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- - PLOT - -
Oh dear what have I done?! This is Grace's first thought when she wakes up one Saturday morning in the bed of the newest member of the work's I.T team Bernard O'Malley.
Problem number one being that in the cold light of day Grace wonders what ever possessed her to sleep with Bernard? He was the ultimate is geek, from his nerdy glasses to his mismatching and ill fitting clothes, what was with the trousers that skimmed his ankles to show off his ridiculously garish socks.
Problem two being Shane. Shane is Grace's boyfriend and the sister of her flatmate and Best friend Caroline. Who although he is living in London in an attempt to further his career, and his phone calls have dwindled to next to nothing in recent weeks Grace still believes is 'the one'.
Grace lays the blame solely at the bottle of out of date Baileys her and her colleagues found stashed at the back of a cupboard the night before. I mean what else could have made her forget about Shane and fall into bed with Bernard?
But that ill fated night seems to be only the beginning of the changes that begin to happen to Grace, and it all seems beyond her control.
With her job as chief bridesmaid at her sister Claire's wedding to worry about, their mother's new man, the hiding of her secret romp with Bernard, and worst of all dealing with the guilt of the loss of her beloved brother Patrick. What else could life throw at Grace?
- - OPINION - -
Ireland seems to be the birthplace of many a fantastic chick lit author from Cathy Kelly to Marian Keyes, and now Ciara Geraghty joins their fabulous ranks.
I found myself loving this book from the moment I picked it up, Grace's voice is one that I instantly related to, she has a sharp sarcastic humour which I adored and some of her one liners had me laughing out loud.
You find yourself drawn into Grace's mad world of attempting to diet to fit into her (chief) bridesmaid's dress without it splitting and exposing her to the whole church, trying to hide her growing fears that there may be more than meets the eye to her one night fling with uber geeky Bernard?
The story is helped along by a supporting cast of mad cap friends, from best mate and flatmate Caroline who aside from being gorgeous claims she can't find a decent man and seems doomed to bad blind dates, Laura the office tart who's attitude to men shocks even Grace at times, and Ciaran the quiet gay office security guard who is always there for Grace in times of crisis and who gently seems to nudge her towards the answers to life's problems.
I got through this book in a day working a temp job where the phones barely rang and I was given permission to bring a book work (who wouldn't want that job) and I loved every minute of it. I found it hard to put down even when the phone rang and that is always a sign of a great book, not wanting to be disturbed when you have disappeared into that other world.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes their chick lit with a large helping of sass and humour. Grace is character you can't help but love and you will find yourself hoping just like I did that it would all work out in the end.
ISBN - 9780340976548
PAGES - 440
PRICE - £6.99 but can be purchased for £5.49
After her brother, Patrick, dies in a tragic accident, Grace O'Brien finds that her life is spiralling out of control. Things come to a head when, after a night out, Grace wakes up the next morning besides Bernard O'Malley, the newewst member at the firm where Grace works. Matters are made worse because Grace is actually in a long-distance relationship with Shane. As Grace tries to forget about her one-night stand with Bernard, she finds herself more and more attracted to him. Grace also tries to forget about what happened in Spain, can she find the strength to move on?
I'd never really heard of Ciara Geraghty's debut novel Saving Grace up until a little while ago. All of the book review sites I frequent started raving about this fantastic debut novel and I finally got around to picking up a copy for myself. Once it arrived, courtesy of Amazon, I couldn't stop looking at the pretty cover. I finally started reading this six days ago and only just finished it today.
The book starts with a prologue telling us exactly what happened in Spain that fateful day in 2004. I knew from reading the blurb on the back of the book that it was something to do with Grace's brother and we learn early on exactly why she feels so much guilt towards her brothers tragic accident. We then come back to the present, 2005, just as Grace is waking up after a big night out. Turns out she isn't in bed alone, she's actually in bed with Bernard O'Malley who has just started working at the firm where Grace works. It's a very quick opening to the book and I found myself sucked in straight away. The book zips along very well and I really enjoyed getting into Grace's world.
As Grace deals with her guilt over her brother and her guilt over cheating on her boyfriend, Shane, I felt nothing but sympathy for her. It's clear that what happened to Patrick affected her deeply and it was as if she was just stuck in a rut. It didn't help that her mother quite clearly seems to blame her for what happened and her boyfriend, Shane, also avoids any mention of the incident. Jeremy Kyle would wholly recommend they see a counsellor, I'm sure! I could see that Grace wanted to talk about what happened but the people she wanted to talk about it with didn't want to reciprocate that. It means that when Grace and Bernard end up talking with each other I end up loving the interaction between them as they were both incredibly similar, both having lost someone close to them recently. Their interaction was so easy to read and there seemed to be no embarrassment after the incident right at the beginning of the book.
