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Saving Graces

Saving Graces

4.5 60
by Patricia Gaffney

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Friendship sustains and enriches women's lives in ways no romantic or family relationship ever can. Now, in this wonderfully warm, humorous, and moving novel, Patricia Gaffney paints a rich portrait of this sometimes delicate yet resilient bond through the lives of four charming, vividly real women you'll swear you know—women who will become old friends you'll


Friendship sustains and enriches women's lives in ways no romantic or family relationship ever can. Now, in this wonderfully warm, humorous, and moving novel, Patricia Gaffney paints a rich portrait of this sometimes delicate yet resilient bond through the lives of four charming, vividly real women you'll swear you know—women who will become old friends you'll always remember.

For ten years, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel have shared a deep affection that has helped them deal with husbands, lovers, careers, children—the ebb and flow of expectations and disappointments common to us all. Calling themselves the Saving Graces, the quartet is united by understanding, honesty, and acceptance—a connection that has grown stronger as the years go by...

Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, they will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love, loyalty, and courage to the ultimate test.

Captivating from the first chapter to the last, this mesmerizing story illuminates the emotional links that define and join us as women. Funny, inspirational, joyous, and oh-so-true, The Saving Graces is an audiobook no listener will forget—a story to be passed from friend to friend.

Reader Bio:
Judith Ivey has earned Tony for her work in Hurlyburly and Steaming and an Emmy nomination for the television movie What the Deaf Man Heard. Her many film credits include Devil's Advocate, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Mystery, Alaska.

Editorial Reviews

The 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.

—Beth Amos

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 11.02(h) x 1.16(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


If half of all marriages end in divorce, how long does the average marriage last? This isn't a math problem; I'd really like to know. I bet it's less than nine and a half years. That's how long the Saving Graces have been going strong, and we're not even getting restless. We still talk, still notice things about each other, weight loss, haircuts, new boots. As far as I know, nobody's looking around for a younger, firmer member.

Truthfully, I never thought we'd last this long. I only joined because Rudy made me. The other three, Lee, Isabel, and -- Joan? Joanne? She didn't last; moved to Detroit with her urologist boyfriend, and we didn't keep up -- the other three didn't strike me at that first meeting as bosom buddy material, frankly. I thought Lee was bossy and Isabel was old -- thirty-nine. Well, I'll be forty next year, enough said there, and Lee is bossy, but she can't help it because she's always right. She really is, and it's a tribute to her exceptional nature that we don't all loathe her for it.

The first meeting went badly. We had it at Isabel's house -- this was back when she was still married to Gary. God, these people are straight, I remember thinking. Straight and rich, that's what really got me -- but I'd just moved into a dank little basement apartment in Georgetown for eleven hundred a month because of the address, so I was a little touchy about money. Lee looked as if she'd just come from spa day at Neiman's. Plus she was single, still in graduate school, and teaching special ed. part-time -- you know how much money there is in that -- and yet she lived around the block from Isabel in snooty Chevy Chase, in ahouse she wasn't renting but owned. Naturally I had it in for these people.

All the way home I explained to Rudy, with much wit and sarcasm and disdain, what was wrong with everybody, and why I couldn't possibly join a women's group whose members owned electric hedge trimmers, wore Ellen Tracy, remembered Eisenhower, dated urologists. "But they're nice," Rudy insisted. Which, of course, missed the point. Lots of people are nice, but you don't want to have dinner with them every other Thursday and exchange secrets.

The other thing was jealousy. I was small enough to mind that Rudy had a good friend other than me. One night a week she and Lee volunteered to teach reading to inner-city illiterates, and had gotten to know each other during the training. I never worried, then or now, that they would become best friends; I mean, if ever there were two people with nothing in common, it's Lee and Rudy. But I was my old insecure self (then and now), and too neurotic to recognize the potential beauty of the Saving Graces even when it was staring me in the face.

