The gripping and heartbreaking second novel by the author of BA Book of the Month and LoveReading Debut of the Month Patience.
She gave you her baby. Now she wants her back.
Nineteen-year-old Michelle has had a tough life, to say the least. Then she gets pregnant. She is convinced she would be a terrible mother but having grown up in care, she cannot bring herself to subject her child to the same fate.
Amelia and her husband have dreamed of having a family for years, but have lost all hope after the worst kind of tragedy. Then they are offered the chance to adopt baby Grace, and it feels like they finally have everything they've ever wanted.
But then Michelle decides she wants her daughter back, and it's up to the courts to decide. What is best for Grace – a mother's love, or a stable home? Whatever the ruling, one thing is certain: neither woman's life will ever be the same again...
Praise for Victoria Scott:
'Beautiful... Heart-wrenching. A wonderful gem of a book' Eve Ainsworth, author of Duckling
'Warm and real and heart-breaking all at the same time. I loved it' Clare Swatman
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 45 members
Wonderfully simple concept and a beautifully written novel. A tough subject matter was approached with real tenderness and understanding. In fact with real grace!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me read an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.
Michelle is a young woman who has grown up in care and has had an unstable life and decides to give her baby up for adoption. Two stories run parallel as we meet the couple who foster baby Grace with a view to adopting her. The adoptive mother falls completely in love with the baby but nothing is certain until the final court date. I thought this was a well written read that was sensitive and gripping.
Victoria Scott, Grace, Head of Zeus, Aria, 2022
Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review.
Victoria Scott approaches several difficult topics with sensitivity and meticulous attention to detail. The parallel stories of Michelle and Rob, the birth parents of Grace, and Amelia and Piers, Grace’s prospective adoptive parents, are more complex than is immediately apparent. Their putative focus is Grace and her future parenthood.
However, by digging deeper into the relationships, as Scott does so skilfully, it becomes clear that the couples have more in common than initially realised. Linking the couples through their private relationships with each other as well as their public personas is masterful. So too are the observations made about social services and legal systems. Graphic descriptions of the characters’ clothing and hairstyles, which could possibly be seen as a frivolous aside in this novel packed with serious social commentary, are a valid recognition of why and how roles are adopted and understood through image. All these factors add layers upon layers of understanding and complexity to the question to be decided by the court – who should be baby Grace’s permanent parent/s?
The story is told by Michelle and Amelia, Grace’s possible mothers-to-be. Michelle’s voice is heard first as she gives birth to Grace, and in the aftermath of the birth. Her voice, demeanour and attitude are harsh. She is alone in the hospital. In contrast, Amelia is a sorrowful, soft figure, who has had several courses of IVF treatment and a still birth, and is happily married to Piers, a school master. They are parent figures to the boarders at the school. After Grace’s birth, and on the basis that Michelle has done little to demonstrate her commitment to the baby, she is placed with Amelia and Piers on the foster to adopt plan.
Amelia’s belief that the baby will be a magical addition to her household is sadly misplaced – moments of joy are followed by many of sleeplessness, crying, the entrapment that is an outcome of the logistical difficulties of preparing to travel with a baby, and a partner whose support subtly varies. Michelle’s freedom without the baby is also curtailed – by the pain following childbirth and engorged breasts, poverty, hunger, and an obviously unsupportive partner. The women’s struggles, their fights to overcome their physical and mental frailty, and developing relationships outside their domestic environments are well drawn. These women have stories to tell and are rightly given the vital voices in the narrative.
Grace is a novel that has its impetus in personal knowledge of a friend’s similar experience as part of the foster to adopt scheme. However, this kernel of familiarity has been developed well beyond the initial impetus. This is a novel that is impressive in its understanding of the motivations for all the characters, whatever their social situation, and experience. Grace is a very good read, and a positive contribution to understanding complex social questions.
Whatever you do, do not start ANY of Victoria’s books at 9pm because I can absolutely guarantee you’ll still be reading in the wee hours! I absolutely devoured ‘Grace’ in less than 12 hours (with some sleep in between you’ll be pleased to hear). I knew from the first chapter that it was going to be a heart wrenching story, and it is, but it is written with such authenticity and is just utterly gripping.
