Customer Reviews for

The Mystery of Grace

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

This fascinating urban fantasy entertains the audience

The Mystery of Grace
Charles De Lint
Tor, Mar 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 0765317567

After her beloved grandfather died, Altagracia Quintero falls into a deep depression. They lovingly had worked together restoring old Fords so they ran smoothly and he was h...
The Mystery of Grace
Charles De Lint
Tor, Mar 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 0765317567

After her beloved grandfather died, Altagracia Quintero falls into a deep depression. They lovingly had worked together restoring old Fords so they ran smoothly and he was her best friend. Grace goes to the local bodega to buy cigarettes only to become caught in a junkie robbing the grocer. He shoots her and the next she knows she is back in her apartment in the Alverson Arms. A woman she does not know is there informing her she is dead and in a small dimensional place because she died so close to her building; Grace thinks cigarettes do kill you.

Everyone can return to earth twice a year; on Halloween and On the Day of the Dead, but no one will recognize Grace if she goes back. She becomes friendly with a teenager Conchita who had a rough life. When she returns she meets John Burns at the Solona Music Hall. They fall in love, but she disappears while in his bathroom. His research into her life informs him he loves a ghost as she has been dead for a few weeks. He now knows when he will see her next so he waits for her appearance on Samheim night. Before she disappears Grace and Conchita sneak into the Alverson Arms where they enter the other dimension to learn more about their new home especially why they are trapped there. Grace gives the inhabitants a choice to pass on to the next place in exchange for what they know.

Where Grace ends up after dying is an artificial construct surrounded by a mist in which people walk through it and end up on the other side of town. Through perseverance, she investigates to learn what is going on, but finding out where she is does not mean she is less trapped; but it does encourage her to continue to seek freedom for her and Conchita. This fascinating urban fantasy entertains the audience who will wonder what exactly the afterlife is. Charles De Lint provides his delightful fantasy version.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on December 29, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Worst Charles de Lint ever!

I usually love works by this author, but this was a big bust. I think it's probably the worst thing he's ever written. If this was the first thing I'd ever read of his, I'd never buy another. I can only hope that this one is a fluke and his next one is better. If the ne...
I usually love works by this author, but this was a big bust. I think it's probably the worst thing he's ever written. If this was the first thing I'd ever read of his, I'd never buy another. I can only hope that this one is a fluke and his next one is better. If the next is as bad as this one, I won't buy more.

posted by Avid-ReaderTX on July 7, 2009

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  • Posted December 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    This fascinating urban fantasy entertains the audience

    The Mystery of Grace<BR/>Charles De Lint<BR/>Tor, Mar 2009, $24.95<BR/>ISBN: 0765317567<BR/><BR/>After her beloved grandfather died, Altagracia Quintero falls into a deep depression. They lovingly had worked together restoring old Fords so they ran smoothly and he was her best friend. Grace goes to the local bodega to buy cigarettes only to become caught in a junkie robbing the grocer. He shoots her and the next she knows she is back in her apartment in the Alverson Arms. A woman she does not know is there informing her she is dead and in a small dimensional place because she died so close to her building; Grace thinks cigarettes do kill you.<BR/><BR/>Everyone can return to earth twice a year; on Halloween and On the Day of the Dead, but no one will recognize Grace if she goes back. She becomes friendly with a teenager Conchita who had a rough life. When she returns she meets John Burns at the Solona Music Hall. They fall in love, but she disappears while in his bathroom. His research into her life informs him he loves a ghost as she has been dead for a few weeks. He now knows when he will see her next so he waits for her appearance on Samheim night. Before she disappears Grace and Conchita sneak into the Alverson Arms where they enter the other dimension to learn more about their new home especially why they are trapped there. Grace gives the inhabitants a choice to pass on to the next place in exchange for what they know.<BR/><BR/>Where Grace ends up after dying is an artificial construct surrounded by a mist in which people walk through it and end up on the other side of town. Through perseverance, she investigates to learn what is going on, but finding out where she is does not mean she is less trapped; but it does encourage her to continue to seek freedom for her and Conchita. This fascinating urban fantasy entertains the audience who will wonder what exactly the afterlife is. Charles De Lint provides his delightful fantasy version.<BR/><BR/>Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    Bait and switch

    This should be in the religion section not the Sci-Fi Fantasy section.

    This book starts off with a mysterious tattooed girl, sex, passion, and magic. It ends with religion, saints, faith and god. I feel like I was going on a date with a beautiful girl, but instead got taken to a bible study class. I'm only sorry I didn't quit reading the last 20 pages, when it was finally clear where the author was going.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Fiction Gone Wrong

    This is my first time reading a Charles de Lint book and I have to say that, despite a great start, I was quite disappointed in the ending. I rarely buy a hardcover book unless it seems worthy to be in my permanent library. I bought the book after reading the first few pages at my local B&N. After carefully crafting a world based on a variety of urban legends, I expected de Lint to have great antagonist. Instead the antagonist was a rather flat character, and the struggle between the antagonist and protagonist was almost nonexistent. The ending held such promise, instead, it was truly anticlimactic. It seems as though de Lint didn't know how to bring this book to a close. It left me asking, "That's it?" Truly, the "mystery" of this story is why the author couldn't muster a better ending. Fortunately, I'll give de Lint another chance in the future, however, I think I'll go to my local library this time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Worst Charles de Lint ever!

