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Monday, Sunday

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Laney Secord is an attractive, 32-year-old single mother suffering from the recent loss of her husband. She blames herself for his death, and has been in a state of emotional paralysis ever since. One day, she meets Christopher, a striking 16-year-old boy in the prime of adolescence. He avidly pursues her, yet she knows the attraction she feels for him is wrong. He’s just a teenager after all – what could they have in common?

Laney tries to push him away, becoming more paranoid, feeling that everyone in tiny Plainview, Colorado is watching her, mocking her. She begins a relationship with the boy’s father, Bill, who is more age-appropriate. But he isn't quite the right match.

The week-long romantic triangle that develops culminates on Sunday, Mother’s Day, changing their lives in ways that none of them could have imagined.

In this beautifully written and compelling novel, author Fenton Grace explores the consequences of flawed choices, the nature of betrayal and forgiveness, and the boundaries of sexual attraction.

"Well-written with a creeping edginess... This story kept me turning the pages in its growing creepiness." - San Francisco Book Review

“This uncommon love triangle drama is a bold first. Its controversial topic may disturb many readers, but what is literature for? Good literature should provoke our thinking and this novel does that well.” – Portland Book Review

"From debut author Grace comes a novel about an introspective single mother and her struggle with loneliness. Keeping the reader guessing about the inevitable, messy consequences, the novel progresses with a seamless intrigue that is never dull. Featuring its share of steaminess, those interested in romantic melodrama will be eager to reach the conclusion, particularly as it takes increasingly shady turns.

A swift tale of one woman's longings, the book makes for a dark journey through small-town America." - Kirkus Reviews

287 pages, Paperback

First published March 4, 2015

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About the author

Fenton Grace

1 book4 followers
Fenton Grace was born and raised in New England. A graduate of Brown University with a degree in French, he enjoys playing golf and piano. Fenton has worked in the entertainment industry at several television and movie studios in a variety of business services roles. Happily married for 17 years, he is the proud father of two children. He currently lives in beautiful Southern California. Monday, Sunday is his first novel.

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Displaying 1 - 11 of 11 reviews
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,072 reviews266 followers
August 3, 2015
Review : MONDAY, SUNDAY by Fenton Grace

MONDAY, SUNDAY explores a young widow's self-expression as she explores her own emotions and sensuality. Laney Secord, at 32, is now a single mother of a young son, following the loss of her husband.. Living in a minuscule Colorado community, her life is surface contentment until a chance meeting with a sixteen-year-old Boy Scout awakens her interest. As he pursues Laney, she pursues his divorcing dad, and the inevitable ugly denouement looms, for there are no secrets kept safe in a town this small, and the legendary expectation of a wanderlust divorcee comes to life.

Rated 18+ for language and content
Profile Image for Kayo.
2,358 reviews27 followers
June 16, 2015
Im not sure if Im disgusted or not. Premise of the book was good. Hated the ending, and couldn't believe all that happened in the middle.
That being said, I HAD to see how it ended. Train wreck for sure, but kept me reading!!!
Profile Image for Jonathan.
Author 5 books4 followers
August 5, 2015
I've published two novels, both of which attracted a fair amount of controversy. My first, Youth and Other Fictions, dealt with the aftermath of a school shooting in a small town and focused on mentally unhinged students and teachers. It suffered all the usual flaws of a first novel, but what really bothered people was the fact that I, a high school teacher, had written a novel about a high school shooting from the perspective of a high school teacher. Young people, especially students, loved it, as did a number of adults, but a small, vocal group decided I was a bad person for having written this one.

That was nothing compared to the reaction to my second novel, SINNERMAN. SINNERMAN is about a high school teacher who enters into a romantic and, yes, sexual relationship with an eighteen-year-old woman who had graduated from the school where the teacher works but who had never been one of his students. Did I expect that to rub some people the wrong way? Sure. But, and perhaps I was being naive, I never expected the wild overreaction that ensued. Everyone, students and adults alike, seemed to assume that the former student was based on an actual student of mine. And then people got upset about the antagonist of the story, the Mormon fanatic who serves on the school board. This got me labeled as anti-Christian. And then there was the protagonist, who is a foul-mouthed, womanizing alcoholic. People thought I was writing about myself because, you know, that's all a writer can ever write about. There was the perception that I was endorsing this guy's behavior and his relationship with a former student, which became all the more problematic when a teacher I worked with was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student.

