Thursday 10 January 2019


The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton by Anstey Harris

Happy New Year everyone! My posting has been very sporadic in the latter half of 2018 and there's only so long I can blame a new job (which I'm now nearly six months into, so it's hardly new any longer). It's time to get my blogging mojo back, and what better way to do it than with the book I read last year and rated as the debut novel of 2019? The wonderful team at Simon & Schuster even included my quote in the final hardback edition of this gorgeous novel, which I'm very proud of.

Grace Atherton has a love/hate relationship with music as she was a child prodigy who never quite made it. She's now hiding her talents at the back of the shop where she fixes broken instruments and even creates her own – though they're just for her and not for anyone else to see. Grace is in a steady relationship and seems content with life, but when an unexpected event breaks through her comfort she's forced to once and for all face the demons of her past...

There is a wonderful musicality to The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton that reminded me in some ways of The Chimes by Anna Smaill, even though it's a wholly different novel otherwise. Grace's intimate connection to her instruments and music seeps onto the pages even in those long lonely moments where she's disconnected from her passion, lost in a life that may seem adequate on the surface but is lacking something – and she can never be truly content until she finds this missing piece.

While at first we as readers look at the obvious, her love life, as that missing ingredient it doesn't take long to uncover that there is far more to it for Grace and romance cannot mend what's broken inside of her. I loved that this book didn't turn into yet another novel where happiness depends on a partner – which the Parisian cover did make me assume for a little while – it's far more substantial than that. That shifting nuance was welcome; subtly and beautifully told by author Anstey Harris. 

Her debut novel is a beautiful exploration of the power of music through the eyes of not just titular character Grace who goes on an empowering journey throughout this novel, but also a wonderful array of other characters she surrounds herself with. While this is first and foremost Grace's story, of course, you cannot help but fall absolutely in love with the feisty Nadia and the charming Mr. Williams along the way too.

With a melodious writing, delightfully quirky characters, and a real heart, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is THE debut novel of 2019. I honestly cannot recommend this one enough, do yourself a favour and add this literary treat to your online or physical basket next time you hit up a bookshop. You won't regret it.

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton
is published today by Simon & Schuster and you can get your copy now from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

🎵 Listening to: 5SOS – Young Blood

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