We weren't the Saving Graces yet, of course. Even now, we don't go around calling ourselves that in public. It's corny; it sounds like a TV sitcom. Doesn't it? "The Saving Graces," starring Valerie Bertinelli, Susan Dey, and Cybill Shepherd. Notice these are all attractive, smart, funny women who happen to be a little long in the tooth. Anyway, the genesis of our name is a private matter. Not for any particular reason -- it's kind of funny, and it reflects well on us all. But we just don't talk about it. It's personal.

We were driving back from dinner at a restaurant in Great Falls (we eat out when the person whose turn it is doesn't feel like cooking), taking the long way because Rudy missed the Beltway turnoff. We'd been a group for about a year by then; we'd just lost Joan/Joanne but hadn't yet acquired Marsha, transient member number two, so it was just the four of us. I was sitting in the back seat. Rudy turned around to catch my impersonation of the waitress, who we all thought looked and sounded just like Emma Thompson. Isabel yelled, "Look out!" and a split second later we hit the dog.

I can still see the expression on that yellow mutt face in the instant before the fender caught her on the shoulder and flipped her over the hood of Rudy's Saab -- quizzical, curious, just mildly concerned. As if she were thinking, "Well, hm, isn't this interesting."

Everybody screamed. I kept saying, "It's dead, it's dead, it's got to be dead," while Rudy jerked the car off the pavement. To tell the truth, if I'd been driving by myself, I might've kept going: I was sure it was dead, and I didn't want to see. When I was twelve I ran over a frog with my bike, and I'm still not over it. But Rudy killed the engine and everybody piled out, so I had to get out with them.

It wasn't dead. But we didn't know that until Lee suddenly metamorphosed, right there on MacArthur Boulevard, into Cherry Ames, Highway Nurse. Have you ever seen a human being give CPR to a dog? It's funny, but only in retrospect. While it's happening it's sort of thrilling and revolting, like something that's still illegal in most of New England. Rudy whipped off her black cashmere cloak, which I have always coveted, and wrapped it around the dog because Lee said it was going into shock. "A vet, we need a vet," Isabel fretted, but there wasn't a house in sight, no store, no nothing except a darkened church on the other side of the road. Isabel jumped up and waved her arms at a car coming on our side. When it pulled over, she ran up and had a conversation with the driver. I stood there and wrung my hands.

The Saving Graces. Copyright © by Patricia Gaffney. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Nora Roberts
Patricia Gaffney paints a vivid portrait of four very different women and the bonds between them. Friendship with its compassion and impatience, love with its powers and weaknesses, life with its triumphs and failures are brilliantly voiced through characters so real they might be sitting in your living room sharing a bottle of wine. Those who don't recognize themselves or their friends in The Saving Graces will wish they did. This is a jewel of a book, and every facet sparkles.
Michael Lee West
The Saving Graces is a rich, lovely novel about women and the emotions at the center of their lives. It's also an intimate portrayal of friendships through the eyes of four unforgettable women. I hated to put it down!
— (Michael Lee West, author of Crazy Ladies)

Meet the Author

Patricia Gaffney's novels include The Goodbye Summer, Flight Lessons, and The Saving Graces. She and her husband currently live in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