All this is to say, I'm no stranger to controversy and controversial material. I think the job of good literature is to push boundaries and make people uncomfortable.

Which brings me to the real subject of this review: Monday, Sunday, a novel by Fenton Grace.

Based on the description, I saw some similarities between what I had tried to do with SINNERMAN and what Grace is doing with Monday, Sunday. A forbidden or taboo relationship, a sense of longing for intimacy, and some really bad decisions.

So how is it? Well, I needed a shower after finishing it.

That's not to say it's bad, because it really isn't. It's a bit of a mixed bag that is complicated by the nature of the material. Mechanically speaking, the writing is very good. There are times when it is very matter-of-fact and other times when it's almost poetic, especially when the protagonist, Laney, is trying to understand things, trying to explain things to herself, and I think that ability to vary the writing to suit the needs of the narrative is the mark of genuine talent. Fenton Grace is clearly a gifted writer and someone to keep an eye on. And let mw just get this out there: this chick has balls. Not only is she clearly talented, but she is also willing to tackle extremely touchy material and tackle it by throwing herself into it without any real sense of restraint.

I will admit to romanticizing the relationship between Julian and Lily in SINNERMAN. Whether that was a good thing or not, I leave up to my readers to decide. And part of the reason I thought I could get away with that was because Lily is past the age of consent. In fact, she turns 19 during the course of the story. Monday, Sunday does not have those safeguards. The kid is not legal and there is no romance. This is a relationship, and I use that term loosely, based primarily on sexual desire. And to clarify, it's a relationship based on reciprocated sexual desire.

The narrative is straightforward and, on the surface, unremarkable. It's even tempting to say that the story is cliche; it's all been told before. But every story is, to some extent, a variation on some other story, and what's really important here is not the story itself but the characterization of a woman tempted into criminal behavior.

Consider the first chapter of the book, in which Laney and Christopher first meet. This is an immensely unsettling chapter for two reasons, one of which overt and the other quite subtle. Laney, a 32-year-old woman, has an immediate physical attraction to a 16-year-old boy. She lets her eyes roam over his body and ponders his stature, his physicality and his manliness, almost to the point of fetishizing him... and then she becomes flustered in her actions. If Laney were 16 herself, we'd smile and say "Aww, that's so cute!" But the fact that she is twice his age makes the reader uncomfortable. But that's just the surface. That's not what really unsettles the reader.

Let me explain: a person can see that another person is attractive without necessarily being attracted to that person. Just because you recognize that a person fits a certain standard of beauty does not mean you are going to be inclined towards that person. Kaitlyn, the most recent Bachelorette, springs to mind. Yes, she is an attractive woman, but given the opportunity, I would have no interest in dating her or sleeping with her. She's not my type.

And this comes into play when reading Monday, Sunday. The reader can empathize with Laney up to a certain point. We do not condone her intense physical attraction or her subsequent behavior, but we can understand how she could see him as an attractive person. And that really makes the reader uncomfortable, because that means Laney is not, or at least not entirely, the predatory monster we want her to be, perhaps even need her to be. She is a 32-year-old single mother, a widow, and as the next several chapters make abundantly clear, very lonely and very unhappy.

That's an impressive trick, to complicate a character from page one in such a way as to compel the reader to give her a chance. I will admit, during that first chapter, I somewhat regretted agreeing to review the book. I didn't like that it began with Laney and Christopher and almost nothing in the way of context, and I felt it was going to be in-your-face and tawdry for the sake of being tawdry. Despite my misgivings, though, I had to know more about this woman. I needed to get further inside her head, and so I kept reading. I actually finished the book in one sitting, despite the fact that I was uncomfortable with the material the entire time.

Grace keeps Laney interesting throughout the novel by constantly shifting our understanding of her. Just when we think we have Laney figured out, that we understand why she's behaving this way, Grace changes something about Laney that causes us to reevaluate what we thought we understood about her. In the end, we are left with a sense of co-mingled disgust and sympathy. Laney may very well be a monster... but it's not that simple.


