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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prolific Canadian fantasist de Lint, recently focused on YA (Dingo), returns to adult fiction with a supernatural love story set in the American Southwest and an odd afterlife. Following her death, auto restorer Altagracia "Grace" Quintero awakens in a timeless realm inhabited by her recently deceased neighbors. Briefly returned to our world during Halloween night, Grace falls in love with John, a young artist, and he returns the feeling even when he discovers her condition. As the obvious pun in the title indicates, this tale of attachments formed and relinquished is also about belief and hope. De Lint doesn't endorse any particular religious system, but he writes passionately about the individual's ability to discover an effective personal magic. The story develops through comforting, warm compassion to reach the inevitable, mostly satisfying solution. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Grace Quintero works at Sanchez Motor Works, customizing hot rods. Her whole world consists of her apartment building, the grocery store, the library, the record shop, and the local music hall. She misses her grandfather, the only person she was close to. She meets John at the music hall one night and has a feeling that they might have a relationship, not just a hookup. But there’s one problem. Grace is dead and trying to adjust to her “life” as a ghost. De Lint’s skillful depiction of people trying to resolve unfinished business, develop the courage to let some things go, and distinguish between the two draws the reader into a world that is neither life nor death. We agonize, in the classic sense, along with Grace and root for her resolution. This is a stand-alone work, unconnected to anything else de Lint has done before, but it should please his regular readers, and perhaps fantasy fans in general, no end. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged MP3CD edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433294702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433294709
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,311,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles de Lint and his wife, the artist MaryAnn Harris, live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His evocative novels, including Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, and The Onion Girl, have earned him a devoted following and critical acclaim as a master of contemporary magical fiction

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Sammey's Mom on March 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
De Lint writes some of the finest urban fantasy around -- character driven, mystical, and with a deep faith in humanity's goodness. This foray into the Southwest lacks the depth of his Newford stories. Grace, his main character, has interesting quirks, but never attains the depth of some of his earlier heroines. Having found three unusual characteristics -- tattoos, hot rods and rockabilly -- De Lint seems to never quite get beyond them and, in fact, repeats these characteristics over and over again. The mystical qualities of life after death and the essences of faith, family and friendship are, as usual, fascinating and the ending remains a mystery (as it should). All the wonderful ambiguities of our humanity are here, but Grace lacks the strength to carry them on her own.
I recommend it to his fans, but it's not the best first novel for a newcomer to DeLint's work.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By dSavannah George-Jones VINE VOICE on March 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Charles de Lint is one of my favorite authors. I have been anxiously anticipating this newest novel, and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed that CdL explored a different world than he usually does, but he stayed true to the urban fantasy genre. He also wrote about many of the themes he has tackled in the past - mystery, spirit, grace, hope, and one of the big questions - what happens when we die?

I somewhat agree with the other reviewer who said that Grace is somewhat one (three) -dimensional. You feel for her situation, and you feel for John, but you don't LOVE either of them, like you do with Jilly or some of CdL's other characters.

I gave "Grace" four stars instead of five because it's not as powerful as some of his other work, but it's a great book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K.Wagz VINE VOICE on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a blurb on this book by Alice Hoffman. She said "Nobody does it better".
I don't usually put much stock in these author blurbs, but I have to say that I agree with this one.
I don't remember how I found Charles De Lint, but I am grateful that I did, because as Ms Hoffman says, nobody does it better.

This is the story of Grace. It is a story of live and love and faith, or the loss of it.
It is a story of friendship and commitment and death. Most of all, it is a story that reminds us, as do all of De Lint's books of the magic within us all.

Grace with her tattoos and her grease and her family, the good and the bad,, is each one of us. Grace is more aptly named than you might think at first look. Grace learns to open her heart wider than she ever believed that she could, and see truth.

This is yet another must read in a long line of must reads by this magical author.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I'm a devoted fan of Charles deLint's work. However, I was disappointed in this work. First off, the story reminded me too much of "Promises to Keep" which I had only read a few months before -- what with the whole escape-this-afterlife theme. So, it did not feel fresh to me.

In addition, I didn't get the sense that the romance between Grace and John was real. And that storyline had just too pat an ending.

None of the characters in the book seemed nearly as developed as the Newford contingent.

If you're new to DeLint, he has better work out there -- any of the Newford short story collections, Blue Girl (YA fiction) or, my own personal fave and intro to DeLint: Memory and Dream.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ana Q on July 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I preordered this book and as the reviews started to pop up, I started to get nervous. Did I make a mistake? Has DeLint lost that magic touch? So I stuck the book on my shelf and went on. I made a vow not to buy a book all summer to save money and read the books left to collect dust. So off the shelf it came, much to my delight.

I LOVED this book, are there things I would change, of course; would I have wished it longer, without a doubt. But this is classic DeLint and I recommend it to anyone who loves this author.

But please don't start with this book; start with an earlier book from the Newford series. I can see how people would be disappointed in the book, I would have been tempted to compare Grace to Jilly and be disappointed as well. But if you are open minded and let the book stand on its own without comparisons, I doubt it will disappoint you. At the end of a really amazing fiction book I expect a wanting feeling, to want more pages and not be forced to put the book down for another. Luckily I got that feeling with The Mystery of Grace and I hope you do too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Eckert on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read a ton of Charles de Lint books and really loved his Newford books. I was eager to read one of his more recent novels. This book is okay but lacks a lot of the magic of his Newford books and is pretty slow at certain parts. I listened to this on audio book and the audio book was very well done.

Grace is a very tattooed gearhead that enjoys working on cars with her grandfather. When her grandfather dies she recedes some from her friends and by some strange fate ends up getting shot in the local grocery store. After getting shot she wakes up in her apartment where an old woman is standing over her letting her know she's dead. Grace is in a kind of in between place where the people who die in a six block area surrounding her apartment find themselves, kind of a limbo. They can return to the "real world" twice year. While back in the real world Grace meets someone special, and while yearning to see him again she struggles to solve the mystery of why the souls are trapped in this limbo.

Grace and all of the other characters introduced are likable and believable. They are all kind characters, except for the obvious "bad guy", and all strive to make the most out of their lives in limbo. The idea of having a location have this kind of limbo-world for souls is interesting and creative and de Lint ties it to a lot of mexican/native american mythology.

My biggest problem with this book is the pacing. It takes too long for Grace to get to limbo and once she is there it takes too long before she actually does something. I understand de Lint was trying to give us a sense of boredom that Grace experienced and convey the passage of time, I just wish he would have done it in a way that didn't bore me as a reader.
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