Amelia and Michelle couldn’t be more different and yet as the story draws on, more and more common threads appear until you realise how broken women can be by the situations they find themselves in. I have a friend who fostered to adopt and I feel this book gave me a teeny tiny insight into what they experienced and also gives us all food for thought on what a successful adoption looks like. Whoever “won”- birth mother or foster mother- someone has a child they love taken away from them. Such a complicated subject and yet Victoria Scott embraced it with care, passion and love.
This is a book I will be shouting about from the roof tops.
I really enjoyed reading this book - it was not an easy read as we have been adoptive parents and some of the experiences in the book brought back memories.
I found it well written and interesting to hear from the varied viewpoints and see the social work profession and legal process put in a positive light. I had not expected the outcome and felt for all the parties involved.
A book I will be recommending.
An amazing emotional rollercoaster of a book! I found the characters really engaging and found myself identifying with both of the protagonists in different ways. The storyline was intense and emotional, but the topics were handled sensitively by the author. A very insightful book.
An emotional read with many sensitive subjects dealt with sensitively, poverty, abuse, adoption, social services, drugs, community, so many threads. Poignant, drawing the reader in to appreciate, understand and empathise with different sides of life and what may lie beneath the surface. Totally enthralling as one just couldn't see which way this well written story was going plus a whole cast of brilliantly depicted characters make this a worthy read.
I read this book so quickly it was well written with well developed and believable characters and a good storyline which dealt with raw and emotive issues in a sensitive and simplistic manner. I couldnt put this book down, it was both heartwrenching and heartwarming and I didnt want it to end.
What a beautiful novel. I inhaled it in two sittings, caused only by my body’s pesky insistence on falling asleep before I’d finished reading for the night. As another reviewer mentioned, don’t start this book at 9pm unless you have a day off the next day and have already taken a nap!
Writing about adoption, fostering and the family court system without personal first hand experience shouldn’t be possible but Scott proves that it is and that is can be done well. She has taken this most polarising of subjects (and a reader who is often quick to pick a side and stick to it) and examined it so sensitively and openly from all angles often stamping out stereotypes on the way. This is made even more incredible when I read what had first inspired Scott to write this novel in the first place.
Another thing that I really liked about this novel wasn’t just its wonderful descriptions of Malvern and it’s eponymous hills and it’s fantastically warm and real characterisations but that so much of the story hinges on a place of worship, the Abbey and yet the book is almost entirely secular with prayer being one reason amongst many for scenes taking place there. Churches have stood in England for hundreds and even a thousand years and have been at the heart of their communities and this book with its food bank and senior’s club reminds people that this tradition continues to this day and I hope this encourages some readers to step into a church and simply enjoy the space and the people within it without being scared that they will be proselytised to.
Although there are some male characters this book is predominantly about strong, feisty women from all walks of life, academic or career backgrounds and without seeking to make them angelic, martyred or in any way super human she has just let them shine and reminded this reviewer in particular, how powerful woman can be when they come together and work together.
Very skillfully written. An emotional but gripping read. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend to friends.
I really enjoyed this book.
It was a sensitive subject but it was easy to read and it was beautifully written.
I can’t wait to read another book by this author. I would highly recommend this book.
Victoria Scott poured her heart and soul into this book - it’s been a long time since I felt so emotional - well done and thank you.
Melanie is 19, in a toxic relationship and equally toxic environment with Rob, her boyfriend, and she is pregnant. Having spent most of her life in the care system until she was 16 she had suffered an extremely difficult childhood. She decides to place her child up for adoption to give her a stable healthy life - a life she never had.
Amelia and her husband are a married couple who cant have children of their own so when they get the call to tell them a newborn baby girl is available to them they are over the moon although Amelia secretly has doubts - nobody is that lucky or will the adoption be seamless. Her worst fears come true and they are told that the birth mother has changed her mind and wants her daughter back to raise her on her own.
A family court battle has to be carried out with the judge deciding who is the most appropriate person to raise the child.
Great but heartbreaking storyline loved it.
This second book from Victoria Scott is another amazing page-turner.
Told from the viewpoint of two women, both at different ends of the same struggle, with an additional view of the judge presiding over a very heart-wrenching child custody case.
Michelle is young and has suffered considerably in that short life, at the hands of an inadept social services team, who failed her, from the moment she was separated from her younger sister at the age of six. Fast forward to her late teens, and she has found herself pregnant, in a relationship with a man who has stood by her more than any of the so-called support workers she has had assigned to her. Even his questionable behaviour towards her doesn't waiver her trust in him.
