Friday, May 27, 2016

Days of Grace by Catherine Hall

Title: Days of Grace
Author: Catherine Hall
Narrator: Josephine Bailey
Published: May 2010
Published By: Tantor Media, Inc.
Format Read: Audio Book
Genre: Historical Fiction, Dual Time Period
Date Read: April 30, 2016
Rating: 3/5

With the rumblings of war in the air, Great Britain began to evacuate children from the city to the safety of the countryside. 12 year old Nora Lynch was fortunate enough to be sent to Kent to live in a rectory with Reverend and Mrs. Rivers. Nora would build a strong friendship with their daughter Grace. In this dual time period story, readers also follow Nora in present day as she nears the end of her life and reflects on the decisions she’s made.

British Evacuees 
I came across this book one day while searching through my local library’s collection on Overdrive. I had not heard of this author before, but was intrigued by the World War II setting. One of my favourite books is The Guests of War Trilogy by Kit Pearson. It too follows children who were British evacuees. Unlike that book, the main character in Days of Grace is able to stay in her own country. She is sent from the London home she lived in with her mother to the Kent countryside.

From London to Kent
The comparisons between Nora’s poverty stricken life in the city and that of Grace’s Kent were interesting. Being raised in a one room flat, Nora didn’t even know what the purpose of a dining room was. She was also taken aback by the colourful food she was served at mealtime, a huge difference from the practical gruel her mother could afford.

The Irony
With the country at war and bombs being dropped during the Blitz, Nora’s life with the Rivers family was ironically quite peaceful and blissful once she settled into her new surroundings. My favourite part of Days of Grace was exactly those parts; everyday life during war, even though there was a lot more depth to this story than two young girls growing up.

To My Surprise
Other than reading the synopsis on Overdrive I didn’t do any other research into this book before I began listening to it, so the slight plot-twist (for lack of a better spoil-free description) was a surprise to me.

The Dialects
Narrated by Josephine Bailey, I though her accents were very effective. This was especially true in the instance of the two different class dialects for Nora and Grace. However I did find that listening to the narration at the normal speed was a bit drawn out for my liking. Increasing the speed to the next level made it flow more nicely.

Days of Grace was a good story, unfortunately I did find my interest weaning from time to time, mostly in regards to the present day plot. Still, I would recommend it to those who enjoy coming of age historical fiction. 

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