Wednesday 13 November 2019

Book review : Grace's Table - Sally Piper

Earlier in the year, I read The Geography Of Friendship by Sally Piper (click through to read my review), a book which follows three old schoolfriends, recreating the childhood trek that marked their lives in so many ways twenty years before. Grace's Table, released by Legend Press UK back in the summer, was Sally Piper's debut novel and in some ways, it reminded me of The Geography of Friendship, with the same look back at past moments, intertwined with the current events, for a gradual release of important information from the past.

Grace's Table is not a book that is big on action, but it takes the time to delve into the relationships between various family members and looks at how they came to be where they are today. The story takes place on the day of Grace's 70th birthday, when she has invited eleven members of her family and friends - three generations of her family - for a day of celebration. As we watch Grace preparing the meal along with her daughter, the currents of tension and awkwardness soon become evident, but what is their cause?

Grace repeatedly looks back over her life, detailing various feelings and events that she remembers as the day progresses, which gradually start to explain the undercurrents of resentment and hostility within her family. Her husband passed away years before and her two children find it hard to accept that she has a new "companion", as she calls him, to avoid the jealousy and anger that another choice of word (partner ? lover ?) may provoke. But Grace still harbours feelings of bitterness and resentment herself too. Memories from her past will provide the key to understanding them, with anecdotes from her life as a teenager, a young nurse then a wife and mother revealing layer upon layer of Grace's personality and personal history. 

It's easy to look at the elderly people in our own families and social circles and to forget that they had their own rich and varied lives. While we remember in clear detail those events which caused us great pain or happiness, we can easily overlook their own experiences. Grace's Table reminds us that some of those events and the feelings that they caused may still have long-lasting effects to this day.

It's an enjoyable book, which will undoubtedly appeal to mothers and grandmothers or any women of a certain age, who have their own emotion-filled pasts to contemplate. As a widow in my late forties myself, I couldn't help but smile wistfully when Grace talked of her new-found love and companionship, alongside the complicated feelings of her now grown-up children. I think we can all recognise ourselves at some point in Grace's story !

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £8.99 (currently only £3.99 on amazon - see below)

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 Aug. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1789550203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789550207
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


  1. Yes, some events of the past tend to have long repercussions. Finding love in later years could be tricky for the family to accept. But age is irrelevant, if you crave companionship. Finding happiness again in older age might be less easy, but probably as rewarding as in young years.

  2. 'It's easy to look at the elderly people in our own families and social circles and to forget that they had their own rich and varied lives.'

    What a sensitive and lovely comment, Cheryl.

  3. Sounds a beauty - thanks for a fab review


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