However, they're broke, live in squalor, and she knows that is no place to bring up a baby, however much she is already attached to that little being.
Amelia is a woman, in a marriage tinged with sadness at the fact that they can't have children, and the one time they thought their dream would come true ended up in the tragedy of stillbirth.
A solution to both of these women's problems could be found, in the placement of little Grace, born to Michelle. She thinks her daughter would be better off in the care of someone who could give her everything.
And that someone could be Amelia, and her husband Piers, who are approached via the Foster to Adopt scheme.
The thing is, nothing is ever that simple.
It was, indeed a roller coaster of emotions as I read the story, following the feelings of a young woman who desperately wants to get her life, and daughter back, and a woman who knows her dream is on the cusp of becoming a reality, but everything balances on the decisions of a judge, after a drawn-out investigation.
All in all, the final conclusion was what I wanted to happen, but there was so much happening in the background, as you read, even if you are of a differing opinion, you would probably agree that it was for the best. People are not always what they seem, and this book demonstrated that, perfectly.
So emotional. But brilliant.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
An absorbing story of a mother who gives up her baby and a couple who want to adopt. It seems straight forward until Michelle, the mother, decides she would like to keep the baby. A difficult subject handled with care and understanding. The outcome is unexpected and heartwarming. A fabulous read.
Read and reviewed in exchange for a free copy from NetGalley. 'Grace' was fantastic. Scott's writing was emotive and skillful, and she created real empathy for Michelle and Amelia. A challenging topic was dealt with sensitively, the characters had clear voices, and moments were the two characters lives intertwined were done subtly yet in a way which created a sucker-punch for the reader. A fantastic read.
I am new to @victoriascottauthor's writing with the e-ARC of 'Grace' but after reading 'Grace' I've already bought her previous book 'Patience' which I am really looking forward to. Thank you to the author herself, @headofzeus and @NetGalley. I know it is early in the year but I know that this stunning book will stay with me.
In the centre of 'Grace' is a baby (Grace) who is born to Michelle, desperate, troubled and carrying her past as an invisible suit of armour around her. Spending her childhood in care, moved from pillar to post, taking drugs, getting expelled, shoplifting, suffering abuse at the hands of her boyfriend Rob, she gives birth to Grace but wants to gift her an escape from the troubled existence she has lived.
In comes Amelia, assured, confident and desperate for a baby following her failed attempts at IVF. Although Amelia appears to 'have it all', she isn't as assured and confident as once though. Through fostering to adopt, Amelia has Grace to focus all of her attentions on but even though she has everything she's always wanted, a successful husband and the much longed-for baby, something doesn't feel quite right...
The parallel structure of this book really allows us to follow the lives of the birth parents, Michelle and Rob, and the fostering parents, Amelia and Piers. The contrast in their lives is stark and really paints a vivid and totally absorbing picture of struggle. Food banks, shoplifting, living with no heat and the gnawing hunger pains are used by Scott as a marker of just how Michelle has committed an act of love for Grace in allowing her to be with parents who don't have the same struggles. But then we have the middle-class couple, Amelia and Piers. There's no socio-economic struggle but we have the largely loveless marriage and through the depiction of Piers, we are able to root for Amelia.
There are myriad hard-hitting topics, from drug abuse, a failing care system, physical abuse, coercive control and stillbirth to name but a few but all are written about with sensitivity. I was totally absorbed in the lives of Michelle and Amelia as well as other such vividly memorable characters, Mark, Rachel, Laura and Gillian. It is a definite ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️. I loved it and will be urging everyone to read this when published in July.
I absolutely adored Victoria Scott’s debut and have connected with the characters in this beautiful second novel just as much!
Amelia and her husband Piers have dreamed of having a family for years but after unbearable loss, have given up hope of it happening for them. Nineteen year old Michelle has had a very tough life and given her current situation, thinks she would be a terrible mother. So upon baby Grace’s birth, Michelle makes the difficult decision to hand over her baby even though she doesn’t want her to have the same experiences she herself had growing up in care.
