Author: Catherine Hall
Set in the backdrop of World War II, “Days of Grace” is a moving and sometimes harsh novel. At the beginning of World War II Nora Lynch’s life changed forever when her mother decided to include her as one of the thousands of children evacuated to the safety of the countryside. Nora, who never wanted to leave her mother, is picked by Grace Rivers, the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. Rivers, to join their family as their “evacuee”. Grace and Nora are both twelve years old and form an instant bond of friendship. On the surface everything seems wonderful but secrets run deep and are certain to disrupt Nora’s life forever.
The novel switches from past to present with each chapter. The start of the book explains Nora’s life in the present and continues to unfold her story through her own memories. The reader is moved, surprised, disturbed, and amazed with Nora’s story. The novel clearly gives a mental picture of life for women during WW2. It’s as if it takes the reader and transports them to that era as an observer. Catherine writes with clarity and emotion as she addresses friendship, love, family war and repression. Written about an era of tragedy and uncertainty, Hall is moving and flawless with her description and emotions of the era along with the personal story of Nora Lynch.
This book really shocked me. The novel is more Nora’s story and confessions with the backdrop of war and society during that time. Her story explains how she became the person she was. It leaves the reader to ponder what her life would have been like if there was no World War II. Nora’s life is forever changed with one decision that catapults her to another world, further complicating it and bringing forth the worst of evils in Nora. Nora is a character I had so many mixed feelings for, the novel was very well written and enjoyable to read. I would recommend it to adult readers. I did not feel the content was suitable for the YA reader for many reasons; most of all being that the full impact of the content would be lost if not read by a mature reader. I enjoyed this book and look forward to more books from this debut author.
Reviewed for Author Exposure