I had seen Valley of Grace on bookshop shelves around town and was drawn to its wispy, dreamy cover of French terrace houses. I then heard the author, Marion Halligan, speak on the ABC Radio National Book Show program and I decided to give this one a go based on this interview and the cover - two of the factors I often take into account when deciding whether or not to read a book. My friend Tamara has also read and reviewed this one and her review tempted me even further to see what this book was all about.
Valley of Grace is a series of interconnected short stories - connected through the characters and their various relationships and contacts with each other, and the setting of a particular area of Paris and surrounding suburbs.
The characters are also connected by their longings for certain things in their life - children, security, love and a sense of family being some of the main themes explored.
I found the writing direct and clear while at the same time very lyrical. I enjoyed the setting of the stories and even though I have never visited Paris (as yet!) I felt that I had a vivid picture of where these stories were taking place. I particularly enjoyed the scenes in the antiquarian bookshop - I want to go there!
I would recommend this book if you enjoy reading about characters inner lives - their thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears. I loved this one and would love to see a sequel developed as well so I could follow the characters some more.