Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review – “The Mystery of Grace” by Charles de Lint

Three years after his last major adult novel, Charles de Lint returns with a new tale of magic, loss, and redemption, his first book set in the Southwest. Centered on a remarkable female pro¬tagonist and entirely self-contained, this is modern contemporary fantasy as invented and pioneered by de Lint himself.

Altagracia—her friends call her Grace—has a tattoo of Nuestra Senora de Altagracia on her shoulder; she's got a Ford Motor Company tattoo running down her leg; and she has grease worked so deep into her hands that it'll never wash out.

Grace works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. A few blocks around her small apartment building is all her world—from the grocery store where she buys beans, tamales, and cigarettes to the library, the little record shop, and the Solona Music Hall. Which is where she meets John Burns, just two weeks too late.

Grace and John fall for one another, and that would be wonderful, except that they're both haunted by unfinished business. Before their re¬lationship can be resolved, they're both going to have to learn things they don't know about the world of the living and the world beyond. About why it's necessary to let some things go.
Charles de Lint has been writing the archetype of contemporary urban fantasy for twenty five plus years, embodied by over 65 books. You couldn’t find a finer introduction to his writing then The Mystery of Grace. It is a love story, a ghost story, a supernatural mystery and above all a beautiful, heart-wrenching tale of passion and faith.

Grace is such a vividly rendered character that within chapters you feel you have known her forever. De Lint lovingly shows us Grace’s life, introduces her friends, her hopes, her dreams.
“Tattoos,” Abuelo once said’ “are the stories in your heart, written on your skin.”
And then yanks it all away in a senseless death. Be prepared to have your heart squeezed and the emotions run high as you follow Graces’ journey of life after death where there is more than one mystery to be solved and answers to be found.

From her new mysterious plane of existence Grace is able to return the world of the living twice each year for a day. On her very first visit she falls deeply in love with John. The nature of the afterlife microcosm in which Grace and its many residents find themselves forms just one of the many mysteries Grace must solve and resolve to continue with her journey.
“It’s such an astonishing thing, isn’t it?” Nina went on. “To have irrefutable proof that our spirits-our souls-are more than just words.”
De Lint is a master at illustrating the purity of spirit and the extraordinary humanity that may lie within the simplest or most ordinary of us as exemplified in The Mystery of Grace. De Lint leaves us with questions and the sense of unknown possibilities. I was both sad and happy for Grace. I was sad that her journey came to an end but happy for sharing the experience. You will be too.


Doherty, Tom Associates/TOR
Published: March 2009
ISBN #: 9780765317568
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 269

Read an excerpt of Chapter 1

Partial Bibliography:

The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint


  1. I have been hearing about Charles de Lint for years. Now from your review, I really must read this book.
    Great that a male author can have a great combo of romance, magic, and suspense.

  2. Great review, Doug!

    I've only read Little Grrl Lost (YA) by Charles De Lint, but have had Wolf Moon and Memory & Dream on my tbb list forever. My husband was just asking about Charles DeLint last night (he had seen his name at the back of a Tor book.) I'll send him over to read what you have to say!

    Will be adding this one to the list, too! :-)

  3. I'm a Charles de Lint fangirl. :) I loved THE MYSTERY OF GRACE. It was thought-provoking, touching, and compelling.

  4. KB most of de Lint's books contain those elements. Not only does he write about the magic in people's lives - most of his books are pretty magical.

    Renee I read Little Grrl Lost. A lovely YA story. Hard for me to pick a favourite de Lint as I probably have 40 of his books, but I particularly like the stories set in his fictional city of Newford.

    Karen well that makes me a fanboy then too :) Your comments are dead on. This one was an emotional roller coaster.

  5. I love CdL and just got this book. Can't wait to read it!

  6. Texas Red maybe we need to form a club :) Maybe you'll do a review too.

  7. I haven't read de Lint yet. But I've heard such great things about him and this book especially. Now I can add your review to that growing list, I'll have to go pick up a copy.

  8. I plan on reading a book of short stories that I own first but I'd like to eventually read this one. It sounds like a very good story.

  9. Mishel this a great book and shows his strength as a writer. You will also find that it is a bit of a departure from some of his other work. You could pretty much start with any title :)

    If you get a chance to read a de Lint story Lady_Tink I'd love to here what you think.

  10. I agree that it's a bit of a departure - and a powerful one. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  11. Darla I just loved it. Actually can't think of a de Lint book I haven't liked.

  12. ¤ Wow, you really made this book sound great! I actually think I might add it to my summer reading! ^_^ ¤


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