Like many young women, Grace Barnum's life is a precarious mix of sensible choices and uncomfortable compromises. She dutifully edits children's textbooks that she fears amy be more harmful than helpful. She is engaged to a patent attorney with whom she has a reliable relationship. She's wary of her fascinating father, a renowned New York painter, and she prefers her mother slightly drunk.Wow! I loved this book! Grace Grows is a love story about Grace Barnum and Taylor Wilkie. After watching her parents divorce, Grace wants nothing more than a reliable, dependable man who will give her a safe and surprise free relationship. That is until she meets Tyler Wilkie; he's a musician and about as unreliable as you can get. But Grace cannot ignore him, she finds him intriguing and it seems that she really opens up when she spends time with him. They start off as friends but it soon becomes obvious that they could have more than that. However, this goes against everything that Grace has ever wanted, she has to face up to the person she is and the person she could be or she could risk losing the one man who can truly love her.
Always organised, always a planner, Grace carries her life around in a handbag- that is until the responsibility challenged Tyler Wilkie shows up, with his warm eyes and a smile that makes Grace drop things. Worst of all, her he writes tender, loving, devastating songs- about her. Tyler reaches something in Grace, something she needs, but can't admit to. Something she wants but won't succumb to. Falling in love with him would ruin everything. And yet..
The book is written from Grace's perspective so it feels very personal and as the title suggests, Grace Grows, she changes so much throughout the book. Tyler loves her as she is as he can see the true Grace, she just needs to see this for herself.
Tyler Wilkie is a fantastic character who I completely fell in love with! I loved the songs he writes for Grace which are included throughout. He has nothing to hide and no agenda; he loves Grace and has never hidden that fact. He cannot understand why Grace puts up so many barriers but he will not give up on her.
Shelle Sumners has a fantastic writing style, I found her characters entirely believable and at the end of every chapter I wanted to know more. The intensity of Grace and Tyler's relationship makes for a great story, it is romantic without being cliched which I think is very difficult to achieve.
I highly recommend Grace Grows, the story will capture you and you may just fall in love with Tyler too!
Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of the book, Grace Grows is published on 1st March.
As part of the Grace Grows blog tour, I was invited to ask the lovely Shelle Sumners some questions so here you go!
1. I completely fell in love with Tyler Wilkie, where did your inspiration for this character come from?
Tyler Wilkie first popped up in my subconscious in an early morning dream. I didn’t know his name yet, but I did know that he was a musician. He was with a woman at a waterfall. They were in love, and something important was going to happen to them there.
A few months prior to this dream, I’d gone with my husband, Lee Morgan, to a few New York City clubs. He’s an actor and musician and had been writing a lot of songs and was just starting to play them in public. Also, we and our daughter had visited waterfalls as tourists in the Pocono Mountains. Obviously, all of these things—music, water, the Poconos, New York, love--converged in my psyche and demanded an outlet!
2. Grace changes so much throughout the book, did you have it all planned or did some things develop during the writing process?
Early on, I had a good sense of Grace’s challenges and how she needed to grow and change. I had about three-quarters of the story outlined, but many new ideas and realizations came to me as the writing progressed.
3. I loved the musical aspect of the book and I have listened to all of the songs listed at the end of the book whilst reading! Does music play an important role for you when you are actively writing?
I don’t usually listen to music when sitting at the computer writing. I need silence in order to think! However, while I was writing Grace Grows, I listened to music nonstop during my 30-minute daily drives to and from work. Many, many ideas for the story and snippets of dialogue occurred to me then. I kept a notepad and pen on the passenger seat so that I could pull over and write them down immediately.
Music has been hugely important to me all my life, though I never learned to read music or play an instrument. I sometimes wonder if music might have become my creative outlet, if I’d developed those abilities.
4. As I am a little bit nosy, can you describe a typical writing day?
Over the years I’ve done much of my writing while also working full-time. I wrote Grace Grows whenever I could fit it in, usually on the weekends and for a few hours after work each day. My husband helped by making dinner a lot of the time, so I could sit at my desk and focus and be productive.
5. Grace Grows is a great book and I really enjoyed your writing style. Are you working on anything at the moment that you can tell us about?
Thank you so much! I am currently revising another novel, very different than Grace Grows. It’s a love story, too, but set in south Louisiana, in an antebellum house with ghosts and other kinds of history and mystery. And I also have started writing a sort of “spin-off” of Grace Grows, a novel about Tyler Wilkie’s beautiful, wild twin sister, Beck.