Wherever Grace is Needed by Elizabeth Bass is a book just about anyone can relate to. We’ve all known feelings of disconnectedness, loss, failure, hope, heartbreak, helplessness, grief and joy. Bass manages to convey all these feelings in her second novel.
I love it when a book has a totally appropriate title and this one does—twice over. When Grace Oliver leaves Portland, Ore. for Austin, Texas, to help her father, Lou, recuperate from a traffic accident, she only plans to stay a couple of weeks. After all, she has a thriving music store and loyal clientele. However, it soon becomes apparent that Lou is dealing with more than a broken leg. He’s in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Grace postpones leaving again and again which does not sit well with her boyfriend back in Portland.
As Grace fills in wherever she is needed, she becomes attached to the neighbor family, reeling from a double tragedy. Jordan, 16, feels she is to blame that her twin sister and her mother were killed in a traffic accident. As she tries to cope with the tragedy, the rest of her family plugs along mired in their own grief. Jordan will need all the grace she can receive to become a healthy teen once again. It is Grace who eventually helps the family find healing, while discovering her true self.
There are several beautiful moments in this novel and a few funny ones. When Grace’s boyfriend becomes fed up with minding Grace’s elderly cats and her music store, he ships the cats from Portland to Austin by special courier. Apparently he’s better equipped to deal with music store customers than cats.
While I liked most of the characters, I especially loved Grace and Jordan. Grace, who never felt as though she fit in as a child, finally finds her way into the family’s good graces. Jordan, who is hurt and angry, learns that grace is the most beautiful gift of all.
A good book to savor and then pass on to a friend.