There is simply no getting around the nature of the material. A relationship between a 32-year-old and a 16-year-old is off-putting. It's not an insurmountable obstacle, but there will be a lot of readers who will be uncomfortable even giving this book a chance because of the relationship. Those who do give it a chance will find two other problems involving the material, one of which may very well be a dealbreaker.

The sex scenes, of which there are two, are fairly graphic. I won't say they are the most graphic I've ever read, but they are a marked departure from the tone and style of the rest of the book. I think most readers who get that far will be okay with them, but I will say that one is especially disconcerting.

Much more problematic, though, is a small detail that I felt crossed a line that did not need to be crossed, that had no business being crossed given the rest of the book. It's a detail that does make sense given what we understand of the character at that point, but it does irrevocable damage to the reader's response to that character. I do have a very high tolerance for controversial material--I even read The 120 Days of Sodom for fun--but I did feel this detail crossed a line, and it brought me very close to shutting off my Kindle and calling it quits, which I don't ever do.

All that being said, if I were stopping here, I'd give Monday, Sunday four stars out of five without hesitation. I can give credit where credit is due: Fenton Grace has pulled off a remarkable feat in making extremely unsettling material compelling.

But the book does have some flaws.

For one thing, with the exception of Laney, characters are not terribly well developed. I could excuse this by saying that it is Laney's story and Laney's point of view, so of course we're going to get way more development from her, but I do feel at least some of the other characters could have benefited from being fleshed out a bit, and in particular, Christopher and his father, Bill. Also, Laney's son, Brian, needed an entire subplot. There are hints of his being significantly more complex a character than what is shown. I would have liked to have seen that explored fully. Finally, there are a few plot threads that are left dangling. These are elements that were set up to be significant but then disregarded by the end of the book.

I do think that a case could be made that these are not flaws but are instead the result of Laney's psyche, but I feel that would be overanalyzing. I think these are common flaws made by first-time novelists. I don't think they are enough to ruin the book, but they are enough to knock a star off my rating.

Overall, I give Monday, Sunday by Fenton Grace three stars out of five. I think it is a brave effort made all the more remarkable by the fact that it is a first novel. It's a hard book to get through, sometimes very hard, but it's well worth the journey, because in the end, it's not about a monster; it's about a broken human driven by desperation to put herself back together somehow.

And I will be awaiting Grace's future efforts with interest.


After writing this review, I had the opportunity to interview Fenton Grace regarding the novel and her writing process. Now that I have her responses, there are a few items I need to revise and clarify.

Regarding the age of consent in Colorado, Grace mentions in the interview that "when you look closely at it, what Laney does isn’t against the law, at least in the state of Colorado where she lives." This is something I did check when writing my review, and after interviewing Grace, I did go back to my notes and then a number of legal websites to verify what I had found. As I understand it, by my reading of the law, the age of consent in Colorado is 17, but there is a clause permitting an age difference of no more than 10 years in the event that the minor is 16. That still makes Laney too old to be having consensual sex with Christopher, unless there is a further clause of which I am unaware.

Regarding Monday, Sunday being Grace's first novel, I should have said it is her first published novel. She did write other novels before this one which she does not intend to ever publish, and those are the ones where she learned her craft. I still stand by my referring to the novel's flaws as the flaws of a first-time novelist because those flaws are very common in first novels. I don't mean to be insulting by saying that, but there is a need in a writer's gestation for an audience. With all due respect to Emily Dickinson, there is only so far that an author can go in isolation. We need the feedback that comes from having our work read by people who are a little more objective than us. So I do still consider this a first novel.

