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The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton Review

January 10, 2019

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The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton Review

This debut novel is the inspiring story of Grace Atherton, a violin and cello maker who runs her own instrument shop. When her relationship with her long-term boyfriend David is put in jeopardy, she’s forced to confront the reality of her future – and the traumas of her past.

Grace was once a proficient cello player herself, but she hasn’t played in front of anyone else for decades. After the death of her parents, she bought her shop, and runs it with the help of teenager Nadia. One of her best customers is Mr Williams, an octogenarian who has recently asked Grace to restore a vintage violin. Grace’s biggest ambition is to go to the Triennale, the violin-making festival in Cremona, Italy, and so she’s creating a special cello to enter into the competition.

What sets this book apart from other novels is the complex character of Grace herself – she can be both arrogant and naïve, selfish and self-effacing, but she always has time for her friends.

For the past eight years, Grace has been having an affair with David, a married man who lives in Strasbourg, France. David has promised to leave his wife and start a family with Grace, just as soon as his children have grown up. For now, they snatch time together in Paris, a weekend at a time. But this time, David is involved with the rescue of a young woman from the tracks at a railway station in Paris, and the incident goes viral. With people on social media searching for the elusive hero, will David and Grace’s affair be exposed?

The threat to Grace and David’s relationship reveals deeper problems between them, and Grace starts to feel that her life is spinning out of control. She realises that she has to face a terrible period in her life, when she was an esteemed music school, in order to look to the future. But, with the help of Nadia and Mr Williams, will she be able to take her specially made cello the Triennale?

What sets this book apart from other novels is the complex character of Grace herself – she can be both arrogant and naïve, selfish and self-effacing, but she always has time for her friends. The portrayal of a friendship between three people of such different ages – Grace, Nadia and Mr Williams – is original and memorable, and the way the novel tackles abuse of power reflects the #MeToo movement of today. It’s an entertaining and uplifting read, with a deeper message about friendship and authority.

Written by Ruth, Marketing

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