Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie (2009) is the story of Virginia Kate, a woman visiting West Virginia in order to get her mother's ashes, and her struggle to come to terms with her past. With the aid of the spirits, the grandmother's journal (with notations added by Virginia Kate's mother) sent to Virginia Kate by her mother right before her death, and the photos and other memory-inducing items left in her mother's home, her childhood and family history finally become something Virginia Kate can explore in a new way and learn to accept.

As the reader, we're fortunate to experience both the present and the past through the eyes of Virginia Kate, an interesting, flawed-in-her-own-right storyteller for her family history.

I can't even describe how much this book spoke to me. I can't imagine anyone with "family issues" and the understanding that family relationships are complicated, messy, and fragile not finding something to love about this book.

A couple of small portions, yet two of my favorites, at Kindle Location 49-55:

I touch the journal Momma sent two weeks ago. I should have gone to her right after I read her letter, but I was too ornery for my own good, always have been. I didn't want her to think she could crook her finger and have me scurry back to West Virginia after she gave me up as she did when I was a girl who needed her momma. I had set my teeth to her words and carried on with my own business.

And Kindle Location 1866-1872:

I'm near asleep when I hear, "Virginia Kate, when're you going to my room? What're you a scaredy-cat about?"

I turn into my pillow and answer, "Momma, I'm afraid you'll be just who everyone says you are instead of who I hope you are."

She doesn't say anything to this, shuts right up.

My overall personal rating of Tender Graces is an A-.


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