Warm, insightful and poignant, Freeing Grace tells the story of David, curate of an inner-city parish, and Leila, his Nigerian-born wife. Unable to have children of their own, they're desperate for a family. When they finally hear they've been approved to adopt a baby, Grace, they can scarcely believe their good fortune. There's just one problem for which David and Leila cannot plan: Grace's birth family - the enigmatic, charismatic Harrisons. Enlisting their friend, the feckless, charming New Zealander, Jake Kelly - who's half in love with all of them, one way or another - the Harrisons send him on a quest that will force a confrontation.
Ultimately, each has a terrible decision to make. Everyone only wants what's best for Grace - but who can say exactly what that is?
©2010 Charity Norman (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
The book starts well with a pacy introductory chapter then loses steam as the narrative flips between two seemingly unrelated stories. I had to concentrate to keep track of which story was being narrated. It took nearly five hours of listening for the two strands to come together. The core of the book examines the debate as to whether a child, who has lost her mother, is better with members of her birth family who are not ideal for parenthood or with a couple who have been vetted by social services and "tick all the boxes". A dilemma worthy of a book but the author crammed in all sorts of other issues that diluted the impact of the main theme. The book could have been much shorter and lost nothing. There is far too much verbiage that interferes with the dramatic tension and endless unnecessary similes leaving nothing to the listen's imagination. The word "like" peppers the book. Some of the people verge on being caricatures.
I felt this book, the author's first, had too many themes she wanted to include and her second book "After the Fall" is much better. I recommend the latter.
The narrator does an admirable job.
I'm sure the book was good, as I enjoyed "After the Fall" but I could not listen to it because of the narration.
I do wish that most narrators wouldn't try to put on different voices for different characters. There are very few that actually pull it off. When they do it is brilliant. Kate Hood, sadly, can't. She is Australian and some of her accents were frankly horrendous. She reads well and so it is such a shame.
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