FICTION

Grace After Henry

Shortall, Eithne. Putnam. Mar. 2019. 384p. ISBN 9780525537861. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9780525537878. F
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Irish author Shortall's American debut introduces Grace McDonnell, a smart, funny, young chef on the verge of buying a house with the love of her life, Henry Walsh. Everything changes when Henry is killed in a freak accident while hurrying to meet Grace. This is not a spoiler as the story focuses entirely on Grace after Henry. She struggles with her deep grief as she slowly reenters life by going back to work, following through on the purchase of the house, making friends with the "three wise men" at the graveyard, and watching television with her curmudgeonly neighbor. Then the unthinkable happens as Henry's heretofore unknown twin brother, Andy, knocks at the door. Andy is looking for information about the brother he never knew, and Grace is thrown as she comes to terms with the existence of someone who looks exactly like Henry yet is so clearly not the man she loved. Complications ensue as, despite Grace's best efforts, those who knew Henry come to meet Andy.
VERDICT Both funny and touching, this charming story with wonderful characters examines the nature of grief, love, friendship, and family. For fans of Jojo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos. [See Editors' Spring Picks, p. 22.]

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