Saving Grace: A Novel

Saving Grace: A Novel

by Jane Green
Saving Grace: A Novel

Saving Grace: A Novel

by Jane Green

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

What does a marriage really look like behind closed doors? What secrets lie beneath the surface? How far will each spouse go to keep love alive? Saving Grace is a riveting, true-to-life novel about one woman’s journey to save her family—and herself—from New York Times bestselling author Jane Green

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees are Ted’s rages, his mood swings, and the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, his world begins to crumble, and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until Ted’s new assistant, Beth, comes to the rescue. Young and competent, Beth possesses the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all—one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, her sanity…and her own life.

“Green spins a dark romance, recalling All About Eve, where intimacy masks betrayal.”
Kirkus Reviews


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250047397
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/09/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,142,987
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

A former feature writer for the Daily Express in the UK, Jane Green took a leap of faith when she left, in 1996, to freelance and work on a novel. Seven months later, there was a bidding war for her first book, Straight Talking, the saga of a single career girl looking for the right man. The novel was a hit in England, and Green was an overnight success. She's since written many bestselling novels including The Beach House, Second Chance, Jemima J, and Tempting Fate. Most weekends see her cooking for a minimum of twenty people in her home in Westport, Connecticut, where she lives with her husband and their blended family. When she is not writing, cooking, filling her house with friends and looking after their animals, she is usually thanking the Lord for caffeine-filled energy drinks.

Hometown:

Westport, Connecticut

Date of Birth:

May 31, 1968

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

"Managed to drop out of Fine Art Degree at University."

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

There are only so many hours Grace can stay away from home.

Her husband's car is still in the driveway when she pulls in, her heart sinking at the sight. As if she should be surprised.

Where did she think he'd be going at six o'clock in the evening? It was the triumph of hope over experience, she thought to herself.

Luck is not on her side today. It wasn't on her side this morning when she woke up to hear a door slamming downstairs and her husband bellowing her name, and it isn't on her side now.

Although perhaps it is, she thinks, gingerly pulling up alongside his car and steeling herself for whatever might meet her inside. Perhaps his mood will have changed. Perhaps he will be the loving attentive husband the rest of the world sees, as long as they don't get too close.

After almost twenty-five years of marriage the only thing that Grace is ever able to predict is the unpredictability of her husband's moods. He can throw his keys at the wall in a rage, then reappear twenty minutes later with a sunny smile, as if nothing had happened, as if Grace hadn't spent the prior twenty minutes quaking with nerves.

He can throw his keys at the wall, followed by a vase, followed by rageful venting that this, what ever this might be, is all Grace's fault. That Grace has somehow screwed up.

This morning, Grace heard the doors slamming downstairs, before she had even opened her eyes. She was woken up by the noise, sat bolt upright, heart pounding, realizing that Ted was in one of his moods. Terror flooded her body for a second. Sometimes, when this happens at night, she locks herself in the bathroom and runs a bubble bath, flooding out his anger with the water from the faucet. She has learned that if she removes herself, he will frequently take his rage elsewhere, distance allowing it to simmer before disappearing. But if Grace is there, if he sees her, she becomes an unwilling victim of a predator who will not leave her alone until he is sure she is completely destroyed.

He doesn't mean it, she thinks, when he is back to being kind, loving, appreciative. He has terrible mood swings, which is part of what makes him a creative genius. I should be grateful, she tells herself. If Ted weren't allowed to be this kind of person, he wouldn't be able to write the books he does, wouldn't be the success he is.

I mustn't take it personally, she tells herself all the time, even as she feels her ears ringing with stress.

Her ears were ringing this morning, in bed, as she heard him downstairs. They always ring when she is frightened. She read somewhere this is a symptom of anxiety, and one she has had as far back as she can remember. She has a theory that it helps drown out the noise of whoever is raging at her--her mother, her husband--but isn't sure that's why it happens.

This morning, moving quickly, she pulled on yesterday's jeans, a clean T-shirt and vest, and slipped down the back stairs, carrying her clogs in her hand so as not to make a sound before softly walking out the back door.

Ted heard her car start, as she knew he would, and she wound her window down as he came tearing out of the house.

"Sorry!" she called as she reversed, pretending she hadn't noticed his face contorted with rage. "Early start. I'm hugely late. See you later!" She waved a cheery hand out the window and zipped up the driveway, her body flooding with relief.

Her cell phone buzzed. She turned her head, the ringing in her ears starting back up, an automatic response to her husband's name flashing on her screen. She wouldn't answer, never answered when he was in this kind of mood, but nor would she divert, for then he would know she was diverting him, which would infuriate him still further.

She pressed the top button to turn off the volume, waited until the call went to voicemail, then turned the entire phone off, knowing she wouldn't turn it back on until Ted was back to normal.

Please let things be back to normal now, she thinks, hoisting the grocery bags into the house and onto the kitchen table. She has been out all day. First to work, then filling the rest of her afternoon with errands to keep her out of the eye of the storm.

The house is quiet. Ted must still be in the barn, which is a good thing, as it means he is writing. Work helps him to focus his mind elsewhere, and hopefully, please God, enable him to gather his equilibrium.

Grace puts the tomatoes in a bowl on the counter, the milk in the fridge, sliding the kettle onto the range to make tea. She once loved this house so much, this rambling antique on the banks of the Hudson River. That very first time they saw it, she knew she had found a place to call home.

Sprawling, peaceful, filled with nooks, crannies, and charm, the house has low ceilings and French doors that open onto lawns that lead gracefully down to the water.

She loved this house, before Ted's moods had the ability to discombobulate her in the way they now do. Back in the early days, Grace would laugh at him, would wander off, letting his insults roll off her back, happy to play with their daughter and wait for things to pass.

But the years have taken their toll, his rages lasting longer, gradually grinding her into the woman she is now--the same Grace she has always been, with a ringing in her ears, a quickening of her heart, an overwhelming urge to run far, far away.

She used to fight back. She doesn't anymore. She withdraws into a well of pain and resentment, removing herself as she did today, or hiding in her bathroom, the one room that feels safe.

Now, so often, the rest of the house she loved feels like a prison.

She jumps as she sees the barn door open, Ted emerging, his glasses in his hand as he runs his fingers through his hair. She squints through the window, reading his face, his mood, bracing herself not for fight or flight, for neither is an option right now, but for the third option: freeze.

Ted sees her through the window, his expression changing, as Grace holds her breath, to a smile. Relief floods her body as he waves a jaunty hand, slowly making his way up the path. She is close to tears as she raises a tentative hand back at him.

Thank God! she thinks. Thank you, God! She goes to the fridge to pour him a glass of wine, the ringing fading in her ears, wondering how on earth life ever got so hard.

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