Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

Free review copy provided by the publisher.

In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, Tender Graces is a moving tale told through the unfiltered thoughts of a young girl. Unfortunately, Virginia Kate Carey and her siblings have no Atticus Finch to usher them through the ups and downs of childhood. As the adult Virginia Kate struggles to reconcile painfully conflicted feelings about her dead "Momma," the young Virginia Kate, "Seestor" as her brothers call her, tells the story of the confused, at times tormented, adults in her life, who often reverse rolls with their children. The only fairly steady figure is stepmother Rebekha, and even she is riddled with self-doubt and requires bolstering from VK at times.

Telling a story mostly from a child's point of view can be a challenge, but Magendie, deftly, never steps out of voice to engage in "author speak." From the cool mountains of her "holler" in West Virginia to hot, steamy Louisiana, she takes us with her wherever she goes, with sensory details that bring the story to life without weighing it down, and the ending, while I won't give it way, is just what the story calls for.

I don't know about blood, but I certainly know the sweat and tears that Kathryn Magendie put into her first novel and efforts to bring it to life for others to read. From this point on, I hope others will follow in short order.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Every word of your review true.

Nannette Croce said...

And more. Thanks for the comment, Angie, or should I say, Rebekha? Wish I could have written a longer and even more detailed review, but (borrowing a colloquialism from my friends to the south) y'all know I'm pressed for time these days. Every minute I took out to read TG, however, was worth it.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Thank you for this wonderful review of my book, Nannette -- to even have my book mentioned with To Kill A Mockingbird is an honor....

I thank you for taking the time to read my book and to review it --