Grace After Henry by Eithne Shortall @eithneshortall @CorvusBooks #Review #GraceAfterHenry

Grace After Henry was published by Corvus Books on 3rd May 2018. I purchased a copy a while back and am so glad that I finally got around to reading it...

Winner of The Big Book Awards: The Best Page Turners, 2018 

Shortlisted for the Popular Fiction Book of the Year: The Irish Book Awards, 2018

An Irish Independent Book of the year, 2018

Grace sees her boyfriend Henry everywhere. In the supermarket, on the street, at the graveyard. 

Only Henry is dead. He died two months earlier, leaving a huge hole in Grace's life and in her heart. But then Henry turns up to fix the boiler one evening, and Grace can't decide if she's hallucinating or has suddenly developed psychic powers. Grace isn't going mad - the man in front of her is not Henry at all, but someone else who looks uncannily like him. The hole in Grace's heart grows ever larger.

Grace becomes captivated by this stranger, Andy - to her, he is Henry, and yet he is not. Reminded of everything she once had, can Grace recreate that lost love with Andy, resurrecting Henry in the process, or does loving Andy mean letting go of Henry?

My Thoughts:

Grace After Henry was a story that came along, swept me up and carried me along for the ride at a time when I was not reading very much at all. For that I am grateful, it brought back my joy of reading and made me laugh.

Poignant and moving, from the blurb you would be forgiven for thinking that this book is one big blub-fest but that sentiment is far from the truth as a whole host of characters are slowly unveiled to the reader. Characters like you and I, very real, authentic and argumentative and prone to their individual quirks. I particularly liked Grace's next door neighbour who was the proverbial noisy parker and also the three men at the cemetery who formed part of the tea club.

We enter the story of Grace and Henry with Grace at her lowest. She is sleeping under a pile of coats, consumed by a grief that seems inescapable. All of her plans set aside. Really this should read as 'their' plans because everything Grace did she did for, or with Henry and a tragic accident alters the path set out. Grace cannot see a way to move forward, her life was not meant to be like this. Grace gets chatting to a neighbour as she needs to get some work done in the house that was meant for her and Henry. The handyman that comes upon recommendation arrives and looks like Henry and could be Henry apart from the fact that Andy is Australian and Henry is dead.

Grace After Henry is so much more than a tale of grief. It is one of love and loss and how moving on doesn't diminish the love that you had for that person.

Eithne Shortall writes with a warmth and humour that had me laughing at the same time a tear rolled down my cheek. This story was charming, captivating, entirely absorbing and never twee. OK, yes it was a little or a lot predictable in places but I was willing to overlook that for it didn't matter to me a jot.

I would definitely recommend this and am going to make a point of reading the authors other two books.

About the Author:
Eithne Shortall studied journalism at Dublin City University and has lived in London, France and America. Now based in Dublin, she is chief arts writer for the Sunday Times Ireland. Her debut novel, Love in Row 27, published in 2017, was a major Irish bestseller, and her second novel, Grace After Henry, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and won Best Page Turner at the UK's Big Book Awards. Three Little Truths was published in 2019. 

You can find out more on her website:

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