One last thing that I want to mention: the interview really drives home the difference between the novel Grace wrote and the novel I read. According to Grace, she "wanted to show a non-traditional love story and the complexities that can arise." As I mentioned in the review, I did not read a love story. I read something very different. I don't want to spend a lot of time on this, but I did want to mention it because it is something worthy of consideration after you've read the novel.
Profile Image for Esha Bajaj.
Author 3 books7 followers
August 4, 2015
I was given a kindle gift in exchange for an honest review.
Fenton Grace's Monday, Sunday is the story of thirty-two year old Laney Secord, a small town widow with a seven year old son. The story begins when a young eagle scout, Christopher, comes to her house looking for donations to help fund a scouts trip. He comes into her kitchen and kisses her.
Chris continues to advance on her, and she realizes that it has been some sort of stalker-ish craze for him, but she doesn't put an end to it. Instead, she deals with her conflicting emotions of fear and desire for Chris. Chris's father takes a liking to her and the three end up in an awkward love triangle as Laney tries to use Chris's father to appease her desire for Chris.
Monday, Sunday is a creepy book with a creepy cast of characters and it had me hanging on to every page. Grace creates the perfect picture of an idyllic life that is plagued with dark secrets. Everyone in this seemingly perfect small town has their host of corpses in their closet that have repercussions for all of those around them.
My one problem with the book was the bits of casual racism - I am finding myself a little bit split about this. On one hand, politically incorrect comments are something that is to be expected in a little, all-white Southern town, and by adding them, Grace was able to make her world more believable. However, they were a bit offsetting to read.
Monday, Sunday is a gripping psychological thriller by a talented author and does an excellent job emphasizing that things are not always as they seem. You can never know what is going on inside a person just by a quick conversation.
Profile Image for Ella Drayton.
Author 2 books35 followers
October 13, 2015
Monday, Sunday is a very interesting book. You often see and read on the news about adults who have inappropriate relationships with teenagers but you never really think about how they happened or what may have lead them to that point. This is an interesting take on such a taboo topic. As much as my stomach wanted to turn at the thought of an older woman with a teenage boy, I understood Laney's feelings of loneliness and of longing to feel youthful and desirable again after she felt like life had beaten her down.

I give this book a solid 4-star rating. I won't give it 5 stars because I HATED the ending. This was one of the only negative point in the entire book for me. I don't want to give too much away but I feel like it just ended. For me there was no resolve, no finish. Just "the end". And I don't like books that end like that. I don't like that unresolved feeling.

I also feel like it was a little shorter than it should have been. I don't think the characters were as developed as they could have been if maybe the book were just a little bit longer. Things seemed a little rushed in places like the author was hurrying the characters along.

I did enjoy the characters, though. As a young mother, I can see bits of myself in Laney. I understand that feeling of wanting to feel young again. I don't think I'd have gone to the extreme she did in order to gain that feeling back but to each their own! This is a great, quick read. I finished it in about two days. I look forward to seeing more from Fenton Grace!

**I received this book via the author in exchange for an honest review. Any thoughts and opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Jessica Bronder.
2,014 reviews22 followers
August 10, 2015
Laney’s husband passed away three years ago. She is taking his death really hard and blames herself for it. One day 16 year old Chris comes over to her house to get donations for his eagle scouts and he kisses Laney. Laney starts obsessing about Chris and tries to push him away. But decides to date his father to sate her lust for Chris. But things are not going to end well.

This book only takes place over a couple days and initially sounds unbelievable until you look at the news and all the female teachers that are sleeping with their students. But Chris is not an innocent bystander and adds to Laney’s confusion/lust? There is also the hint of a murderer in the small town that adds a little to the story.

This sounds like an interesting story and I was drawn to it. At the end I was left confused on how I felt. The story is not a simple depressed widow lusting after a 16 year old boy. Yet, there were other ways this story could have gone. I’m not completely against it was wish it could have had a different ending.

This is one of those books that I can’t officially say that you have to run out and buy. But then again it’s not one that you need to avoid at all costs. I think if it is something that catches your eye pick it up, you might really enjoy the book. For me, I could go either.

I received this book for free from Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Teddy.
526 reviews64 followers
August 3, 2015
Laney is a 32 year old widow. Her husband died three years ago and she has put her life on hold. She feels guilty for his death and for the brief affair she had before he died. She doesn’t feel she’s ready to date yet and has not been motivated to work. Then Christopher, a 16 year old boy turns up at her house looking for a donation for the Eagle Scouts. He is instantly attracted to her and though she brushes him off, she is attracted to him as well.

