It’s an absolute delight today to be joining the blog tour for Amazing Grace, the debut novel from Kim Nash, and sharing my review. Published on 10th April by Hera Books, it’s available for kindle via Amazon, and also as an e-book via Apple and Kobo. A big thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the tour, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy (provided through netgalley).
In most cases, authors become friends after I’ve reviewed their books, and I’m sure some readers will know that’s not quite that’s not quite the case with Kim. But that can make a review rather more difficult – if a friend writes a book you really don’t like, what on earth do you do? But my goodness, that certainly wasn’t a problem with this one! This book was wonderful… one of the very best romance books I’ve read this year. And that has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the author’s a blogging friend, or that she works for one of my favourite publishers – she’s a very fine writer indeed, and has produced a book I loved.
She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…
Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted. Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.
Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks…
Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.
So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?
A funny, feel good romance about finding your own path and changing your life for the better – readers of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Josie Silver will love this uplifting read.
It’s rare to be totally hooked from the opening pages, but as Grace faces another Archie-free day, greets Becks the dog, and wonders quite what she’s going to do with her life, I knew I was going to love this book. There’s a real talent in creating characters who are so real that you feel you could bump into them when you leave the house or in the nearest cafe: although our experiences are totally different, there was just so much about Grace and her day-to-day concerns that was totally relatable that I took her to my heart in an instant.
As Grace begins to find her own way, the “fat club” was just wonderful (and something I have experienced – the ritual humiliation, the nursery stickers and the infuriating catch-phrases!), and her on-line dating experiences brought back many uncomfortable memories (thanks, Monica…). But then something happens that every singleton – whose greatest excitement is a new pair of Tesco pyjamas – dreams of, when the man of her dreams knocks on her door, and he rather likes the look of her too.
Every character in this book is wonderfully drawn. I loved the way Archie was sometimes a small and vulnerable child but at other times became Grace’s champion and defender – his interrogation skills were wonderful to behold, and so well observed. Her husband Mark is selfish, manipulative and totally obnoxious – but never becomes a caricature, just an uncomfortable and unwelcome presence and a threat to the hoped for happy ending. I liked Vinnie very much – but that element of suspicion that Grace has, that maybe there’s something he’s not telling her (fuelled by her previous experience of Mark’s deception), is really well done. The minor characters are excellent too – Monica as the friend everyone needs, Vinnie’s sister Ruth, the friendly neighbours. At one point in the story they all come together at a really lovely party – I felt like I was there, and really wished I had been.
While it’s undoubtedly a romantic comedy, with both gentle humour and some more madcap moments that have you in stitches, I loved the emotional elements every bit as much. There’s a strong theme of a mother’s love – a beautifully drawn relationship between Grace and her young son Archie, filled with love, and the great sadness that Grace no longer has her mother to turn to in times of trouble. There’s no heaviness here, but the love is palpable – and I often found myself quite tearful as my heartstrings were gently pulled by the clever writing. The author’s emotional touch is quite perfect – laughter changes to sadness, and then back to that quite lovely lightness again, with total ease and absence of effort.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is that it’s a debut: the writing is really accomplished, and there wasn’t a single moment on Grace’s journey to happiness when I thought anything could have been done better. There was a point in this book when I felt I was really living it rather than simply reading it – as Grace teeters on the edge of a life-changing decision, I really wanted to talk to her in the hope I could make her see that it was wrong for her in every way. And as I approached the book’s end, I didn’t want it to be over – and that’s a real sign that the author’s drawn you into the world of her characters.
Moving, uplifting, totally convincing characters – desperately sad at times, but also very, very funny. I really loved this book, and look forward very much to seeing what Kim Nash does next.
About the author
Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.
Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.
When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.
Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and was published on 10th April 2019 .
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