Book Reviews

The Acquisition Of Elizabeth Grace

“I remember the day my mother began to unravel.”

One of the most delicious and uplifting things about being an unabashed bibliophile is that with hundreds of hours spent reading stacks of books one often discovers a new author whose storytelling makes the reader feel whole and that much better for knowing them. A birthday present gifted early with all of the shiny bits attached.

Gwen K. Harvey, author of “The Acquisition of Elizabeth Grace,” (RE:BOOKS 2024) is definitely in this category. @rebookspublishing @gwenkharvey

Her new novel, (“The Girlfriend Book was published in 2021), is a story that takes place in both Toronto and England throughout the 1960s, and is a poignant, captivating novel of  family, with all of their hidden secrets and complications, their weaknesses and strengths. Elizabeth Grace is a Baron’s daughter in the English autocracy, who grew up wandering the estate grounds of the grand Harrington Hall. A talented artist, she is also frail and buffeted by the emotional and financial challenges life presents.

Elizabeth, along with her husband and two daughters, Sophie and Olivia, travel to England at the tail end of 1961 to celebrate New Year’s with family, which is when things quickly go awry.

 “I was ten years old when our infamous visit happened,” Olivia tells us. “Before everything changed, travel was a much-loved family activity.”

And Oh! What a family it is!

There is the tiny, dainty, soft-spoken Aunt Flora, the family’s loving peacekeeper, who is married to the irascible Uncle Henry, who with “his hooded eyes, protracted nose and hulking presence” is as horrible and cunning as he sounds. Cousins Dora and her imaginary friend, Emily, the mysterious Peter, the Harrington Estate gardener’s son, Frederick, the staunchly efficient and loving butler, along with a host of others, all add delightfully rich context to the subplots.

However, the discovery, by Sophie, of a sapphire and diamond bracelet, gifted to her mother, Elizabeth Grace, wreaks havoc within different pockets of both family units.

 And soon, Sophie, whose head “could not knit together what was going on,” was trying to “push away the intrusive finger of caution tapping on my shoulder.”

A series of tumultuous events occur with the girls and their dad going back to Toronto and Elizabeth Grace, who had lost her very essence, withdrawing to an isolated country cottage.

The multi-layer plot lines that Harvey overlays, one on top of the other, with the introduction of evolving timelines and interesting and complex characters right to the very last chapters, is the kind of rich and celebratory pièce de résistance storytelling that leaves readers both thoroughly enthralled and waiting eagerly for her next book to arrive.

#TheAcquisitionofElizabethGrace #historicalfiction #history #fiction #England #1960s #rebookspublishing

 

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Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications both in print and online, and an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at cecescott.com. Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her books, “Nunzio Tumino: A Pocketful of Dreams: An Immigrant’s Journey,” and “Helping People One Hand At A Time” are all available on amazon.ca.
Cece is also working on a book of Daily Pick-Me-Ups for AutoImmune and other Life Warriors, called:
“My Body Parts Are On Recall But I’ve Still Got Gas in my Tank.”
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