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Grace and Serenity

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace's only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version o
Paperback, 284 pages
Published July 7th 2020 by Vine Leaves Press
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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  44 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Dash fan
5☆ Dark, Taut, Heartbreaking, Raw and Powerful Read, That will get under your skin!

Grace & Serenity is a highly compelling yet taut and dark Domestic Drama that got under my skin and played with my Emotions.

Grace was just Seventeen when she fell pregnant with her baby Serenity. At the time she was naive and head over heels in love with Neil who is a good few years older than her.

But little did she know that Neil wasn't the person she fell in love with. All the signs were there, he was over prot
Tom Gillespie
May 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Annalisa Crawford has crafted a soul-searing, pulverising powerhouse of a novel that left me punch drunk and breathless by the end. The tale follows the tragic fall of Grace, a sensitive, innocent and vulnerable teenager who is thrown to the monsters of adulthood and rapidly torn limb from limb. The story begins with an unexpected pregnancy and then the fateful wheels of trouble and misfortune start to spin. Her descent into hell is both terrifying and seemingly unstoppable, as she tumbles from ...more
Paula  Phillips
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As soon as I heard about this book, I read the blurb and knew I would enjoy it. The other thing that caught my eye was the release date of the book as July 7th is my birthday. The book starts off with our main character Grace falling pregnant in her senior year and the father of the baby - a 19-year-old guy she met at a party Neil acting like she trapped him and then he calls her names and brands her a liar. He then walks out the door and leaves. Grace then tells her parents and thinking it's ea ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This stark portrayal of abuse is from the victim’s perspective and highlights a slow and torturous mental decline.
The textbook scenario is that things are really bad but the character hangs in there because there is always hope and the thinking that bad things don’t last forever; so she clings to hope and continues on the journey; but things continue to worsen and she slips into a state of ‘acceptance’ even though she knows that she should be doing something, but what and how?
Hope lingers, erode
Vikki Patis
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grace and Serenity is a dark, gripping novel that kept me reading late into the night. Set in Plymouth, a city I know well, this book shines a light on the reality of domestic abuse. It tells the story of a desperate young woman who finds herself on a difficult path, and hurtles towards a thrilling conclusion. A tense and compelling read.
Cathy Ryan
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing

This was quite a dark, although sensitively addressed story, and one that emphasises how easily someone can get sucked in to situations they feel unable to control.

Grace was just sixteen when she met Neil, and not much older when she became pregnant. Neil had charmed Grace from the beginning but she saw another side of him when she told him she was expecting their child. He didn’t want to know and made his feelings plain. This was the first sign of his true character and a precursor of what was
Stephanie Jane
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-europe
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Grace & Serenity is a heartbreaking novel which explores how easily childish dreams can be smashed when confronted with the callousness of the adult world. Grace is only fifteen when ninteen-year-old Neil sweeps her off her feet at a party. Even after he uses her pregnancy as an excuse to abandon her for months, the socially conditioned desirability of marriage-and-happy-families leads Grace to immediately accept his eventual proposal, unwitt
Phill Provance
Aug 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If only Annalisa Crawford’s debut novel, Grace and Serenity, were required reading for all young people trapped in the sort of abuse cycles so delicately and convincingly presented in her story. Crawford’s “fiction” could easily pass for memoir, as well as for a guidebook to adolescence presenting plenty of hard-won wisdom on how to protect your own, how to spot trouble before it ruins your life, and how to survive when miserable and in danger. Most of all, Grace and Serenity shows how to get aw ...more
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this debut novel, Annalisa Crawford uses immense sensitivity and literary prowess to address the inner destruction wrought by domestic violence.

Unsuspecting 18-year-old Grace has everything to look forward to as she approaches graduation, and after that, entrance into university. She imagines a well-paying career and someday a happy family complete with a husband and children.

Her dreams precipitously fall when she becomes pregnant. Her arrogant, manipulative boyfriend initially abandons her.
Nick Wilford
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grace and Serenity kept me gripped from start to finish. An unflinching look at domestic abuse and its tragic consequences, it's tough to read in places, but what kept me turning pages was the will to see things get better for Grace, who seems to face adversity wherever she turns. I think what makes this book is the sensitivity with which the author approaches the topic - nothing is sensationalized or overwrought, it's all quite matter of fact, even when describing dream sequences. But that's no ...more
Anne Goodwin
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was gripped by this fast-paced debut novel. Annalisa Crawford perfectly captures the disorientation of new motherhood and the gradual erosion of the self in a relationship characterised by coercive control. I really felt for Grace and her predicament and wanted to rush to the rescue. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a really well-written novel, full of emotion, and it’s good to read a story involving domestic abuse that doesn’t hold back, and that really traces Grace’s story from an innocent and hopeful young girl to someone manipulated into making decisions that ruin her life.

Grace is very well-drawn and her feelings and frustrations are depicted clearly, making the reader really care about her and what is happening to her.

However, I found it quite difficult to accept that Grace’s parents would re
Dina Tempere
This book really wasn't for me...I found it dreary and depressing, and found myself waiting...hoping...for a twist in the tail that never came. The ending was literally one of the worst I've ever encountered, it definitely felt as if the author decided she had reached her total word count so just stopped dead. Very disappointing.
Lynne Piza
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow this book is NOT for the faint hearted! The author did warn me before I accepted the request that it’s quite hard hitting with some tough situations within the book but it’s even more so than even I thought!

This is an incredibly touching and hard hitting story where one young lady is pushed to her limits! The things she has to experience, and survive are just absolutely horrific! Yet there are DEFINITELY people in our world that suffer how Grace has suffered and experience what Grace experie
Stacey Bryan
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This was an emotional and highly charged look into the nightmare of domestic abuse including the familiar cycle of attack/apologize/blame/attack/apologize that much of society has been enlightened on by now.

