I’ve mentioned my friend Kim a few times in my writings here. If you’ve been stopping by this blog for the past few years, you might remember that Kim was one of the first people I met when I began blogging over seven years ago. When I first started reading Kim’s blog, I remember thinking that without fail, her words were always so positive and uplifting. I loved that about her writing … and had to wonder what it was that drew her to mine! Whatever it was, our connection through writing made us fast friends. Kim’s faith and positivity have been always been an inspiration. We’ve blogged together, we’ve talked on the phone, and we’ve met in person. I’ve stayed pretty faithful to blogging, while Kim has stepped away at times to focus on writing books. And in spite of our lack of in-person connection, our friendship has only grown stronger over the years. And I was honored when she provided me an advance copy of her latest book and asked me to write the cover review!
Kimberly McKay came on the scene as an author with her first book, Finding Kylie. Some of the peripheral characters of that first story were brought into the limelight in her second book, Facing Redemption, which in turn, spun off Kim’s third book, Coming Home.
Saving Grace is Kimberly McKay’s fourth and latest novel, and it tells a parallel story to Kim’s last book, Coming Home. In Saving Grace, we meet Grace Aundine, a young, beautiful, twenty-something girl whose life seems nothing short of fabulous … at first glance. But beneath the surface, Grace feels her life is lacking all the things that are really important.
Orphaned at the age of seven, Grace and her older sister, Anne are taken in by grandparents they never before knew existed. The two young girls are suddenly thrown into a life of privilege in the Hamptons. With every luxury at their disposal, life should have been nothing short of a fairy tale. But the sisters soon learned that the security and unconditional love they’d known with their parents were things of the past. Their overbearing grandmother had made it abundantly clear that above all else, it was appearances that mattered most. The facade of perfection maintained by their grandmother only masked a life of loneliness. At least the two sisters had each other. But as Anne grew older and more independent, friction in the household increased. And when Anne enrolled at a college that didn’t meet their grandmother’s approval, she gradually disappeared from Grace’s world.
Grace, always the optimist and eternal people-pleaser, makes the best of her diminishing family ties and does all that she can to stay in her grandparents’ good graces, even dating a man who meets her grandmother’s strict standards. Grace’s heart isn’t exactly on fire for Zach, but she’s sure, with time, she’ll feel the stirrings of true love. That is, until she gets the annoying sense that her grandmother has had a less-than benevolent hand in orchestrating the relationship. It seems that her grandmother’s matchmaking had little to do with Grace’s happiness and everything to do with appearances. Why was she surprised? To make matter’s worse, Grace realizes Zach’s intentions are less honorable than either she or her grandmother could have known, and she suddenly finds herself in real physical danger.
God’s hand is on Grace’s shoulder as she escapes Zach’s grasp, but in so doing, finds herself estranged from the few people she still calls family. Alone, and with limited resources for the first time in years, Grace wonders how long she can manage on her own. She misses her parents more than ever before, and feels a renewed ache at her sister’s abandonment. All she’s ever done is try to make her loved ones happy and she wonders now how she could have mattered so little to them.
Knowing she has likely only temporarily distanced herself from a dangerous and abusive relationship, Grace worries where she’ll go and how she’ll manage on her own. Sitting on a beach, staring out into the ocean, at a loss as to what to do next, Grace isn’t sure how to move on. And just when she’s at her lowest point, along comes Nathanial Davis Burkette to save the day. Grace doesn’t make the greatest first impression on “Burke” and the last thing he needs is some damsel in distress to clutter up his quiet life, but he can’t deny the tug on his heartstrings.
Kimberly McKay has truly come into her own as an author with Saving Grace. This book holds just the right balance of suspense and romance, along with a bit of humor and a sprinkling of Kim’s unshakable faith in God. The characters are a beautiful blend of human frailty and strength and I love the way the story emphasizes that no matter who we are, no matter our position or circumstances in this world, the one thing we all want in this life is stability and love.