    I usually love works by this author, but this was a big bust. I think it's probably the worst thing he's ever written. If this was the first thing I'd ever read of his, I'd never buy another. I can only hope that this one is a fluke and his next one is better. If the next is as bad as this one, I won't buy more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Charles De Lint is the best fantasy author

    I've loved Charles De Lint's novels since one beckoned to me way back in the mid 80's and I've been hooked on his books ever since then. He has a way of crafting a fantasy novel that makes the reader believe it's not fantasy but reality. His characters just seem to leap off the pages. His Newford novels always make me think I'm visiting old friends. This stand alone book is no exception, drawing the reader in quickly and easily and never letting go until the final page. I was thrilled to have Charles go back to crafting adult novels after he'd done a few teen oriented ones in a row, which are great reading too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Truely original modern fantasy

    I've always been impressed by Charles de Lint. His prose is excelent, and his ideas truely original. The Mystery of Grace is no exception to his high quality fantasy. It has one of the most unusual love stories I've ever encountered, and a truely great premise. The novel is a bit on the short side, but it doesn't leave you feeling like you've missed something. I was very impressed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Excellent storytelling and interesting characters.  I greatly en

    Excellent storytelling and interesting characters.  I greatly enjoyed this book.  

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  • Posted September 8, 2011

    Fantastic, but over too quickly!

    I loved it. As usual tge characters were real, believable, and easy to love.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Loved it!

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  • Posted December 20, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    LOVED IT!

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It was hard for me to put down and when I did all I wanted to do was pick right back up. The plot was unique and after I read the last line in the book I was left wondering about the fate of the characters. The Mystery of Grace has a little bit of everything, drama, suspense, love, and ghost. I totally recomend this book.

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  • Posted October 23, 2009

    Would have been a good short story

    There are authors that I read more for their gift with words than for their stories. Ideally both attract me. For example, Clifford Simak's fantasy writing was always evocative of forests and nature regardless of the story line. Lord Dunsany's writing was dreamlike and ethereal. I have been a fan of Mr. DeLint's writing for years. In his Newford books and Celtic fantasy his writing is almost musical and poetic. Since he changed his venue to Southeastern folklore there has been a change in the atmosphere of the writing. This is fitting and demonstrates Mr. DeLints versatility. The harshness of the desert and the dry mountains comes through. 'The Mystery of Grace' would have been a good short story. It strikes me as the kind of story that one would write as catharsis after the loss of someone due to violence. The music of the words is much more muted here and Grace is the only fully developed character. Everything around her is really a foil for her actions. John shows her ability to love but is unattainable. Conchita is the traditional faithful sidekick, a standard, it seems, in westerns. She helps to bring out more of Graces character. The resolution of Abigail as the villain is not believable. Admittedly hope can be a strong motivator, but I didn't accept the way that it was raised in Abigail. After so many years she should have been more sensitive to trickery. In short, this is not one of Mr. DeLInt's best books. It's one that I would rate as something to read if there is nothing else better to do. As some of the writer's talent shows in the book I rate it the three stars.

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  • Posted June 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Another Winner

    I was sad to hear that the stories from Newford were ended. But I have to respect an author who knows when it is time to move on. And move he did, to the southwest USA with this story. The story is quirky and different, I like that, you don't always see what is coming. I hate it when I can predict everything before I read it. I love Mr. De Lint's style of writing, it is comfortable and easy going, like being with an old friend who knows you well. He does the Urban Fantasy so well, it dazzels me everytime.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    de Lint Touches on Death

    This is arguably the first book by de Lint to place the protagonist solely in the ranks of the dead. Perhaps for that reason the heroine 'Grace' is not as proactive as the principle characters of many of his other works. I was also struck by how similar many of the themes were to those invoked by Patricia Briggs in her 'Bone' series, although arguably de Lint has stayed true to his metropolitan-fantasy genre.

    That said, the book is a good read even if the predominant figures are somewhat weaker than you might expect from this accomplished author. Perhaps it is a testament to how familiar other writers have become with this style, but far too often the 'read that earlier' phrase popped up in this reader's mind while perusing this work. That isn't a condemnation of de Lint; far from it. He practically invented the metro-mystic genre.

    It could also be argued that the primary villain of the piece was introduced late in the work and made almost incidental to the story-line. Indeed, at the end the villain is largely redeemed by the heroine! While this is a commendable life-lesson, it weakens the dramatic tension of the piece and leaves the story-line feeling somewhat flat.

    This is not the first work in which de Lint has touched on Southwestern themes (it comes in somewhere around four or five by my estimation), but it feels more like a short-story on steroids than it does a book-length treatment of a complex topic.

    In short it would not be my recommendation to readers unfamiliar with de Lint's works, but if you are already hooked and itching for a fix this will suit you just fine.

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    Posted August 24, 2010

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