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Grace

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,991 Ratings  ·  354 Reviews
For a runaway slave in the 1840s south, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic Massa. That’s what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes a brutal Alabama plantation, leaving behind her beloved Momma and sister Hazel and taking refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a freewheeling, gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. There, amidst a revolv ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Counterpoint
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Popular Answered Questions
Marianne I don't know how to add a spoiler alert, but I think the answer is on the first page of the book.
Melody Kemble High School and above, so 15+, perhaps. I suppose, given the content, it's subjective on the maturity level of the individual.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Hannah Greendale
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

It is 1838 and Naomi is a slave girl living on a plantation in Faunsdale, Alabama, until a terrifying incident sends her running for her life. She arrives in Georgia and finds shelter in a brothel where she falls for a white man. The result of their secret love is Josey, a baby girl of mixed blood with blonde hair. Josey is a young woman when word of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches her hometown of Tal
...more
Cheri
4.5 Stars

“The peaceful valley
Just over the mountain
The peaceful valley
Few come to know
I may never get there
Ever in this lifetime
But sooner or later
It's there I will go
Sooner or later.”

Up to the Mountain--Patricia J. Griffin

This multigenerational family saga weaves back and forth through time and place, between the stories of Naomi, a slave girl who begins life on a plantation in Faunsdale, Alabama, and Josey, Josephine, beginning in the year 1838, through Conyers, Georgia and Tallassee, Alaba
...more
Lori
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Novels about slavery are never easy reads, but they remind us of the strength and determination of the human spirit. I adored so many of these characters and their stories will stay with me. I was a lil worried with part of Naomi’s narrative being told in ghost/spirit form, but I grew used to it. In the end it told a story that would’ve otherwise been missed. Southern and historical fiction lovers should place this novel at the forefront of their reading lists. 5+ stars.
Mainlinebooker
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-fiction
Oh, I wish there was a rating above 5..Could I give this a 10? I loved, loved,loved this book. I have really enjoyed a lot of books recently but none that have pulled me in so deeply,made me care for the characters so intensely or riveted my soul to a story so powerfully.It is so hard to believe that this is her debut novel..
Grace begins with a murder on an Alabama plantation. I hate to say much more because I don't want to give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say that the story takes place ove
...more
Anna
There's a blurb on the back of this novel from Rebecca Solnit that is absolutely appropriate for it: "People will compare this book to 'Twelve Years a Slave', 'Cold Mountain', and 'Beloved', and those are fair comparisons for the kind of time and place here, and the evocation of the South 150 years ago. But reading it, I thought of murder ballads, those songs of melancholy and injustice. Natashia Deón's genius lies, in part, in writing a book that sustains a murder ballad's intensity for hundred ...more
Andre
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Powerfully rendered. More to come............

Wow. Wow. Superbly written and emotionally jarring. I can't say enough great things about this book. It is a novel that is definitely worth reading. The story is told from the perspective of Naomi who narrates the story both as living being then as ancestral spirit. At first, I didn't think this narrative device would work, however Natashia Deon pulled it off in tremendous fashion. As I was reading the book , I was thinking that this would make a
...more
Jeanette
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is 3.5 star. The only reason I can't round it up was this. For me, I consistently was pulled out of the chronology of the story and narrator identity question to the point that I could not connote. There was a section, nearly exactly in the middle which became so confusing to me that after a reread, I still couldn't place it and so soldiered on.

The beginning was stunning. And carries the intense violence that so much of the remaining placements also evidence. And the ending was breath-hold
...more
Michelle

“Justice is getting what you deserve. And mercy is not getting the bad you deserve. Grace is getting a good thing, even when you don’t deserve it.”

Grace is an emotionally gripping novel. Set in the antebellum South through the Civil War and the early days of emancipation, it touches on the woman as captive. Not just in the literal sense but in the figurative sense as well. Though the novel focuses on the narrator Naomi and her daughter, Cynthia, the Jewish madam and Annie, the abandoned wife o
...more
Monica **can't read fast enough**
Gut wrenchingly emotional and beautifully written. Deon has blown me away. Review to come.
Nnenna
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is excellent and I feel like there aren’t enough people talking about how good it is. The main character is Naomi, a slave in the South in the mid-1800s. The book begins with Naomi’s murder, hours after she’s given birth to a child. Naomi dies that night, but she doesn’t quite move on. Instead, she reflects on her experiences before her death, and those of her daughter after her death.

