Hugh thanks to the team at Midas for my proof copy of this fantastic novel of a woman in crisis.
A stale marriage, an illicit affair. Who pays the price?
Faced with an empty nest when her only child goes to university, the flaws in Grace’s marriage are sharply exposed. Finding excuses to escape the taut atmosphere at home, she is drawn into an affair that ignites a mid-life sexual awakening.
But when her secret is discovered there is a terrible price to pay, and Grace is not the only one who pays it.
A compelling and emotional read, The Mortification of Grace Wheeler shines a spotlight on a marriage in crisis, the challenges of being a middle-aged woman, and the fear that your best years are behind you.
I’ve been lucky enough to read some really good novels featuring women in their 40’s and 50’s this year and this is another great read to add to that list.
Being in my early 50’s myself, and, having had children, now getting used to them living elsewhere, it really does feel like starting another chapter of life, and it’s great seeing this portrayed in modern day fiction. I’m finding it harder to relate to female protagonists in say their 20’s and 30’s in novels these days, so I have been enjoying reading more books featuring older, but not old, women. Whatever the story line.
In The Mortification of Grace Wheeler the synopsis quickly lets us know that the character is set for troubled times, but I wasn’t expecting the story to go as it did and was surprised by the twists the author placed within the story line making it something a little different.
With Grace’s only child moving out to start University, she finds she can no longer ignore the cracks and faults in her marriage. Whilst learning how to fly fish, (a surprise for her son so they can spend time together when he comes home in the holidays) and a reason to spend less time at home, she meets her instructor and soon begins an affair. This may sound fairly cliché but the author does a fabulous job at explaining what Grace is thinking when she decides to act on this decision and makes the reader fully aware that our main character knows exactly what this could mean for her family. I also loved how the author doesn’t write the affair as all physical passion and self assurance and highlights real, believable moments and incidences that would be far more likely to happen and Grace’s thoughts and reaction to them.
We soon learn of the background to her marriage and the real reasons it has become what it has. The author writes wonderfully of our main character and uses friends and step children to great effect in allowing the reader to really get a feel for Grace and her current state and life at this present time. The story also highlights some important social issues, which I really wasn’t expecting, but what again makes this such a realistic and believable read.
A novel which had me drawn in from the very start and kept me fully invested throughout.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colette Dartford writes contemporary fiction with compelling emotional themes. Her debut novel, Learning to Speak American, was shortlisted for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and published by Bonnier Zaffre. Her second novel, An Unsuitable Marriage, was a Kindle bestseller for over 18 months. In addition to her novels, Colette has had award-winning Flash fiction, short stories and poetry, published in popular magazines and anthologies. The Mortification of Grace Wheeler is her third novel. Colette lives in Bath with her husband and a very demanding labradoodle.