Amelia and Piers, having been approved as prospective adopters, are given the chance to care for baby Grace as ‘foster to adopt’ carers. It feels like they now have everything they have ever wanted, even though they are both aware of the possibility Grace’s mother may want her baby back. Although this is like the small print you choose to ignore, thinking it doesn’t apply/won’t happen, this is the reality that unfolds because Michelle decides she does want Grace back in her care. It will be up to the Courts to decide what is best for baby Grace. But one thing is certain, whatever the Judge’s decision, neither woman’s life will ever be the same again...
I enjoyed how this story was told via alternating chapters from the perspectives of Amelia and Michelle and how we really got to know and understand them both as the story progressed. This story is a really powerful reminder about the importance of not judging somebody by outward impressions alone too, as things are definitely not all that they seem when you delve deeper and behind closed doors!
I felt such empathy for Amelia and Michelle and enjoyed getting such an in depth understanding of their experiences through Victoria Scott’s beautiful writing. I really cared about them both and they each learn some devastating truths as the story unfolds. I was so angry for them both for different reasons! It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a book and I was so glad to see the support and friendships both women develop. The epilogue really made me smile too and felt like the perfect end to this story.
I also love how Victoria Scott provides us, as the reader, with such a unique insight into the lives and experiences of women like Michelle and Amelia who are both in very difficult situations. She writes about their experiences in such a sensitive way. I enjoyed reading the author’s note at the end too explaining her inspiration for exploring foster to adopt.
This is a brilliant story and I would definitely recommend Victoria’s debut Patience too, if you have not already read it!
This is Victoria Scott's second novel and I can honestly say that she's getting better and better!!. I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end!!. Of course once again the story follows a hard topic of adoption which seems to be Victoria's trait and she does it do well!.
The story follows a young woman called Michelle who has not had the best start in life and is expecting her first child. She believes that her baby would be better off with people who can love and look after her and give her everything she could ever want. We then find out about the foster to adopt parents Amelia and Piers. So we see the struggle that both sides have had and will have when Michelle decides that actually she wants to have her daughter, Grace to live with her.
If you want to read a book that makes you feel part of the story and all sorts of emotions , then this is the book for you!.
Many thanks to Netgalley for the free ARC book for an honest review.
#Netgalley, #headofzeus, #victoriascottauthor.
Such a beautiful and challenging story about the heartache surrounding babies - having them, not having them... And all the challenges of relationships and the long term implications.
Having loved reading Patience last year, I was thrilled to have an early opportunity to read Grace.
This is a well written and emotional book. Victoria made me feel sympathy for both Amelia and Michelle. A family friend recently went through the adoption route and I know how difficult that was for the couple hoping to adopt, so it was important to see how a woman may feel about giving her child up.
This book covers tough topics including neglect, drug abuse, domestic violence but is written sensitively.. This story looks at both sides - the young mum who feels she cannot give the baby the life it deserves (and that she never had herself) and the older woman who has suffered heartbreak wanting to be a mother..
There are a few twists in the story and I was gripped by this book. Happy to recommend.
A beautifully written novel. Showing the adoption process from both sides, this was tough subject matter but Victoria Scott approached it with real tenderness and understanding. I
A heartbreaking account of a baby's birth mother, and her foster mother. After giving Grace up for adoption, her mother finally rethinks her decision after a series of traumatic events. Through both of the women's POVs, it is hard to decide whose side you're on, which is exactly the point. It's an impossible situation. It was beautifully articulated and proves that no one's life is perfect. I was satisfied with the ending too, would recommend it.
The gripping and heartbreaking second novel by the author of Patience….. The storyline kept me glued to my Kindle through the whole book! I definitely recommend reading this book!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, well written and very thought provoking and it explains the pitfalls of adoption and I really engaged with the characters.
Thank you to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for an extremely good book which I can recommend.
I was lucky enough to be given a copy of Patience to read and review last year, so I was delighted to receive a copy of this book by the same author, Victoria Scott. It didn’t disappoint!
It tells the story of baby Grace, who is given up for adoption from birth by her mum, Michelle. The lucky couple who are chosen to be Grace’s foster to adoption family are Amelia and Piers.
Michelle has a sad life - poverty, abuse, domestic violence and drugs. Amelia and Piers have a lovely home and a stable life. What will happen when Michelle begins to regret giving up her baby?
This book is written without judgment and it’s hard to see who will be successful in the battle for Grace. As the book progresses I did feel like I was being slowly guided towards the final decision.
I loved the accuracy of the adoption process in this book. Fiction often makes it out to be quick and easy, and it’s no such thing.