Deon wrote this story beautifully and Naomi was such a rich character. She has a heartbreaking life. I
...more
Nakia
Dec 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am on the fence about this book. Lots of beautiful prose and an interesting premise about a young runaway slave, Naomi, who finds a new home in a brothel run by an eccentric unstable white woman. Naomi is killed after giving birth to Josey, a very light baby, who upon her mother’s death, is passed around on a plantation, from the owners who initially want to raise her as their own because they think she is white, to a Black male slave who becomes her “father”.

There were lots of beautiful pass
...more
Jamie Schaffner
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I binge read Grace. Couldn't stop reading late into the night. One more chapter, I kept saying to myself and didn't turn off the light and go to bed. From the first few pages until the end—and what an end—I was captivated by the pervasive and immediate danger for women and girls in the antebellum South. I quickly dropped my notion that the people in the novel, mostly female, would be entirely different than me. So many of their thoughts and problems, and especially their relationships to one ano ...more
David
May 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Given this book's current popular appeal, and the high ratings it has received from Goodreads friends whose opinions I respect, I don't want to give this 2 Stars without also providing some explanation. I run the risk of being labeled "hard to please" or "never satisfied"; certainly I am legitimately accused of being very analytic and detail-oriented. So be it. However I find myself especially frustrated when a book with great ideas and lots of potential fails largely because of sloppy content a ...more
Pam
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What to say? I had to read "Grace: A Novel" in one sitting. Not only because I couldn't put it down, but because the characters couldn't put their lives down and I felt like I had to stay with them until the end. Not sure how else to explain it. Beautifully written, compelling, but a hard, emotional read. Be prepared to have this story sit with you long after the last page.
Marquette
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Worth way more than 5 stars. This is one of the best books I have ever read.
Donna Lewis
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yes, this is a book about slavery, about the south, leading up to and through the Civil War, but it is more about the enduring spirit of women, especially the bond between mothers and daughters. The rich scenery and dialogue add to the incredible journey of the women in the story - their strength, their determination and their spirit.
Amanda
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-literature
DNF at 171 pages. My expectations were too high going into this book. I was super thrilled about a ghost narrating the story, but all that meant at almost halfway was we got one first person perspective and one third person perspective. A lost opportunity to explore aspects only a ghost could bring to a story. I didn't feel connected to the characters as individuals. It felt like a very standard slave narrative that ticked off the boxes of horrible things done to slaves. I'm not intrigued enough ...more
Betty
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I feel certain that I would have done better with this book if I'd read it instead of listening. It's one those novels, not uncommon, that change from one narrator to another and you can only tell it's happening by blank lines at the change. Readers of audio books have no way to indicate this, I guess. So I was confused until I realized who the narrators were and that were only two.

It's a marvelous novel that grows and grows with interesting characters, including a spirit who narrates part of th
...more
Jana
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club
This is a civil war era novel about slavery and a mother’s bond to her child beyond life. But two of my favorite books lately (ever?!) were on the same subject: Underground Railroad and Lincoln in the Bardo - Lincoln was about other things, but there was also a similar afterlife character to this book as well.

Rough start with the audio version but things improved when I switched to print. There is a lot of time jumping, and POV switching. I need to see those rather than listen.

We had a great,
...more
Laurie
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book that you will love or hate; It is a book that will effect you to your core. It is disturbing and unimaginable what you will read on the pages of Grace. I constantly asked myself how people could treat other people this way. I am ashamed and saddened by the events within this book that are the history of our great nation.

Thank you Goodreads for a copy of the book.
Judy

I loved this novel. It is an example of what a female author can accomplish when she allows herself to write truly from her own heart and vision.

