Reaching from late 19th-century Cumbria to the present, this elegiac novel celebrates two spirited women: Grace, a farm labourer's daughter who fatefully followed her heart, and Mary, the child she was forced to give up. Unsung heroines according to Mary's son who, as his elderly mother's mind begins to fail, lovingly recreates their lives and the vanished country of their pasts, linking three generations in a chain of enduring love, loss and courage.
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Grace and Mary
This book has beautiful pathos, and yet is joyous, compelling and inspiring. Melvyn Bragg's use of language immerses the reader in the stark black and white landscape of moral judgements made with bias and narrow-mindedness, whilst painting a brightly coloured canvas of the lives of these two wonderfully courageous women; all observed and explored through the eyes and curiousity of their grandson and son, John. It is beautiful, a work of art, deeply healing, loving and yet cooled by the chill wind of unspoken grief, sadness and despair that can tear loved ones apart and prevent generations from being together.
The characters are compelling as John scrabbles to fit the jigsaw pieces of his mother and grandmother's lives together before it is too late and he loses his beloved mother to the ravages of Alzheimer's.
A modern classic... a joy to read. i highly recommend this book.