A Poignant Family Story: Review of When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

A Poignant Family Story: Review of When Grace Went Away by Meredith Appleyard

Meredith Appleyard takes us deep into the lives of the Fairley Family, their grief and struggles but also their hope and unbreakable bonds. When Grace Went Away will have you reflecting on your own family and what role you play. You might also find yourself placing that long overdue call to your mum halfway through…

The Fairley Family of Miners Ridge, a small South Australian farming community, have been in turmoil for many years. Grace, the eldest of four children has been the link between her mother Sarah – who left eight years before – and her father Doug and siblings Tim and Faith. The family deteriorated not long after the death of Luke the youngest child.

Doug emotionally cut himself off from Sarah but when she left, all but Grace blamed her for abandoning them. Grace has supported her mother and always tried to keep ties between family members smooth but when she decides to take a promotion in the London office of the company she works for, she has to accept that she can’t continue to control things.

When Grace leaves, Sarah dedicates all her days to looking after her elderly mother but when she dies there is little for her to do but dwell on the mistakes she has made and what she has lost. Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live. Trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world…

All of this is playing out while Grace is on the other side of the world. Has she made the right decision to relocate and is it wise to be starting a long-distance relationship with her brother’s friend, who is six years younger?

Told from the viewpoints of Sarah and Grace, When Grace Went Away is an enthralling read. You can’t help but be swept up in this family saga and hope they can heal. There are many poignant moments when the individual family members stories start to unravel.

It’s clear that Australian author Meredith Appleyard is familiar with the small-town setting – she lives in the Clare Valley, a wine-growing region of South Australia, and her experience as a registered nurse and midwife who has practised in both country health settings and in London has been put to good use. In this new offering she really hits her stride and I’ll be seeking out her previous books asap.

This is definitely one to set aside some time for, grab a tea or coffee and settle in for a glorious read that will stay with you long after the last page.

 

 

Reviews

Try a Sample Chapter From Meredith Appleyard's When Grace Went Away

Review | Extract

1 June 2020

Try a Sample Chapter From Meredith Appleyard's When Grace Went Away

    When Grace Went Away Author, Meredith Appleyard, on Writing for the Joy of it

    Review | Author Related

    27 May 2020

    When Grace Went Away Author, Meredith Appleyard, on Writing for the Joy of it

      Synopsis

      Classic, women-centred fiction, a complex, multi-layered story about family and community, from the author of the warmly received Home at Last.'Functionally dysfunctional.' That's how financial analyst Grace Fairley describes her family in the small South Australian farming community of Miners Ridge - a family fractured by tragedy and kept that way by anger, resentment and petty jealousies. As the eldest sibling, Grace tries to keep the family in touch, but now she's accepted a promotion to the London office. Time-zones and an enormous workload mean she's forced to take a step back, although she finds time to stay in contact with Miners Ridge landscape gardener Aaron Halliday.Sarah Fairley, Grace's mother, fled Miners Ridge and her embittered husband eight years ago. Now, in the absence of Grace, she finds herself pulled back to the small town where her estranged children and grandchildren live. Drawn into the local community, and trying to rebuild family relationships, she uncovers a long-kept secret that could change her world ...Can Grace, Sarah and their family find a way to heal? Who will have the courage to make the first move?
      Meredith Appleyard
      About the author

      Meredith Appleyard

      Meredith Appleyard lives in the Clare Valley wine-growing region of South Australia. As a registered nurse and midwife she practised in a wide range of country health settings, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service. She has been an agency nurse in London and a volunteer in Vietnam. When a friend challenged Meredith to do what she'd always wanted to do – write a novel – she saved up, took time off work, sat down at the computer and wrote her first novel. Realising after the first rejection letter she needed to learn more about the craft of writing, she attended workshops, joined a writers' group and successfully completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts in Professional Writing with the Adelaide Centre for Arts. Meredith lives with her husband and border collie Lily, and when she's not writing she's reading!

      Books by Meredith Appleyard

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