Review: Shades of Grace by Barbara Delinsky


Shades of Grace
by Barbara Delinsky
Paperback, 448 pages
Published April 7th 2009

officialsynopGrace Dorian is The Confidante, America’s favorite advice columnist. Her wisdom has helped to guide two generations—including her daughter, Francine, and granddaughter, Sophie, who manage the vast Dorian empire and oversee the thousand details of Grace’s world.

But a national treasure is losing her brilliance. Her once razor-sharp mind is showing strain; her columns have begun to wander. Concerned about Grace’s health and future, Francine must step in to fill her legendary mother’s shoes and somehow also live her own life, which now suddenly includes her confusing feelings for Grace’s handsome doctor and new worries about tempestuous Sophie, who needs more guidance than Grace’s public.


Famous advice columnist and dedicated matriarch Grace Dorian didn’t expect the limelight to slowly go dim on her. She was the brains in her empire, she was The Confidante, and now she’s suffering mentally as the years passed by. Slowly, Alzheimer’s Disease was catching up on her. And slowly, she deteriorated.

Her daughter, Francine, slowly realized what was happening to her and she worried. Francine who never minded to rest on her mother’s laurels soon found herself torn between living the life she had always wanted or living the life that her mother started. True, she could also do columns and make public appearances for Grace but at the end of the day, she thought, was this really what she wanted? And how about that dashing doctor who attended to her mom? David Marcoux sure had a lot of fire going on with him. Should she fight fire with fire and put a stop to her burning desires?

Sophie, Francine’s daughter and a bit of a wild child was another concern. She couldn’t believe she’d be doing “adult” things at her young age. She looked up to her grandmother and couldn’t fathom the world the older woman was living in. She knew nothing about dementia and within days, she was slowly seeing what it did to her family.

The Confidant wanted to write her autobiography, but because of her age and diminishing memory, she had a hard time remembering things and events. A tough job for Robin, the ghost writer, as she realized she would be grasping at straws and chasing the truth.

Three generations of Dorian women, three individually unique characters, one story of love, commitment, determination and acceptance.

I don’t have any experience with people suffering from Alzheimer’s but I’ve watched a lot of shows/movies about it, so I had an idea how it affects a family. A disease like this is actually one of my fears. Truth to be told, when I was young, I was often complimented by my teachers / professors for my sharp mind or long-term memory. I could remember even the minute details and history dates.

But as years went by, I could feel my brain already malfunctioning. Suddenly, there are a lot of things I forget, memories, simple events and dates. I want to blame aging for my memory gap. After watching a lot of films with amnesiac and ornery characters, I begin to feel scared for myself. I am extremely anxious of this disease and until now, I don’t know if I could ever accept that situation, just in case.

Barbara Delinsky had written a powerful novel that made me think of my own future. I was absorbed in my own world while reading Grace’s sickness, Francine’s struggles and Sophie’s anxiety. The way their stories unfolded was something to look forward to. I have read a number of paperbacks by Delinsky and have always ended loving them. This one is definitely one of her page-turners.

My Rating:



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