I was already in ghost story mode from reading White Tears just before it. In Grace, the ghost who narrates the tale is the mother of the main character, Grace. Both are slaves. The ghost narrator's mother was also a slave upon whom her master kept producing babies as a way to get more slaves without having to pay for them. Except the woman kept having
...more
Laurene
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just WOW! One of those "what did I just read". And this is a debut novel. Incredible

Sometimes a book stays with me for a while. And this is why.
"If I could talk to Josey, I'd tell her to always enjoy the present. To live in it. I'd tell her about love, too. I'd tell her the love she has for this boy, she'll feel again. I'd tell her about real love. Tell her to not be fooled by what feels real. Tell her to get married like I never could. Tell her to marry someone who's kind. I'd tell her to ma
...more
LaMesha
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the BEST novel that I've read this year! My God! This gripped me from the first to the last word. There are so many reveiws that will give you the run down of the plot and all that jazz. I'm speaking from my heart. This, my friends, is going to be a classic. I borrowed this copy from my local library, and cannot wait to add it to my collection by purchasing my own. The bravery in this book! The injustice! The characters!!! This was gorgeous and intense! I was squeezing my ass cheeks toge ...more
Karen
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Grace written by Natashia Deon

Grace is an historical novel about the horrible conditions that the black African American's had to live with in the South before, during and after the Civil War. Naomi is the narrator throughout the entire book. It is through her voice that we learn of the death of her mother and the black man her sister Hazel was going to marry named James. They are both murdered in cold blood at the hands of the Master and his helper of the plantation. Naomi, who is only fifteen
...more
Trudy
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished and I am both emotionally exhausted and spiritually uplifted!

The backdrop of this story is mainly during the 1840's, in the south, amidst slavery, the Civil War, and its aftermath. There was quite a host of characters and many mini storylines. At times, it was a little challenging for me to keep track of who was who. However, Natasha Deon did not leave any stones unturned as she penned each character's life, both prominent and brief.
The main character, however, was a runaway slave wom
...more
Jaclyn Crupi
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a killer. It will haunt me forever as the legacies of slavery, genocide and colonialism haunt us all. Narrated by a ghost, Grace takes up deep into the South and reveals brutal truths. It's a tough read. Don't even get me started on the writing - it's sublime. It deserves way more attention that it's received.
Alison Hardtmann
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
This is the debut novel by Natashia Deón. It tells the stories of two black women, Naomi, in 1840s Georgia and her daughter, Josey, in the 1860s in Alabama. Naomi flees the murder of a slaveowner, finding a refuge of sorts in a rural brothel. There, she has a contentious relationship with the brothel owner, but her impulsivity and naivety lead her into danger. Later, her daughter, blonde and troubled, experiences the dangers of being legally free, but living in the South.

This was an interesting
...more
LindaJ^
The narrator is a ghost. She tells her own story and that of her daughter. For the most part, they are in different chapters (in the audio, they are introduced by the date and place) until the very end when it switches in what in audio seems like paragraph by paragraph as the suspense builds. While we know what happened to the ghost (she is killed at the beginning of the book), what happened that lead to the young, pregnant Naomi to run be running through the woods is not heard until the end.

Nao
...more
Julia Graf
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book until about the last quarter, at which point I felt it dragged a bit and the ending was rather abrupt and quite unsatisfying. I would have given it 3.5 stars if I could.
Jennifer
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i found this an incredibly strong novel, and a mind-blowingly excellent debut. deón is a hugely talented writer - her scenes and characters are incredibly vivid and visceral. right from the first page, i knew this was a story that was going to crush my heart. and yet, it is so necessary and compelling - it has to be read. while there are horrors within the book, there are also beautiful moments, along with huge amounts of sensitivity and heart. the crescendo leading to the ending is so intense, ...more
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Blitberry Box Boo...: The March Box 1 6 Apr 28, 2017 06:04PM  
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Natashia Deón is a 2017 NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Grace (Counterpoint Press), which was awarded the 2017 First Novel Prize by the American Library Association's Black Caucus (BCALA), was named Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Book Riot Favorite Book of 2016, The Root Best Book of 2016, and an Entropy Magazine Best Book ...more
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“It’s been said that justice is getting what you deserve. And mercy is not getting the bad you deserve. Grace is getting a good thing, even when you don’t deserve it.” 10 likes
“It ain’t fair they tell women to wear something like a baggie sleeve from neck to ankle even in a heat wave. The religious ones tell her it’s what God wants. To honor her body. When really it’s to make women servants to those men’s sin because they cain’t see women the way God intended—not everybody’s a possible lover—sisters and brothers, maybe. But those men blame her instead of asking God to cleanse and fix them. Around women, those men are always halfway in hell. Double-minded.” 8 likes
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