SHADES OF GRACE by Barbara Delinsky


Email this review


Another female-bonding story from Delinsky (Together Alone, 1995, etc.), whose sometimes syrupy storytelling is given an edge here, thanks to the carefully researched theme of Alzheimer's. Grace Dorian is ""The Confidante,"" a world-famous advice columnist whose daughter Francine and 23-year-old granddaughter Sophie live in as much awe of her as everybody else . . . until Grace starts to forget things, turns out columns that don't quite make sense, gets in a car accident because she couldn't remember how to stop. The diagnosis provided by young doctor Davis Marcoux is grim--Alzheimer's--and thrusts all three generations into an emotional whirlwind. Francine especially feels she can't go on without her domineering mother, for whom she's worked and with whom she's lived, for most of her life. At Grace's command, and against Francine's better judgement, the Alzheimer's is kept a secret from the public, but one clever reporter, Robin Duffy, suspects that something's up; making one of her first autonomous decisions, Francine decides to hire Robin to help a rapidly failing Grace write her autobiography, leaving Francine free to write Grace's column full-time. Meanwhile, personal as well as professional lives are suffering; Grace wants Francine and Sophie to marry before she dies, but Francine is bored by Robert, Grace's choice for her, and rebellious Sophie is dating Gus, the family chauffeur. And there's the mystery: As Grace's mind deteriorates, details slip concerning her heretofore never-mentioned childhood; only Father Jim--Grace's oldest friend and her own confidante--knows the dramatic secrets of the past. With the help of Sophie, Robin, and Dr. Marcoux (by now far more to Francine than her mother's doctor), Francine begins to unlock those secrets--as well as some of her own. Delinsky's ability to put a human face on this horrifying disease gives a strength to what could have been a conventional romance-genre entrant.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1996
ISBN: 006171352X
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: HarperCollins