Full of Grace
By Leigh
Jul 1, 2007 - 11:50:16 AM

Grace Russo is a daddy's girl, and not too proud to admit it.  When her parents and Nonna retired from New Jersey to Hilton Head, Grace - albeit reluctantly - allows herself to be enticed to move to nearby Charleston.  There she meets the man of her dreams, Michael.  The two fall quickly in love and move in together.  Though committed to their relationship, Michael and Grace don't necessarily believe in marriage and are content to leave their relationship as is.  The situation suits Michael and Grace - it does not suit Grace's family.

Big Al and Connie Russo are loud, loving, boisterous, in-your-face kind of parents.  They're faithful Catholics, proud Italians, and want the best for their children - their version of 'the best'.  So naturally they do not approve of Michael for their Grace.  Not only are the two living together with no intention of marriage, but Michael is Irish.  He is also a scientist who works with stem cell research and puts more faith in science than God.  After almost a year the Russo's still haven't even met Michael, a fact which does not exclude him from their dislike, and Grace is trying to straddle the fence between good daughter and independence.


Life isn't always as black and white as it seems, however, especially when you're talking reality versus theory.  A turn of events forces the Russo family to make some unheard of changes and sets the scene for Grace to do some introspection of both her family and her belief in God.  When Grace and Michael's own lives are shockingly turned upside down, they begin to learn what it means to be part of a family, and get a miraculous lesson in the power of prayer.


FULL OF GRACE is an ideal summer read, a sort of coming-of-age tale for a grown woman.  Grace is a smart, competent businesswoman, who still feels like a little girl when faced with her parent's disapproval, and this story shows how she overcomes that.  I enjoyed that her relationship with her family is not written as a clear-cut case of an adult child disagreeing with her parent's view and then suddenly waking up one day to realize that they were right all along.  It is more a story of a family growing and adapting to life together after having been frozen in the same roles for years.  Humor, light romance, family discord and a strong sense of faith combine to make this a wonderful novel to spend some beach time with.




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