Published: 19 January 2023
Author: Fran Littlewood
Published by: Michael Joseph
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 368 pages
Reading dates: 16-21 December 2022
‘Sometimes I have so much rage it scares me . . .’
Grace Adams is one bad day away from saving her life.
One hot summer day, stuck in traffic on her way to pick up the cake for her daughter’s sixteenth birthday party, Grace Adams snaps.
She doesn’t scream or break something or cry. She simply abandons her car and walks away.
But not from her life – towards it. To the daughter who won’t live with her anymore and has banned her from the party. To the husband divorcing her. Towards the terrible thing that has blown their family apart . . .
Today she’ll show her daughter that no matter how far we fall we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams was amazing. Her husband and daughter once thought so. They and the world might have forgotten.
But Grace is about to remind them . . .
Grace is a woman in her mid 40’s and as the book begins she has abandoned her car in the middle of a traffic jam. She desperately needs to collect a cake for her daughter’s 16th birthday party and to get it to her and the traffic jam is the final straw.
The books them follows several timelines – 4 months ago we find out Grace is separated from her husband Ben and living alone with her 15 year old daughter Lotte who she discovers is bunking off school and isn’t really sure how to handle this rebellious daughter who is keeping secrets from her, who merely sees Grace as an annoyance.
In 2002 Grace, a talented linguist has entered a language competition where she meets Ben. When Grace wins the prize of a weekend away, she impulsively asks Ben to come with her. They loose touch after that weekend and Grace becomes a TV star using her language skills but when she starts putting on weight and feeling sick, she discovers she is pregnant and the two get together, have Lotte and get married. Through the course of Grace’s epic adventure to get the cake we hear more about Lotte’s problems and what happened in her marriage.
It is so good to read about a character that is my age and I identified with Grace a lot. Grace is going through perimenopause and I don’t think I’ve ever read about a character with menopausal symptoms before. I identified with her feeling out of touch with TikTok and the language teenagers use to talk to each other, feeling cut out of her daughter’s life. I felt Grace’s desperation as she makes her journey – and during this journey as we find out the reasons for her estrangement from her daughter and why she has moved out to live with her dad and also why Grace split up from Ben.
There is so much to discover in Amazing Grace Adams and it is a perfectly paced character driven novel which is funny at times but also heart-breaking in equal measure. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the plucky, brave and funny Grace – a brilliant debut and my final 5 star read of 2022.
Many thanks to Eloise and Jen from Michael Joseph for the proof copy and fan!.
About the author
Fran Littlewood has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She was taught by Andrew Motion and passed with distinction. Before that she worked as a journalist, including a stint at The Times. She lives in north London with her husband and their three girls. AMAZING GRACE ADAMS is her debut novel.