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Reviewed by Lorraine Cobcroft for Readers' Favorite
I love stories that shine a light in dark corners, promoting awareness of social issues we too often seek to turn away from. Grace and Serenity, by Annalisa Crawford, does just that. Focusing on the challenges of a young girl’s unplanned pregnancy, domestic violence, and prostitution, this is a dark but gripping and superbly written novel by a very talented author. When a young schoolgirl, Grace, finds herself pregnant, her parents are supportive, but the baby’s father initially rejects her. His subsequent change of heart results in a marriage in which Grace suffers shocking abuse. But when her husband takes her child and then manages to convince her parents, as well as neighbors, that she is a neglectful mother, Grace’s desperation drives her to homelessness and isolation. A kind soul rescues her, but she discovers that nothing in life is free.
Annalisa Crawford tells us Grace and Serenity was a finalist in the Wishing Shelf Books Awards for 2021. Such recognition is well deserved. The story is heartbreaking. The tension is palpable. The conclusion both shocks and thrills. Crawford puts you in the story, compelling you to walk in Grace’s shoes. You will acutely feel Grace’s pain and frustration, weep for her, and root for her ultimate redemption. Crawford’s descriptions are vivid and her characterizations are superb. The story is captivating and entirely believable. This is a book readers will struggle to put down, and a story that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. It is just superb writing. I will look for more from this promising author.