Tender Graces is Kathryn Magendie's first book, and it is a good read. If you liked the YaYa-books you will probably also like Tender Graces.
The beautiful, wild and somewhat uneducated Katie Ivene from the mountains in West Virginia meets the fancy Shakespeare quoting door-to-door salesman Frederic, and within a short period of time they have gotten married with three kids: Micah, Virginia Kate and Andy. Virginia Kate, whom we meet on the first page as a grown up heading back to her childhood home in order to come to terms with her past, is telling the story of her mother, her father, her siblings and her family and their life from the early 1960'es to the early 1970'es.
The story takes place in the American South and have a lot of the ingredients of the traditional Southern Gothic novel. For one thing its full of ghosts, ghosts which only Virginia Kate can see. Ghosts that she use as the story unfolds and the childhood memories come pressing in, helped along by her grandmother's journal.
The first half of the story is very dark, and although it lacked some important information I would've liked to know more about (for instance about her grandmother's life) it is a gripping story. Halfway through things take a turn for our protagonists, and from then on the story moves to be a bit too predictable and definitely not as strong as the first part. Character development and descriptions are fine and well done throughout the book (but there are some minor characters who still play a large part, and more about them would have suited the story as a whole). I am sure I will read more by Kathryn Magendie if she keeps up her fine style and fine grip on believable characters.
Read more on Kathryn Magendie's website here - where it also states that a new book about Virginia Kate will come out in 2010.
This book is read as part of the Twenty Ten Reading Challenge hosted by Bart's Bookshelf. It has been read in the category Bad Bloggers. Bad Bloggers was invented by Chris from Stuff As Dreams Are Made On and is basically a blame game for fun, where you blame the blogger who made you want to read a certain book and make you TBR grow. You can read more about Bad Bloggers over at Chris'. Click the link above.
I am blaming Natalie from The Book Inn for making me want to read this book. She reviewed it last summer, and I went straight out and bought it. Read Natalie's review here.