I loved the thought of this story (as much as one can 'love' such a hard-hitting topic) starting from innocence and moving through layers of misunderstanding and accumulating violence and felt the dark journey was well documented, along with deep psychological probings, rationalizations and f
Cheryl (I Heart Fictional People)
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Review originally posted on my blog: I Heart Fictional People


I was drawn to this book right away. It looks and sounds so heartbreaking. I just had to read it. I couldn’t scroll past this one and say “one day.” I had to read it immediately.


Grace. She is a child who unexpectedly becomes a mother and a wife. She is thrown into this life that is very different than how she dreamed being a mother and wife would be like. She tries her hardest to be good at both. All she wan
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s hard to imagine the struggles the young girlish version of Grace we see at the beginning of the book will go through.

One of the biggest flags for how well a character is written is how much I get emotionally involved with them. Within the first few pages, we see Grace’s planned-out life spiralling out of her grasp and into trouble. A lot of the struggles she goes through throughout the book aren’t her fault and as a reader, my heart went out to her. I wanted to help her get out of the diff
Nicola Simmons
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Bustin
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Grace and Serenity isn’t my normal read, but what drew me to the book was the intriguing-sounding blurb. I felt drawn to Grace and her life situation. Which I will just add, isn’t her fault.

Grace met her future husband Neil at a ” stupid party” when she was 16. At 17 she had to tell him she was pregnant. This is at the start of the book, and where you first discover how cruel and mean Neil is. Grace had a dream of going to university and studying to be a journalist, but things were now going dow
Heidi Lynn’s BookReviews
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First, I want to thank Annalisa Crawford and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with this book so I may bring you this review.

Annalisa Crawford wrote an intensely powerful and extremely gut wrenching storyline in Grace & Serenity. For me this book was a very emotional read on many different levels. At one time I even needed a few tissues.

The graphic artist that designed this cover did an incredible job. It is so different and unique to anything out there. However, it fit perfectly with
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of the most depressing and saddest books I've read in a long time. Watching Grace's slow downfall from a seventeen-year-old girl excited about going to college to her unfortunate choices thereafter, is heartbreaking and difficult to read.  However, I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know what happens to this poor girl who couldn't catch a break.

Grace is so young to have endured so much heartache that she didn't deserve. Although naive, she has the strength to survive whatever
Ann Epstein
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honest and Unapologetic – Kafka said, “We ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it?” Grace and Serenity, by Annalisa Crawford, meets that criterion. The novel’s ironic title is derived from its young protagonist and the name she gives her daughter, but the unlucky character finds neither. Her life is a bleak chain of curtailed dreams, domestic violence, homelessness, and hopelessness. Crawfo ...more
Betty The Bookaholic
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to the publisher/author!

This is a dreary and depressing story, and sadly, probably very true to life.

The book description is what drew me to this book. The way the description was written made me think the story opened when Grace was 19, the abusive husband and kidnapped baby had already happened, and that the bulk of the story would be focused on what happens with the "Good Samaritan" and the strange little boy. However, this is not the case -
Hannah Symonds
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have read some of Annalisa's books before and always enjoyed them so was delighted to be asked to read her latest story. This is the story of Grace and Serenity. I like how the story is set in Plymouth, Grace has been through a lot probably most then some people could ever imagine, with a baby too. She decides to run away from it all unfortunately for her its the middle of winter, trying to live on the streets is not what she expected it to be but it is alot worse that she can ever imagine, Sh ...more
Tiziana Langone
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
When the future you imagined just disappears in the blink of an eye.
Grace is a young girl ready to start working on her future. After finishing high school, she wants to go to the university and make something of her life.
When she finds herself pregnant, all her dreams are put away and she finds herself married with the father of her baby girl.
But married life is not how she imagined… Her husband is abusing her, and when she finds the courage to go away, he abducts the child and accuses Grace
Elizabeth Seckman
Oct 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Grace had a happy childhood, but adult Grace couldn't seem to get it all in order for a happy adulthood. I think that's a great reminder to us all that abuse can happen to anyone. While drug abuse and physical abuse can be carry-overs from an abusive childhood, there is no exact formula for who will suffer through adulthood. I know plenty of families that are loving and supportive, yet have a child who suffers emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically.
Besides Annalisa's clever writing
Karen B
Nov 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Wow. There are no silver linings in this book about domestic abuse that leads to alcoholism and mental illness. Well written, this story, unfortunately, can be all too true. Ms Crawford does a great job in describing how Gracie feels and thinks as she tries to make sense of her desperate situation.
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. It was basically a good story in recounting Grace’s experiences but the portrayal of the characters were so black and white with no character development of the “evil” men in her life that made them so one-dimensional. I never could relate to the main character and felt her chart also was not well-developed.
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Annalisa Crawford is a phenomenal author who doesn't get the recognition she deserves. Grace and Serenity is a pretty harrowing read, but it's so beautifully written that you can't help but keep turning the pages and rooting for the happy ending.

Outstanding read.
Vikki Clark
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As someone who lives in Plymouth I found this book amazing and immersive as I read I could see and smell the Plymouth that Grace inhabits. I highly recommend this book to everyone
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Annalisa Crawford lives in beautiful Cornwall, in the UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on her doorstep to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and dog Artoo.

Annalisa writes dark contemporary fiction with a hint of paranormal. These are mostly character-driven stories dealing with the confusion, deceit, surprise and joys of life. She is constantly fascinated

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