her then husband, Edwin Cheney. Mamah is an educated and passionate woman who wanted to live in ways that felt right to her, not in ways that society dictated at that time. (Feminism was close to her heart!) Mamah's relationship with Frank lasted until her death in 1914.
Given the subject matter and time period of the book, I didn't expect it to grab my attention right from the first pages, which it did! Perhaps because I too have desperately sought self-fulfillment and "true" love (and the balance of the two), I immediately related to Mamah's longings and restlessness. However, would I have had the courage to seek these things in Mamah's time, when Feminism was really beginning to take hold throughout the country (US)?! I'd like to think I would, though I'd also like to think that I would've gone about it in different ways than Mamah did, but "hindsight is always 20/20" and my own past indicates otherwise! (That's another story!)
Instead of asking for a divorce and leaving Edwin once she realized she had feelings for Frank, she initially began an intellectual affair, though once she has had her 2nd child, the affair becomes all encompassing and physical. Eventually she leaves her family for Europe to be with Frank. And so begins her painful quest for self identity and fulfillment and love.
It's easy for readers to be upset with Mamah's decisions, but instead of being upset or outraged, I felt painful understanding. I've been guilty of some the same types of decisions in my past! I haven't always made the best decisions when it came to relationships & my life, and my daughter before she passed. And as I said already, I know what it's like to so desperately want to be fulfilled and be loved at the same time! It's natual for us to react that way to what others do ~ then more often than not, we act in the same manner!
Whatever the case may be, this book is a wonderful achievement as a first novel! So well written! I traveled with ease throughout 7 or so years of Mamah's life, feeling her pain & joy, seeing the sights she saw, living the life she so courageously lived & fought for and mourned the loss of her and her children upon learning of their untimely and unfair passings.
**spoiler alert** I tend to shy away from books w/this type of subject matter (losing children) but for some reason, when I accidentally came across t**spoiler alert** I tend to shy away from books w/this type of subject matter (losing children) but for some reason, when I accidentally came across this book in a 'knitting' search at the library, I didn't shy away from it and I'm glad. Like the author Ann Hood, I too lost my daughter, though under very different circumstances and before Brianna was born. Ann's daughter Grace died suddenly at the too young age of 5.
I had a very difficult time getting into the book though. I wasn't feeling any connection w/the writing. I wasn't feeling anything. Perhaps my knowing that the main character had lost her daughter caused me to steel myself against connecting w/what I was reading so as not to get upset.
The end of Chapter 3 opened me up and I not only connected with Ann's writing, but was very emotional through the rest of the book! I was startled that this book included many incredibly painful issues, which may (or may not) make it difficult, even gut wrenching, for some to read. I expected the loss of young daughters, but there was also abortion, rape, a child's severe illness, divorce, depression, deaths from September 11th... Many other things I've also been through besides losing Brianna.
I'm not trying to discourage anyone from reading it! There are few books that I feel I am better for having read and this makes that list for me! I do believe I felt comforted at the end, knowing that some of the things I've done, said and felt are universal to these kinds of heartbreaks and in that I don't feel so isolated now.
Let me also say this: Do not let the fact that there is knitting in this novel keep you from reading it! It's worth the read whether you knit or not!
Since this is the GoodReads 'ChicksOnLit' group read for July 2008, I'll be re-reading this then and may post an update here when I'm done! ...more
**spoiler alert** I'd give this book 3.5 stars if I could.
I'm not fond of the POV being from Martha Carrier's daughter Sarah. The book builds very sl**spoiler alert** I'd give this book 3.5 stars if I could.
I'm not fond of the POV being from Martha Carrier's daughter Sarah. The book builds very slowly though I think it's because you need to feel tension building and get a sense how the environment was in that time period, especially for women. The ending seemed not to fit the rest of the novel and was very vague.
It's well written, her vivid descriptions give you the lay of the land, what the people look like, the scents of rural living, the tension of living in a time of religious zealots, fear of the unknown and isolation. I also think it's one of the most honestly written pieces I've read (fiction or otherwise) about Salem Jail during the time of the Witch Trials and for that, this is a very valuable read.
Since we were just in Salem this October and I was doing a lot of reading about the Trials starting in August, this brought to life some of the horrors I'd read about and one scene in The Witch Dungeon Museum popped into my mind as I read the hanging of Martha; It's at the end of the Museum and there's a large tree with life like looking men & women hanging from it, the hooded Executioner waiting at the top of the ladder to hang the next. (Hubby & I were disgusted when people stopped to pose in front of this scene and have someone take their pics).
This book made me think about a very ugly & terrifying time in human history. Would I have been one of the Accused? Or would I have been one of the accusers? ...more
**spoiler alert** I won't go into a summary since there's one posted for the book and others have also done so in their reviews.
I was immediately dra**spoiler alert** I won't go into a summary since there's one posted for the book and others have also done so in their reviews.
I was immediately drawn to this book at the library 2 weeks ago while browsing through the 'new arrivals' section. I didn't even finish reading the jacket when I clutched it to my chest and decided it was coming home with me, knowing it would most likely be a painful read at times. This was an absorbing novel. I felt much as I read it. Also, I thought I knew fairly early on what was going to happen with respect to one aspect of the plot and the suspense of waiting for it to happen was incredible! Then I thought I had been wrong, thinking something else would happen instead. What actually happened threw me for a loop!
Painful, gut wrenching, heart breaking, tearful, it was. But it was also comforting sharing in the kind of grief you feel no one else in the world understands or feels (because unfortunately there are those who do). Wonderful achievement for a first novel and I look forward to more from Lynne. ...more