cover image Grace After Henry

Grace After Henry

Eithne Shortall. Putnam, $16 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-53786-1

In Shortall’s insightful contemporary novel of loss and grief, a freak bicycle accident pulls the rug out from under Dublin chef Grace McDonnell’s love life. Grace and fiancé Henry are ready to buy a home of their own, but when he fails to show up for a house tour, Grace’s first reaction is anger. Upon learning that he’s been killed in his rush to meet her, the depth of her love is poignantly mirrored in the scale of her grief. She spends weeks in a mourner’s stupor that lingers even after she moves into their dream home. She’s only fully roused to consciousness by a tradesman, Andy, who’s come to fix her boiler. In what might be a dream come true, Andy is a perfect replica of Henry—except for the Australian accent. A friendship that could become love ensues as Grace grapples with a flood of conflicting emotions. Shortall’s thought-provoking potentialities combined with her perceptive characterizations are certain to keep Grace and Andy in the reader’s mind for a long time. Agent: Liz Parker, Verve Talent & Literary. (Mar.)