Cover image for Grace notes
Grace notes
Allen, Charlotte Vale, 1941-
Publication Information:
Don Mills, Ont. : MIRA, [2002]

Physical Description:
234 pages ; 25 cm
Early in her marriage, Grace Loring became the victim of her husband's unpredictable rages. Taking her infant daughter, Grace fled to the safety of her brother Gus's home in Vermont. Now, Grace is a successful author with her own web site. Accustomed to abused women writing to ask for advice, Grace is contacted by a troubled young woman named Stephanie Baine. When Stephanie's e-mails abruptly stop, Grace fears the worst. Then the e-mails resume, and Grace learns that everything she believed about Stephanie may not be true.
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New York Times bestselling author Vale Allen explores deeply felt emotions and real-life drama in her latest original novel.

Author Notes

Charlotte Vale Allen was born in Toronto, Canada, on January 19, 1941. She spent several years in England, where she worked as a singer and actress. After returning to Canada for a short time, she immigrated to the United States in 1966.

Allen began writing in 1970 and sold her first novel, Love Life, in 1974. Her 36 novels have sold seven million copies, most of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. In her novels, Allen attempts to offer optimism and insight on many issues women face. In her most celebrated work, an autobiography titled Daddy's Girl and published in 1980, Allen relates her experience as an abused child. She was listed as one of the 100 most borrowed authors in the United Kingdom by the British Public Library system in 1990. Other titles include Somebody's Baby and Claudia's Shadow.

A full-time writer since 1976, Allen also pursues interests in photography, cooking, and needlework.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Allen, the popular author of several works of contemporary fiction that often deal with incest, abuse, or other awful human behaviors, may be most familiar to readers for her book Daddy's Girl (1980), which detailed her own childhood and the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Here Allen tells the story of Grace Loring, a onetime victim of spousal abuse who is now a successful novelist. Despite still being haunted by her experiences, Grace often provides advice and counsel to those of her fans suffering domestic violence. She soon begins a personal correspondence via e-mail with a young woman who is suffering horrifying acts of abuse from her husband, which she describes to Grace in graphic detail. When the woman mysteriously stops writing, Grace fears the worst and begins an investigation that unearths more questions than answers. Despite its serious subject, Allen has written a gripping and diversionary read. Fans will enjoy the surprising plot twists and turns. --Kathleen Hughes

Publisher's Weekly Review

Answering e-mail leads to danger for bestselling author Grace Loring in bestselling author Allen's 36th novel. Grace's autobiography, Hit or Miss, recounts her experience as a battered wife; she takes her infant daughter and seeks refuge from an abusive husband in the Vermont home of her brother, Gus, where she pursues a career writing and lecturing about abuse. Her work attracts many fans, including women in need of help. When she receives an e-mail from Stephanie Baine, whose abusive marriage and neglectful parents remind Grace of her own, she begins an e-mail dialogue, encouraging Stephanie to talk through her problems and confront them. Then trouble finds Grace as Stephanie's marriage ends in bloodshed, with Grace's e-mails key evidence for the trial. Worse, Stephanie may not be what she had claimed. Allen lays out her narrative in workmanlike prose, highlighted by touching family moments featuring Grace's daughter, Nicky, and ailing brother, Gus though stock secondary characters do little to enhance the story. Writing under the name of Bette Davis's character in Now, Voyager, Allen (Daddy's Girl, Parting Gifts, etc.) has long favored smart women who don't catch on as fast as the audience, strong women who struggle against denial, neglect, fear, anger and frustration. This novel boasts that kind of heroine, but the tale loses power toward the end as plot twists meant to increase dramatic intensity strain credibility. National advertising; author tour. (May) Forecast: With Allen's own experience as a victim of abuse (detailed in her autobiography, Daddy's Girl), and with an author tour scheduled for mid-April, to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness month, expect plenty of media attention. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved