Grace is a fiction novel that explores topics of particular import in a South African context, such as gender-based violence, the patriarchy, and loss. The author, Barbara Boswell, uses her experiences growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s to paint a realistic picture of the country’s post-Apartheid condition. The novel, set in a Cape Town township in the 1980s, follows a girl named Grace and her dysfunctional family as they navigate their brutally complex relationships –particularly her downtrodden mother and abusive father. She is, however, able to push past these obstacles and create a beautiful life for herself. The unexpected return of a childhood friend, though, reveals that she has more of her traumatic past to work-through than she had previously thought. It is a compelling read, and the author showcases the generational effects of abuse, violence and trauma with great skill. The book shows that breaking a cycle of abuse is not easy and that reinvention takes time, effort and the confrontation of one’s deepest fears and darkest memories. Grace is a great and worthwhile read for anyone who has ever needed an open discussion about
domestic-violence and its long-term effects.