Page Count 416
Publication date October 2019/ Publisher Wednesday Books
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
Our stage is set in ‘the county’, a Handmaids-Tale kind of scenario. The only role of a woman is to be a wife and bear children, preferably sons of course. Congregations and silent prayer are forbidden, and for their 16th year each female is sent away to ‘release their magic’ at an encampment.
If they are lucky they will return afterward to obey whichever man has laid claim. If not they will be sent to the fields and workhouses.
Not an entirely original premise but happily the bulk of this book focuses on the girls during their time spent away from the county. The Grace Year.
As always we follow the ambitious one. The girl who will not conform, who dreams of a better way of life. Tierney wants nothing less than to be a wife and resents the laws of the county.
The Grace Year had all the markings of a 5 star read, right up until the insta love trope landed. It destroyed the defiant independent vibe Tierney had and once I’d noticed it with Ryker, I realised she was being saved at every turn by men; her father, Michael, Hans, Ryker the list goes on.
For all of Tierney’s rebellious talk and thoughts of protecting the other girls she hadn’t really acted on any of it. She began to seem sanctimonious and I found myself preferring the stereotype victim of Gertrude!
Kiersten is a formidable antagonist. She appears to truly relish leading the cult-like mass hysteria, I found my strongest reaction was to her character. I really, really despised Kiersten in a bizarrely enjoyable way! She was perfectly written.
I’m not going to mention very much about the plot because uncovering it was my favourite part of reading this book.
There are a couple of surprises in store for readers of The Grace Year. I didn’t predict them because Liggett blends them perfectly into the plot sequence.
For me there was no face palm ‘I-should-have-known’ moments, more of an ‘OH! Well yes that does make sense..’
This title was my 100th read of 2019 so I was particularly happy to be misdirected so expertly.
I’m not a fan of a nice gift wrapped ending which is how this one felt, but I can overlook it because the premise of The Grace Year is fantastic!
This book has all the cruel, insidious, culty goodness I love, set in the wilderness with supernatural vibes and psychological scares.
Tamp down the cheesy romance sub plot and show me more of the ‘outskirts’ and I’d be calling it perfect.
I received my copy of THE GRACE YEAR from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.