Summary and book reviews of The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

The Saving Graces

By Patricia Gaffney

The Saving Graces
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1999,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2000,
    544 pages.

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Book Summary

Friendship sustains and enriches women's lives in ways no romantic or family relationship ever can. A source of solace, support, and nourishment, it is a tie that powerfully connects woman to woman in unforgettable, joyous, sometimes painful ways. In this wonderfully warm, humorous, and moving novel, Patricia Gaffney paints a rich portrait of this delicate yet resilient bond through the lives of four charming. vividly real women.

For ten years, Emma, Rudy, Lee and Isabel have shared a deep affection that has helped them deal with husbands, lovers, careers, children--the ebb and flow of expectations and disappointments common to us all. Calling themselves the Saving Graces, the quartet is united by understanding, honesty, and acceptance an ephemeral connection that has grown stronger as the years go by . . .

Emma, a sharp-tongued. soft-hearted skeptic, doesn't believe in love - until she meets the one man she can't have. For her, the Saving Graces are fall-breakers extraordinaire. She believes that "bad news doesn't hurt as much if you hear it in good company."

A beauty with an extraordinary gift for love and a shaky, dysfunctional past, Rudy is desperately trying to hold on to her deeply troubled marriage. She's not sure where she'd be without the Saving Graces. "I don't know why my friends bother with me, I'm so high-maintenance. I would run if I saw me coming. But they're always so patient and supportive."

Lee, whom they all are sure is "the normal one," longs for a baby. But her overwhelming desire for motherhood threatens to destroy an idyllic marriage. The Saving Graces are the sounding board on which she unburdens her hopes and fears. "I know I'm consumed by our infertility, and that's nor fair to Henry . . . . He says I blame everything that's wrong with my whole life, on the fact that we can't have children. It's true, I know. I'm driving him away."

Isabel, the oldest, is a survivor whose wisdom and strength were forged by the worst trials life can offer. Divorced and free, she's falling for her single, attractive neighbor--a man she's sure must be gay. Hers is the guiding insight that propels and grounds the Saving Graces. "We're all productive, tolerably sane, functioning adults, we Graces, with no more emotional baggage - well, except for Rudy - than you would expect in a random sampling of aging yuppie women. And yet our childhoods were disasters. Occasionally we four play the intriguing `What keeps us together?' game, and the fact that we all survived our childhoods is mentioned early and often."

Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love, loyalty, and courage to the ultimate test. Captivating from first page to last, this mesmerizing story illuminates the emotional links that define and join us as women. While men, jobs, and crises may come and go, nothing lasts like true friendship. Funny, inspirational, joyous, and oh-so-true, The Saving Graces is a novel no reader will forget - a story to be passed from friend to friend.

Emma

If half of all marriages end in divorce, how long does the average marriage last? This isn't a math problem; I'd really like to know. I bet it's less than nine and a half years. That's how long the Saving Graces have been going strong, and we're not even getting restless. We still talk, still notice things about each other, weight loss, haircuts, new boots. As far as I know, nobody's looking around for a younger, firmer member.

Truthfully, I never thought we'd last this long. I only joined because Rudy made me. The other three, Lee, Isabel, and--Joan? Joanne? She didn't last; moved to Detroit with her urologist boyfriend, and we didn't keep up--the other three didn't strike me at that first meeting as bosom buddy material, frankly. I thought Lee was bossy and Isabel was old--thirty-nine. Well, I'll be forty next year, enough said there, and Lee is bossy, but she can't help it because she's always right. She really is, and it's a tribute to her exceptional nature that we don...

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About This Book

Isabel, Emma, Rudy and Lee are four Washington, D.C. women of different ages, from very different backgrounds, who share an unbreakable bond. They've named themselves "The Saving Graces" after Grace, a mutt they accidentally hit with their car, then rescued. For ten years the women have met weekly to eat, chat, and shore each other up in the face of anything life can dish out.

As The Saving Graces begins, each woman is on the cusp of a major challenge: Emma will fall into tormented love with a married man; Rudy's controlling husband will close in on her just as she's making progress overcoming her troubled past; Lee will be unable to conceive a baby; and Isabel's cancer will relapse. It's Isabel's...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Author Blurb Michael Lee West, author of Crazy Ladies
The Saving Graces is a rich, lovely novel about women and the emotions at the center of their lives. It's also an intimate portrayal of friendships through the eyes of four unforgettable women. I hated to put it down!

Author Blurb Nora Roberts
Patricia Gaffney paints a vivid portrait of four very different women and the bonds between them. Friendship with its compassion and impatience, love with its powers and weaknesses, life with its triumphs and failures are brilliantly voiced through characters so real they might be sitting in your living room sharing a bottle of wine. Those who don't recognize themselves or their friends in The Saving Graces will wish they did. This is a jewel of a book, and every facet sparkles.

Kirkus Reviews

Strong characters... an always readable story... a great book for the beach.

Booklist

This ode to the friendships between women could easily become the northern version of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Kirkus Reviews

Strong characters... an always readable story... a great book for the beach.

Library Journal

[A] poignant story about friendship...The Saving Graces is a character-driven novel, and Gaffney has a keen sense of direction. Bring tissues.

Library Journal

[A] poignant story about friendship...The Saving Graces is a character-driven novel, and Gaffney has a keen sense of direction. Bring tissues.

Reader Reviews
Happily reading again

Loved It!
This was the first time I had picked up a book in years and I loved it. I was so engrossed in the characters, and related to them all in one way or another. Thank-you, you've got me wanting to read again. I'm onto my third book in as many weeks. I'm...   Read More

Mi-con

Book of treasure
This book consumed me... It took me in... Wonderful book, a book of never-ending treasures-- FRIENDSHIP.... I cried with it and then I was excited to flip over the pages and read on though my eyes sore... I can't miss a minute not reading it... It ...   Read More

bon-bon

,....great,....
.......great book with a great character.... I truly enjoyed reading it........... ........so touching and full of emotional scenes. I can't help but love this book........... .....fantastic......

Tara

I found this book on the shelf at the Toronto airport.....just looking for something to pass the time as I had finished reading the book I had brought with me. I thought it would be some "light" reading, fairly short and easy. Boy - was I...   Read More

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