Hey guys! Very kindly Michelle Schlicher has sent me her new release (as of March 11, 2016) Gracie’s Song!
This novel is about a woman named Gracie, who is originally from a very small town and a close-knit community where most people know her on a personal level. However, after graduation, Gracie leaves everything behind spontaneously to start a new life. In doing this she leaves her family, her friends, and even her boyfriend. Understandably, as a result, her family and close friends are perplexed by Gracie’s seemingly sudden move, and some of the characters in the book even feel some resentment toward her for making that decision. However, ten years after graduation, Gracie comes back to visit the small town and those she once left behind.
What really stands out to me about this novel, is not just the writing style and the creative plot, but also the characters themselves. In particular, Gracie remains such a strong female lead. She really illustrates her courage and strength as an independent woman, as she was able to leave the life she knew behind at the age of 18, and become completely independent on her own. Leaving her friends and family behind is only one struggle that she had to overcome when she left, so it was amazing to me how she was able to cope with the obstacles and loss that she faced in her life almost completely alone, without the support of her family and loved ones. For this, Gracie serves to be an inspirational character, as personally, I’m not sure that I would be able to overcome everything that she did, and alone at that.
What I also loved about this novel is the experience of watching Gracie rebuild past relationships. In particular, I really enjoyed the development of Gracie and her sister Hannah’s relationship. It was interesting seeing Hannah be hesitant and reserved about Gracie at first, because she was hurt that she left her, but finding out the truth behind why she left in the first place, and becoming sympathetic toward her. Through their relationship the author effectively demonstrated the bond and love that sisters share regardless of the time that passes, or life circumstances. I think this aspect of the novel was really well done!
Another relationship that I thought was interesting to see grow, was Gracie and Finn’s (the boyfriend she left behind). This was another relationship that had to overcome numerous obstacles. Both Gracie and Finn had dated other people once Gracie left town, but it was clear that neither one of them could commit to someone else. The romance between them was very real. It was flawed, there were struggles, but that’s what true love is, and true love was exactly what Gracie and Finn had.
Other themes that I found valuable through this novel was the appreciation of family members, because you don’t know when they’ll be gone, and perseverance through hard times including domestic violence and alcoholism.
Overall, I really enjoyed Gracie’s Song. I thought it successfully demonstrated important themes that are relatable to a lot of people. Even if you haven’t experienced the exact circumstances as Gracie, she inspires you to overcome challenges, to be independent, but to also ensure that you know when to turn to family and loved ones for support through difficult times.
Some of my favourite quotes from the novel:
“But you’re home to him, Gracie. You two have always been that to each other. It doesn’t matter how many years go by, how many conversations you don’t have in between. When you see that person again, it’s like no time has passed.”
“I know because love is everything. If we didn’t have it, then what are we doing here?”
“It seemed sometimes that words were insufficient. Why were goodbyes so hard? It had to be in part, because there was no way to say everything you wanted to say. Everything you needed to say. And what if there wasn’t another chance?”
“But he’d never really belonged in her past, had he? Once upon a time, Finn had been her future. And she realized, with a childlike wonder, he was still her future. Even now, after everything.”
I give this book 4.5/5 stars! 🙂