Customer Reviews for

Tender Graces

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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  • Posted September 19, 2010

    Funny and Touching

    Two weeks before her mother's death, Virginia Kate Carey received a letter from that troubled woman. A previous attempt at reconciliation on Virginia's part had elicited not much more than meanness and disregard. On her previous visit, Virginia sought insight into the inexplicable actions of her mother toward her and her brothers while they were growing up. Her mother, Katie, offered not a scrap of help, much less any sign of the love that Virginia desperately needs, but won't ask for openly. Not without her own stubbornness, Virginia resisted returning to her mother's deathbed, but now as Tender Graces opens, Virginia goes back to her Appalachian home, the Hollow, seeking in memories and ghosts the meaning of the events in her life. In this finely wrought exploration of character and family relationships, Kathryn Magendie weaves a riveting story, filled with rich dialogue, regional expressions (many of which were unfamiliar to this New Jersey-born reader, but I was charmed all the same), and pop culture references of the 60s and 70s that will make you smile. There are some terrific scenes, one that involves girls, boys and snakes is as good a piece of writing as you'll find in contemporary literature. The book is funny, poignant and rich with insight into the human heart.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    Virginia Kate Carey received a phone call from her uncle with news of her mother's death. Two weeks before, she'd received her grandmother's journal in the mail along with a letter from her mother to come home. Little did Virginia know when she sent back a reply back, refusing to come home, it would be the last.

    This is a touching novel about a woman reminiscing about her childhood after her mother's death. She is sorting through her mothers possessions which brings back many memories, some happy and some sad. This one examines a broad spectrum, marriage, childhood past, emotional abuse, forgiveness and family. Warm, funny, poignant, a little sentimental and remorse; this will tug at your heart strings. Virginia determines to reconcile with her past and make peace with it. This novel is beautifully written and beautifully told. I thoroughly enjoyed!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an intriguing family saga

    Virginia Kate Carey has come to West Virginia to release the ashes of her volatile mother, Katie Ivene Holmes. In the 1950s, peddler Frederick Hale Carey was going cabin to cabin in the mountains when the Texan arrived at the home of Grandma Faith, mother to Katie Ivene, who looked like an Egyptian princess instead of a Mountaineer.-----------

    They marry, move into a cabin near grandma Faith, and have three children, two sons Micah and Andy and middle child Kate. The parents become alcoholics having incredible fights and external trysts. In an effort to save the marriage, Frederick and Katie send their three children to live with their abusive aunt and even nastier uncle. The children return home, but Frederick leaves to attend college in Louisiana. Seven year old Kate is sent to live with her father and Micah in Baton Rouge while Andy stays in the mountains. One year later momma arrives with a new hunk and Andy whom she leaves behind with Frederick and his siblings. Now Virginia Kate has come home to release the ashes and write her memoirs so she can also free herself of the ghosts especially that of Katie Ivene who haunts her.------------

    This is an intriguing family saga that grips the audience due to the changing voice of the narrator from a seemingly innocent naive little girl to an adult woman trying to free herself when she frees her late mom. The cast is fully developed as the audience can subtly understand the maturing of the three children especially the daughter who tells the drama of a beautiful volatile mom seemingly larger than life and the more stable than the raging dad. Their wars before the split never left their three offspring as the child is the adult. Fans will enjoy this deep look at a dysfunctional family in the 1950s, 60s and 70s never quite finding the happy days.----------

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2009

    This should be on Oprah's nightstand.

    If this is Kathryn Magendie's first book, I can't wait to see what lies ahead! "Tender Graces" is a book that will stay in your heart long after you finish reading--one of those that makes you start wondering what Virginia Kate might be up to these days before you go, oh wait, there IS no Virginia Kate! Her character is that real, as is the West Virginia mountain setting that is a pivotal element of this novel. There are dark moments in the book, but Magendie gets the point across without getting overly graphic, which I appreciated. I hesitated to start reading this, because from the description of the content, I knew it would not be all sweetness and light. It isn't, but getting to know Virginia Kate and Rebekha and Aunt Billie is something I wouldn't have wanted to miss. And don't we all wish we had a Fionadala to ride off into the wind?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    A book that must not be missed!

    As I read "Tender Graces", I found myself transported into a realm of subtle beauty and heart-rending moments.The story, told from the perspective of Virgina Kate, traces the paths of a tumultuous childhood fraught with the many pains of a mother's betrayl and a woman's need to reconcile the truths of three generations of her family. Kathryn Magendie's style of writing will capture your mind, heart, and even a touch of your soul. "Tender Graces" is a must read for anyone that has ever found themselves filled with a hunger to understand the complexities of their place in the world!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2010

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