Grace Ayre and her mother have just moved from London to the small town of Stonewell. She has the normal troubles; learning a new place, making new friends, coping with her mother’s frequent work absences. And then there is the dark figure she keeps glimpsing in the local cemetery adjacent to her new house, the feeling of being watched and the strange recurring dreams…
As the story begins, Grace is struggling with feelings of loneliness, thanks to the move and the events that precipitated it. Her main refuge is the local library and there she meets Mia, who rapidly fills the role of best friend and local guide. When Mia takes Grace to a friend’s party, the supporting cast begins to expand and Grace’s life becomes more confusing.
Although there are hints early on, Grace slowly develops its paranormal themes. Most of the first half of the book is given over to exploring Grace’s life and proceeds at a steady pace. When the supernatural becomes prevalent, everything speeds up towards a deadly finale.
Written in the first person (except for a short prologue), we really get inside Grace’s head and learn about her as a character. She has typical teenage insecurities, as well as a roller coaster emotional state when she becomes the attention of two young men. Her characterization rings true to life and makes her both compelling and sympathetic. Her confusion as things around her get progressively stranger and more dangerous is very well captured.
The other characters are explored a little less and even left deliberately mysterious but remain interesting. By the end, some of each of their backstories are revealed but mainly just snippets. Hopefully book 2 (coming soon) will give us more answers.
There’s a lot to like about Grace, both the book and the character. It’s very well written and draws you in. I especially liked some of the twists, leading you to question your expectations. I’m certainly looking forward to the sequel