THE SAVING GRACES by Patricia Gaffney


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A sweetly affirmative if teary-eyed story, Washington, D.C.’set, of four women who find consolation in friendship as they cope with cliché issues from breast cancer to infertility. For more than ten years, Lee, Emma, Rudy, and Isabel have been getting together regularly for talk, dinner, and mutual support. They call themselves the “Saving Graces” because they once hit a dog while driving home after dinner, but managed to save it and named her Grace. Isabel, almost saintly in appearance and action, is the oldest, the group’s den mother, and the only one with a child. As the story opens, she’s divorced, trying to make a new life, and recovering from breast cancer. Lee, knowledgeable and professional, is married to Henry, a sweet hunk of a plumber, and wants a baby, but can’t get pregnant. Rudy, whose family is a mess, is seeing a therapist and trying to make a life without angering her manipulative husband, Curtis. Emma, a single journalist, wants to write fiction and marry. Eventually, Isabel loses her battle with the cancer, but she finds a new love. Lee’s marriage is strained by her unsuccessful infertility treatments. Rudy’s struggle for autonomy is battered by Curtis’s cruel lies. And Emma falls in love with a married man. But each woman can depend on the others for support, so that when the crises come, they’re all there to pitch in with help, affection, and food. The dying Isabel, wise and loyal to the end, writes a letter to be read after her death that neatly counsels her friends on what to do with their lives—advice they immediately heed, thereby finding the requisite happiness such a tale demands. Strong characters making the best of an often schematic but always readable story. It’s Gaffney’s first hardcover—and a great book for the beach. (First printing of 100,000; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book selections; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: July 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-06-019192-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1999


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