Having previously read Who's Afraid of Mr. Wolfe by the same author, Playing Grace was not what I expected. Don't get me wrong; it was wonderful, but it was a far cry from the light chick-lit read I was expecting.
The setting is not your average romance world, but a real, gritty one, as imperfect as the characters within it. There is Grace, who has tamped down on her impulsive nature until she is like a pressure cooker; Tate, who cannot seem to break away from the stereotype of the brash American; their boss, Alistair, who is hiding a life-altering secret and their colleague, who is worn down from dealing with his sister's neuroses day in, day out. It's safe to say that if you sat them all down in a shrink's office, almost all of the book's characters would be diagnosed quicker than you can say American Psychiatric Association. And yet, the beauty of this book lies in the fact that Osmond never pigeon-holes her characters. Instead, her portrayal is compassionate and comprehensive. Objectively, the characters were this book's major strength, but as someone who actively seeks out feel-good novels, I cannot deny that at times, I found myself uncomfortable with their predicaments. This is not a reflection of the book, but rather that I misread the signs and was expecting a fairy-floss read.
However, the British black humour that made me squirm also made Playing Grace a witty, poignant and, ultimately, a very satisfying read. In fact, I felt that, after having spent so much time learning about and investing in the characters, the pay-off and ultimate conclusion came across as slightly rushed, undermining the novel's realism. Of course, I have realised that I say something in most of my complementary reviews, so maybe what I really mean to say is: I wasn't ready for it to end. And there are very few testimonials that you can give a book that mean more than that.
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Quercus; 1 edition (1 October 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780873735
- ISBN-13: 978-1780873732
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.2 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item