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Saving Graces 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book almost 3 years ago and to this day it still sticks in my mind. I am one who reads all types of books from the classics to historical fiction to mainstream lit. THe writing wasn't fancy but the story was extremely well told with real emotion. I wanted to be friends with these girls. I do not agree with the first reviewer when she says it is confusing. If you read the name at the top of the chapter, you know exactly who is taking in that chapter of the book- not too difficult at all. ALL girls should be lucky enough to have a group of friends like the characters in this book. HIghly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never written a review but feel compelled to let every woman know what a MUST READ this book is. I just happened across it and grabbed it to take on vacation. Lukily I was with a bunch of women that wouldn't allow me to sit in a chair and read while in Puerto Vallarta because that's exactly what I would have done. I could barely tear myself away. I cried so hard I couldn't read the words and a little while later I was laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my face. I was literally depressed when I was nearing the end. I wanted to still be a part of these womens lives that I had come to love. I've finished the book and I miss them terribly. Every woman should read this. I don't think a man would get it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like primarily that this book is written very well. It has great passages that all women can relate to, from relationships with other women, with men and our relationships with our kids and parents. Its insightful, smart and real about how we all have ups and downs in life and it just makes you want to have a bonding sisterhood like this one where you can share all the bitter and sweet moments in your life like the saving graces do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read and read this book! It is amazing!
EBrown More than 1 year ago
I may have been more moved by this book than I normally would due to my own recent diagnosis of breast cancer, however, I wasn't able to put this book down. I chose this book based on other reviews, but not really knowing what the story line was. I was not sorry! I struggled a little getting into it at first because of there being four main characters telling the story from their own point of view. By the end, the author had done an amazing job of defining each woman as an individual within the group. I would strongly recommend this book - especially to those women who have had the blessing of a longterm friendship with another woman. Great read!
teenadag More than 1 year ago
You will fall in love with all 4 ladies. Each has an interesting story and point of view. Hard to put this one down.
Casidk More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed hearing about a woman's group that is there for each other in all times of life. I think a book club would enjoy the camaraderie of the group.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My mother-in-law gave this to me and at first glance, it appeared to be stereotypical chick lit. However, this is not the case. The book was not predictable and there were enough twists and turns to make it very interesting. Once I got into it, I did not want to put it down. The characters are believable. This book is abot 4 close friends and each chapter is told by a different character. You actually get wrapped up in each life. The character's lives are believable and so is the storyline. A great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't say I disliked this book, just found it boring. I thought the beginning chapters were introducing each character and giving a little bit of background for the story. I like to read a story all put together, not jusr chapters on characters. Got bored and quit reading at about page 83.
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kwrunner More than 1 year ago
An overall enjoyable read, HOWEVER, it is peppered with totally unnecessary F-words that not only dumb down the writing, but also the characters. Surely a creative writer can come up with a better word to use. I got so tired of them that I put the book down for a long time before I picked it up again to finish, and even considered returning it. For this reason, this book will not be a part of my permanent library.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This has become one of my all time favorites. Well written and gets you so emotionally involved with the characters. You will laugh and you will cry and you will not want to put this book down. One that you just didn't want to end. Enjoy!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I could hardly put it down. Any woman with at least one great girlfriend will laugh, cry and relate to every aspect of this book. The author did an excellent job of capturing that perfect yet unexplainable relationship we have with our girlfriends they make us laugh harder than anyone we know, let us have a good cry when needed, and keep us level headed with an honesty only they cuold get away with, even when we are angry with them their friendships would not be traded for anything! I buying this book for my best friends!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the most part, I have given up reading fiction, because so much of it is either unbearably predictable or poorly written. However, I was looking for something fun to read while on vacation and came across The Saving Graces. Although it took a while for me to relate to the characters once I did I was unable to put the book down. I believe that we can all relate, on some level, to at least one of these women. I also believe that we can all learn at least one lesson from them. Ms. Gaffney writes as if she's speaking to you and keeps things interesting by telling the story from each characters unique perspective. Definitely worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My daughter, who is 16, Jade. She HATES books, with a passion she once told me. One day I was reading the Saving Graces and she wanted to read it too, all of the sudden I looked at my dresser to read more into the book and I could'nt find it. It was in the bare hands of my daughter Jade, she could not stop reading it. Somedays she would want me to bring her dinner to her room so she could read more. THANK YOU SAVING GRACES! for making it so intresting to all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was disappointing. The book didnt get good until the last 100 pages or so. It was dragging for a while there, and got confusing at times with all the switching around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me feel like I knew the characters personally. I could relate to all the ups and downs the Graces experienced. It makes you realize how important the support of your friends is.