At the beginning of World War II, twelve-year-old Nora Lynch is one of thousands of London children sent away to the safety of the English countryside. Her surrogate family, Reverend and Mrs. Rivers and their daughter, Grace, are like no one she has ever met, offering shelter, affection, and the sister she never had. But Nora is too young and too naIve to understand the cracks beneath the surface of her idyllic new life at the rectory or the disappointments of the Riverses' marriage. And as her friendship with Grace grows more intense, she aches to become even closer. What happens next is a secret that she keeps for more than fifty years, a secret that she can begin to reveal only when, elderly and alone, Nora knows that she is close to the end.
A beautiful meditation on love, friendship, and family, Days of Grace is a stunning debut that brings a tumultuous era to life. Nora tells her story in alternating chapters from the past and present, projecting her childhood nostalgia with a cinematic glow.
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"Josephine Bailey's accomplished performance offers the only uplifting element of this bleak novel. Author Hall lets a promising opening deteriorate into gloom as adolescent Nora is evacuated from bombing danger in WWII London to the safety of life with a vicar's family in pastoral Kent. There she learns that dark secrets and forbidden desires can be just a threatening and destructive as bombs. The depressing story unfolds in chapters alternating between the present and the past, and Bailey convincingly portrays Nora through her entire life of malignant secrets. Bailey's light British accent is perfect, and her subtle adjustments of pitch and clarity, which permit effortless transitions from na•ve child to bitter old woman, are most impressive. M.O.B. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine"
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