Grace and Mary is expertly written by Melvyn Bragg. A great number of themes are covered in this deceptively gentle story. Mary is suffering by dementia and her son John is keen to see if exploring her early memories can stave off further decline. Told in the present day by John, observing Mary and recreating her memories, and alternately telling her mother Grace’s story. Grace’s mother died after giving birth to her and she went to live on her grandparent’s farm. A picture is painted of a life at the beginning of the twentieth century of a farming community with life lived according the church rules. Grace’s story was the part I preferred although the two strands complemented each other beautifully.
This is quite a philosophical book exploring what religion meant to the three generations of the family. An interesting portrayal of a generation who faced war and what changes those wars made to society.
I enjoyed this book which never flinched from describing what life was like without ever becoming over-dramatic which meant that my sympathies stayed with each character from beginning to end.
This was an easy yet lyrical book to read with great descriptions of both people and places.