Jane Roberts Woods
Dutton, May 2001, 22.95, 245 pp.
In 1944 in Cold Springs, Texas, thirty-eight years old English teacher Grace Gillian does not understand the male of the species, at least those who are not on the front. They seem to admire her yet they avoid her as if she has a contagious disease. Her spouse simply left her without a word of explanation. Her widower neighbor shared a glorious evening together, but never followed up with even a visit. Teenager Bobby Moore, who wants to join the army, and his father both have desired Grace, but try to hide those feelings especially from the senior's wacky Yankee spouse. Even a sergeant she meets on a train heading east finds he cannot resist the lure of Grace.
Perhaps, the males find the amazing teacher just a bit to flaky for them almost as if she is a flame and they are moths. She daringly reads poetry to her students. Who knows what other wild ideas she might unleash on an unsuspecting man? As the war draws closer to an end, which lucky male will earn Grace's love?
GRACE is a fabulous period piece that brings home life in a small Texas town during World War II. Though the story line centers on Grace, it contains several intriguing subplots that allow the audience a better understanding of her admirers and their need for distance. The key cast members are fully developed either through their respective relationship with Grace or with their own family members. Still, this is Grace's novel and she shines throughout just as much as author Jane Roberts Wood does.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner