I have enjoyed reading many of Katie Ffordes novels and 'Restoring Grace' is no exception. It is a lighthearted romance and has all the elements of a modern fairy tale: a huge, empty, old house left to the heroine by her godmother, an evil older sister and a stepdaughter.
I like Ffordes novels, they are somehow comforting, much in the same way that old-fashioned cozy mysteries are, to know how she writes and how the story will end. Nothing too terrible ever happens, and there is always a happy ending. I don't know about you, but I can't cope with abrupt or sad endings any more. I like to know everything will be alright and to see all the loose ends tied up.
Ffordes leading ladies are always fiesty and resourceful and are up to a challenge, whatever it might be. Restoring Grace fits the pattern.
The story develops around an old Georgian mansion - Luckham House - left to Grace by her godmother. However, unless a large sum of money can be found to sort out the dry rot, this beautiful house will disintegrate around her.
At the heart of the book is the a friendship that develops between recently divorced Grace (ex-hubby Edward has taken all the furniture), and the house's lodger, Ellie Summers who is newly pregnant with her irresponsible boyfriend's child. Ellie's boyfriend, Rick, wants her to bring to an end her recently discovered pregnancy and her heartless parents, won't give her a home when she leaves Rick.
Together, the two women and Grace's ex-husband's troubled teenage daughter, Demi, form an unlikely family in the rundown mansion. On their own they are uncertain and lack confidence. However bad divorces, unplanned pregnancies, greedy relatives and even dry rot, all lose their power to ruin lives, when faced together by these women.
The story also includes intrigue associated with mysterious hidden paintings and without giving anything away, a covert romance is added to the mix. Suitable men swiftly present themselves - stalwart Irish property-developer Flynn Cormack for Grace, and suave picture-restorer Randolph Frazier for Ellie, who turns up during the search for an advisor to help Grace evaluate the two old painted panels recently found. There are enough plot entanglements to keep the reader happily occupied with pleasant anticipation and just the right amount of tension.
It is a funny, predictable yet satisfying story, with an ending worthy of a fine murder mystery. It's just like Miss Marple, when all the characters get together in one room and the loose ends of the story are all wrapped up with a wonderful round of happily ever afters.
Katie Ffiorde does have somewhat of a regular format, but this is a great read for those true romantics who lilke a happy ending. Anything can be solved with a huge dollop of money and a lot of LOVE!!!
Ellie Summers' life is unravelling: finding herself pregnant - and her sexy but idle boyfriend Rick less than enthusiastic about parenthood - she needs a plan. Fast. Grace Soudley's life is also coming apart at the seams - her only security is the beautiful yet crumbling old house she was left by her godmother. But unless she can find a fortune, Luckenham House will disintegrate around her. When Ellie and Grace meet, the two very different women find they can help each other out. Ellie needs a place to stay; Grace needs a lodger. Both of them need a friend. But then, the disconcertingly engaging Flynn Cormack arrives on the scene, apparently determined to help. And when Grace discovers some beautiful painted panels hidden behind the tattered dining-room curtains, the whole business of restoration starts to get serious.