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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Women: combine their incredible yet subtle inner strength with the unique bonds of friendship, and the result is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Author Patricia Gaffney has tapped into that force with a poignant portrait of four remarkable women in her newest novel, The Saving Graces.
For the past 10 years, Rudy, Emma, Isabel, and Lee have shared a bond of affection, support, and understanding that gives each of them the strength to deal with the many ups and downs in their lives. Their connection, born out of a coincidental meeting, is carried on through regular gatherings — usually dinners — where they talk, share, commiserate, and laugh. Their bond is as mysterious and ephemeral as a ghost, yet each of them knows beyond a doubt that it is there and draws strength from it in times of need.
For Rudy, the beauty in the group, the Saving Graces offers a level of stability she never had as a child. Having come from a highly dysfunctional family, her definition of love is warped, though her capacity to provide it is endless. Under the guidance of a therapist she has been seeing for years, she will come to understand why she is clinging so desperately to her manipulative and devious husband, whose true colors are much darker than anyone suspects. And with the help of the other Graces, she will discover the true meaning of love, finding herself in the process.
Emma, a woman with a fiery personality to match her hair color, is the skeptic of the group. Though she is single, it isn't from a lack of dates. In fact, Emma has made going through mensomethingof a lifestyle. Jaded and bitter from past experiences, she thinks love is an imaginary concept, a fairy tale for those out of touch with reality. Then she meets Mick and finds that love does indeed exist. Except Mick is someone she can't have: He belongs to someone else. Torn between her morals and her heart, Emma will experience heartache unlike any she's ever known. The only thing that gets her through it is the love and support of the Graces.
Lee is generally regarded by all as the most stable one in the group. Her loving marriage to Henry makes it seem as if she has life by the tail. But when she and Henry decide to start a family, the specter of infertility is raised. Before long, Lee's pursuit of motherhood becomes an obsession that threatens her happiness and her marriage. Her main source of support, which will also produce some hard truths, is the Graces.
Isabel is the eldest of the Graces by nearly a decade. Having already survived the emotional and financial blows inflicted by a bitter divorce, she possesses a hard-earned wisdom and an inner strength. But then she comes face to face with her biggest battle yet — breast cancer. The Graces must prepare themselves for a crisis that will be the ultimate test of their love and commitment to one another.
Told from the alternating points of view of each of the four characters, The Saving Graces is, in turn, touching, funny, inspirational, and utterly unforgettable. It is intelligent women's fiction, richly rendered and intimately told. Bring your tissues along for the ride.