The characters are all very well thought on in Saving Grace. Grace is a fantastic heroine; she's hugely flawed and admits that, she loves her food and her guilt is overwhelming, which only endeared her to me more. The book is told entirely from Grace's perspective so we learn a lot of what she's thinking as the book progresses. It's often sad reading but enjoyable all the same if that makes sense. Bernard O'Malley was a fantastic character. I loved the fact he was a nerd and his clothes didn't seem to fit him properly. He was miles nicer than Shane, Grace's supposed boyfriend, who throughout the entire book, spent his time putting Grace down and being quite cruel towards her. I hated him the first time he came into the book and just wanted rid of him as soon as possible. Grace's family were all fantastic, Jane and Clare her sisters seemed incredibly nice and I adored Grace's granny Mary and would have loved to have seen more of her. Grace's mother seems very cold towards Grace right up until the end of the book and while I could see why, I could also see how that made Grace feel. Grace's friend were all fantastic in particular Caroline, who is also Shane's sister, as well as Ciaran, who Grace sees regularly at work and who spends a lot of time chatting with Grace and making her coffee.
The writing in the book is truly fantastic. Ciara Geraghty definitely has her own unique style in the way she writes. The book, although it dealt with some serious issues, had warmth throughout and it regularly made me smile. Geraghty's writing style is quite quirky as Grace regularly makes numerous to-do lists and I thought that might hinder the book but it really didn't, it just made the book more unique. The book also features letters from Patrick which were sent to Grace and it really felt as if Patrick was a real, living character rather than someone who died a year earlier. We also flashback to that fateful holiday as Grace recalls conversations, and moments from that time. My only criticism of the book is that Grace, when talking to her sister Clare, references a conversation she and her mother had in Spain after the accident and we never actually learn what was said during that conversation. It seemed important when Grace mentioned it but obviously not important enough for Geraghty to tell us what was said during that conversation.
Saving Grace is an immensely enjoyable read and I'm sure I would have finished it sooner if I wasn't so busy this past week. I can absolutely see why everyone is raving about Geraghty and calling her the new Marian Keyes. I don't actually agree with that sentiment; not because Ciara Geraghty isn't as good as Marian but because Ciara has her own unique voice and doesn't really need to be compared to Marian Keyes. I look forward to Ciara Geraghty's next novel and hope it's just as fantastic as Saving Grace which I wholly recommend you read if you haven't already!
When Grace awakes from a night on the out-of-date Baileys, next to Bernard from IT, the scene is set for a Chick Lit extravaganza, with hidden depths.
This is the first novel from Ciara Geraghty, an Irish author, and just perfect for anyone who loves the world of Marian Keyes. That isn't to say that Geraghty is a carbon copy, she manages to create her own believable and funny character in Grace who you feel that you know already from the first few pages of the book.
Grace has a boyfriend, Shane, who she thinks at the start to be "The One", even though he is away in England and rather sparing with his phone calls. When geeky but endearing Bernard enters the picture what follows isn't exactly an unpredictable chain of events but you can enjoy the ride anyway. Is Bernard as geeky as he first seems, and is Shane really the perfect man?These and other questions are to be revealed as Shane seems to focus on what Grace eats and her bad points and Grace finds her career taking an unexpected turn.
From Caroline her flatmate who is Shane's sister, to a Mum who seems to be re-finding her inner youth, and a sister, Clare, who is getting married to her perfect man, and work colleagues who have perfected the art of not doing very much at work, there is a perfect cast of characters to accompany Grace on her journey.
I found some of the scenes in the book made me laugh out loud, but there were also some poignant bits as we find out more about Patrick, Grace's brother, and the circumstances in which he disappeared from Grace's life. The book is well written and the dialogue rang true, and this is a nice and easy read that will have you rooting for Grace, whose life does seem to be littered with disasters, mainly of the comic kind.
That you care what happens to her says a lot about the believability of the character - Grace is the kind of girl who maybe eats one chocolate bar too many and has that extra glass of wine she shouldn't, but all in all a good egg who deserves things to turn out all ok in the end, and for her skinny jeans to somehow magically fit.
To find out what happens you will have to read the book, which I predict that you will find yourself finishing rather quickly if you enjoy this genre. I finished this book in about 2 days flat, and really enjoyed it as a lighter read, you do have to suspend disbelief at some points, but that was fine by me and I did find myself caught up by this tale with all its twists and turns.
I can recommend this book for anyone who enjoys chick lit - this book might seem formulaic at the start but it managed to hold my attention and make me laugh and cry, and it has more depth to it than you think at first. Grace is funny and flawed, but a great character and I can't wait to read Ciara Geraghty's next book.
Available from Amazon, currently priced at £3.96, details below, also part of the 2 for £7 Tesco book range.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (25 Jun 2009)