I highly recommend this book.
A really gripping but also heart breaking storyline. Make sure that you have the tissues to hand. Beautiful
Emotionally challenging! Victoria Scott sends you neck deep into the lives of two women battling for the most precious, Grace. She swings you like a pendulum from Michelle, Grace's teenage birth mother to Amelia, Grace's to-be-adoptive-mother. You reason with both of them and struggle to arrive at a conclusion though the court eventually does. Highly recommended to anyone wanting to gain insight into the hearts and minds of those undergoing the adoption process.
Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the eARC.
A gem of a story that puts you through an emotional wringer.
Michelle really doesn’t have the sort of environment she should bring a new born into. Amelia has suffered deep sadness in her journey to become a mother. Now there’s a baby whose mother wants her to have a better life and a woman with a better life to give a child… but Michelle meets people who care about her and with them by her side, she begins to realise that maybe she can be a good mother after all. But where does that leave ‘foster to adopt’ Amelia, who loves baby Grace with everything she has?
As with Victoria’s first book, Patience, her characters face some horrendous challenges yet hope, kindness and love gets them through.
I loved this story. The main characters are a joy (apart from the couple who aren’t) and I was so invested in the outcome that I had a mental calendar in my head wondering how the timeline might favour one or other character.
Well researched from a technical perspective, the story is also brimful of what feels like incredibly accurate emotional depictions.
It’s a cracker of a story and my only criticism would be that I could happily have spent a little more time with Michelle and Amelia in the epilogue…
And thank you to #Netgalley and the publisher for this preview copy.
The book Grace takes difficult, sad subjects and weaves something hopeful and full of meaning from them. I loved reading about the journey of two women and discovering more about their backstories, which explained how each of them had arrived at this point in their lives. This book gave me a lot to think about and now I want to read Victoria Scott’s first book, Patience.
Highly recommend to anyone who is going through, or has been through the adoption process. This tale shows the process from a different angle. Highly recommend
I normally enjoy stories set in small communities, with romance,a touch of humour and that certain feel-good factor. This story is not really anything like that, instead covering subjects that I've had no experience of including abusive, drug fuelled relationships and the desperation of trying for a baby. Initially I just dipped into it once or twice, but found that I was increasingly drawn into it. I really felt for both Michelle, the young mother, and Amelia, the prospective foster / adoptive mother to be. The way that a book affects me is what makes the difference between a 4* and 5* review - a story such as this that affects me emotionally and makes me consider how lucky my life has been certainly deserves the latter. Overall very highly recommended, just be prepared for some soul-searching whilst reading it.
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley,however this did not influence my review of the book.
What a fantastic book, heartbreaking in places and uplifting in others. A very emotional subject to deal with, it also makes a good point about people's perception of others, it was very interesting to see that 2 seemingly very different women were actually in the same situation. Well written and it was difficult to tell how it would end.
What a fantastic read .The story is so good and so well written it grabs you from the first page. Michelle is a troubled young lady who was bought up in care and has lots of problems with an abusive relationship and drugs and when she gets pregnant she decides its best for her baby to give her up for adoption . There are lots of difficulties ahead and the characters are very believable ,with love, friendships and betrayals it's a testing time for everyone Involved and will Michelle be able to turn her life around and finally find happiness. I really recommend this book a 5🌟read
Bring tissues! Michelle has just given birth - she is 19, a drug addict, living with her addict boyfriend, with no money for food and heating. Amelia and Piers are desperate to adopt as they are unable to conceive. Baby Grace is given to them to foster with a view to adopt as Michelle wishes to send Grace somewhere she can be safely cared for, having a life that she cannot provide. This the story of the lead up the court hearing that will decide who Grace should live with forever,
I really enjoyed this book - both heart wrenching and heartwarming this was the perfect mix of true drama and hopeful uplit. I loved Michelle and Amelia and was gripped by their journey! And yes, I shed some tears at the end!
A wonderful follow up to Scott's debut 'Patience'. Nineteen-year-old mum Michelle, who has been through the care system, puts her baby Grace up for adoption. Amelia and her husband long for a family and their dreams come true when they have the chance to adopt Grace. But when Michelle decides she wants her daughter back, the courts have to decide which home is best for Grace, but only one woman can be chosen ... this novel is sensitively written and really tugs on the heartstrings.