In Temple’s debut YA fantasy novel, a young woman contends with angels, battles demons, and learns to love herself and others.
When 17-year-old Grace Bennett arrives at a mysterious mansion, she doesn’t realize that the course of her life is about to change dramatically. The shrewish Mrs. B. and her companion, Willem, offer her summer employment as Mrs. B’s assistant. The new job saves her from working for her “goody-two-shoes” brother and “holier-than-thou” sister-in-law, so Grace happily accepts—despite the fact that two elderly strangers mysteriously seem to know everything about her. It soon becomes clear that Grace relies on sarcasm and reckless behavior to push people away and mask her own insecurities; she also displays compulsive behaviors, such as obsessive counting and checking rituals, to calm herself. In spite of her quirks, though, she’s a likable character, and in her better moments, her sarcasm turns into creative wit. During her new job, she meets Merc, a bewitching young man, and Locke, who claims to be Willem’s grandson. She soon realizes that her new acquaintances are far more than meets the eye and that she needs to learn to trust them. She soon risks losing herself in a literal battle between angels and demons—and each of her new companions will play a crucial role in helping her set things right. As Temple shows Grace begin to mature, she satisfyingly allows her to keep enough of her edge to keep her from becoming a flavorless heroine; Grace’s realistic spiritual improvement is neither immediate nor complete. The author also makes sure that the other characters are equally dynamic. The angels, for example, don’t always behave angelically, often demonstrating arrogance and other faults, and the demons aren’t always as wicked as readers might expect.
A well-paced fantasy story of redemption and self-improvement.