Tender Graces
by Kathryn Magendie

Bell Bridge Books, 2009. ISBN 978-0-982-17562-0.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 06/29/2010

Fiction: Mainstream

Every once in a while, you come across a book whose language is so rich and vivid and whose characters are so deep and unforgettable that you simply cannot put it down. Tender Graces is that book.

Virginia Kate Carey returns to her native West Virginia upon the death of her mother and stirs up the ghosts of her past. The novel details the experiences that made her who she is today: her distant mother, her slick father, her mixed family, and the pain and problems she felt growing up and not knowing her place in the world.

Magendie's descriptions are absolutely mesmerizing. She's truly a master of language. Virginia Kate's Mee Maw's "hair wasn't hers at all, but a big poofy wig that held raindrops like sparkly diamonds." When Virginia Kate was upset, she said she "was so mad I could've spit nails and made a house with them." I wish I could be half as talented a wordsmith as Kathryn Madengie.

This story drew me in from page one and held my interest all the way through. It was a moving and emotional story. I can't wait to read the next book in her series. Give Magendie a try. You won't be disappointed.

Kathryn Magendie is an acclaimed short-story author and co-managing editor of The Rose & Thorn Literary Ezine. Tender Graces is her debut novel. Visit her website and her blog.

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