Christopher wont let up and starts pursuing Laney. He tries to talk her into sleeping with him and says he wont tell anyone. Laney’s 7 year old son is also quite fond of Christopher. Meanwhile, Laney meets Bill, Christopher’s father. He asks her out and she accepts. After their first date he asks her to marry him. This is all overwhelming for Lacey and going way to fast for comfort.

This well written novel delves into the triangle relationship between Laney, a 16 year old boy and his father. Though Christopher professes his love to Laney, in my opinion, this is not a love story. It is said to be in the romance/thriller genre but I wouldn’t label it as such. It is literary and contemporary, for sure. It definitely has a noir edge. It is about passion and guilt and what happens once you let the proverbial genie out of the bottle.
54 reviews
June 14, 2015
Monday, Sunday, by Fenton Grace, is a book that I wasnt able to put down. The plot itself is a bit disturbing, but something about it just sucked me in. The authors writing style is unique, and Its obvious that she posseses a great amount of talent. The story had a nice flow to it, and I was pretty intrigued.

Main character Laney is a beautiful 32 year old woman who just loss her husband. Being a single mom is not an easy task by any means, and she isnt handling it well. She blames herself for his death, and doesnt quite know how to cope with it. Almost out of nowhere, she meets 16 year old Christopher, who changes her life. He pursues her hard, and even though she knows Its wrong, her temptation overpowers her.

Eventually, she succeeds at pushing his away and decides to date his father instead, who is more age appropropriate. As much as she wants to feel that connection, she just doesnt.

Even though this book borders unconventional ideas, Its interesitng to see what grief can truly do to a person. We get to see Laneys struggle between right and wrong, and how the choices she makes can have real consequences.

Overall, this was an excellent read that I found to be intriguing. Five stars all the way, would definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Julie Baswell.
724 reviews25 followers
June 5, 2015
It’s been three years since Laney’s husband died. Since then, she has been with no one else. Now all of a sudden, 16-year-old Christopher shows up at her door soliciting for a Boy Scout trip. When he shows infatuation with her, Laney allows him to kiss her. While equally fighting and giving in to the tempting feelings he induces in her, Laney begins seeing Bill, Chris’ dad. As things begin spiraling out of control, Laney tries to become less of a victim and more of the person she has always wanted to be.

What world does this woman live in? I thought she was so delusional that she must have been in a coma dreaming everything. I don’t understand all the excessive overthinking that she constantly did. I felt overwhelmed with all the conclusions that she would immediately think, giving me a headache as well. I didn’t feel that there was much character development at all for any of them. There were so many questions left unanswered. It started with a good plot, with the potential of going in many different ways, but just didn’t quite develop totally.
Profile Image for Delta.
1,242 reviews18 followers
January 19, 2016
I had such a hard time getting through this book; partially because of the subject matter, and partially because of the absolute roller-coaster of plot, characters, and emotions. Literally, the only thing stopping me from giving the book a 2- or 1-star review is the fact that it was told from Laney's perspective (without being a first-person POV) and I can attribute some of the emotional whiplash to Laney's internal perspective. All of the characters are underdeveloped, except for Laney. Every time we learn something new about our main protagonist, I become less sympathetic to her dilemma. And keep in mind that this entire affair (including a marriage proposal) happen within a week. It's just a bit too much for me to take in. If the book had taken course over a couple of months or a year, then I would have rated this higher. And there were so many plot lines that were dangled in front of us but were never fully developed. Such as the town murderer, or whether Laney was pregnant.

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Jill Miller.
196 reviews9 followers
July 4, 2015
While I will admit that I couldn't quit reading this book, now that I have, I wish I hadn't. The book had so much promise: an intriguing and very different storyline, a hint of a town murderer, an impending sense of dread throughout, building suspense...........but in the end it just all petered out in a disgusting fizzle. The main character was just bat-shit nuts, and I had no sympathy for her at all. I kept hoping that she would be the next victim of the alluded-to town murdered, but alas, no such luck. It's just a shame that all three of the main characters, Laney, Chris and Bill, weren't together in the final car crash. (I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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