About the Book:
A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!
Survive the year.
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
4.5 – 5 Must-Read Stars!!
“In that moment, I became his property. A slower death for me than anything I’d face out here.”
What an unforgettable, important story. I applaud the author for writing this very powerful book. ‘The Grace Year’ is a dystopian novel set in a society where women have zero rights. Men control their bodies and their minds, all in the name of God. Women who disobey are either banished to the unknown out lands or worse, brutally killed in public. In this cruel world, it is believed that sixteen year old girls posses a special magic that lures men to sin. Therefore they are forced to spend their “grace year” together in the wilderness, away from their families and their homes. No one is allowed to speak of the grace year and the girls must fend for themselves in a remote camp, all in an effort to rid themselves of their wicked “magic”.
Before they leave, the girls are promised to husbands in a veiling ceremony. Those who are not veiled must spend their lives in hard labor. Tierney James is one of four daughters of the local doctor and secretly prefers a life of labor to being owned by another man. But she surprisingly receives a veil before she is sent away for her grace year.
“Tonight, I became a wife. All because a boy claimed it so.”
This book has been compared to both ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Lord of the Flies’ and those comparisons are completely accurate. Garner County is a very dark place for women to live in and no one, even young children, are safe. The laws and rules are brutal and merciless. No one can be trusted. The heroine, Tierney, is smart and strong-willed and rebels against these rules. She does not want to a wife but yet loves her family and does not want to bring shame or hardship upon them. This is a story of survival and was very graphic at times and is definitely not for the faint of heart.
“No matter the cause, some of us will only be returning to Garner County in pretty little bottles, but at least that’s an honorable death. The worst fate, by far, is not returning at all.”
There is non-stop tension and suspense because Tierney and the other girls have no idea what they are getting into. Mob hysteria plays a big role here and Tierney must constantly protect herself not only against the other girls, who quickly form alliances, but against the murderous poachers who lurk just outside the camp’s gates. Poachers see the girls as nothing more than prey. Society has completely dehumanized them so that they are merely property. Sound familiar? I flew through both the audio book and the Kindle version to find out who was going to make it home alive.
“My father always told me that it’s the small decisions you make when no one is watching that make you who you are. ‘Who do we want to be?’”
This is a very dark book but a very important one that I have already recommended to my 20-something daughter and all of her friends. While Tierney is a fierce protagonist, this is unquestionably a violent and sometimes gory book, that is best read by older teens. The themes are depressing although not without hope! What I loved most is how this book me think about how our society is becoming more and more patriarchal and how we must stop dehumanizing our young girls.
I also must compliment Emily Shaffer for her AMAZING audio book narration! I highly recommend listening to the book on audio. Plus at the end of the audio book, there is a fantastic, in-depth interview with the author. Don’t miss it.
‘The Grace Year’ is a very powerful and moving tale of survival and resistance that should be on everyone’s must-read list!
“We all carry our wounds, some more visible than others. ”
About the Author:
At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.
Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.