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The Saving Graces Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.4 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Unlike the Graces of Greek mythology, the ones in Patricia Gaffney's feel-good novel, The Saving Graces, are not in the business of dispensing charm and beauty. Though they possess some measure of good looks, Gaffney's Graces are more focused on the less ethereal problems of life: men, careers, babies, death. And there are four, rather than three, of them (Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel), who have been getting together for regular dinners in their Washington, D.C., homes for 10 years.

The narration of The Saving Graces rotates among the four women and gets right to the heart of each Grace--the stories they tell stick close to the territory of their emotional lives. This intimate directness makes Gaffney's women seem, well, womanly. Serene Isabel, who has always been "the best champion, the kindest friend" to all the other Graces, is dying of breast cancer. Rudy needs to leave her ultra-controlling husband. Lee, usually the rational one, is possessed by her desire to have a baby. Ironic Emma wants to write a novel and has a hard crush on a married man. This group feels messy and real: they keep secrets from each other, grate on one another's nerves, and analyze each other. But ultimately, all four know that they've lucked into a very good thing. Not just because they share the sweetness and silliness that comes with friendship, but also because they are willing to act as soldiers for each other. When Rudy finally gets up the nerve to leave her husband, for example, she doesn't do it alone: "Isabel stood on my right, Lee on my left. Emma had taken a seat on the bed--an escalation of the offense, usurping more enemy territory." In Gaffney's universe, women armed with grace, humor, and a couple of good girlfriends can transcend even the most painful events in their lives. --Katherine Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Formulaic but sprightly, Gaffney's debut is a variation on the theme of women's solidarity and bravery. Four friends in Washington, D.C., have been meeting once a week for 10 years, relying on each other for laughter, advice and encouragement. There's Emma, approaching 40 and in love with a married man named Mick; Rudy, the unstable depressive whose marriage is on the rocks; happily married Lee, who desperately wishes to have a child with her husband, Henry; and Isabel, the divorced cancer survivor who is in love with her neighbor, Kirby. They call themselves "The Saving Graces," after a dog they once hit with a car, rescued and nursed to recovery: now "she's old and grizzled like us... but she is the sweetest dog." Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the Graces, and though Gaffney provides each character with a distinctive voice, the stories are overly emotional and predictable. Together the women help each other with their various love troubles until Isabel's cancer returns, a blow that brings them even closer, "putting things in perspective" and setting the scene for the inevitable weepy ending. The Graces eventually get what they long for; each finds her own brand of bittersweet satisfaction, with hard-won lessons learned. "We don't go around calling ourselves [the Saving Graces] in public," says Emma. "It's corny; it sounds like a TV sitcom... starring Valerie Bertinelli, Susan Dey and Cybill Shepherd. Notice these are all attractive, smart, funny women who happen to be a little long in the tooth." While Graces reads much like daytime drama, it lacks the suspense of that medium; we know how things will work out right from the beginning. But since TV doesn't travel to the beach, this novel may provide a soap opera fix under a sun umbrella. 100,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; author tour; rights sold in Germany, Sweden, Finland, England and Norway. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (June 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375407146
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375407147
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 1.2 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,427,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, "the saving graces" certainly doesn't qualify as outstanding literature. And yes, the story of 4 friends & each one's joys & sorrows is not the most original concept in the world: But the strength of this particular novel is that it's extremely well written & so much fun: it's a story that could really be about any of us, the themes are so familiar. "The saving graces" underline what most of us already know, that friends are the relatives we chose, the family we form for ourselves, whereas when it comes to our actual families, we don't have a choice.
Patricia Gaffney, from what I've heard (because this is the first book of hers that I've read) usually writes different kind of novels, historical romances etc. But I don't know why- she seems to be a natural in telling a contemporary, real, easy-to-read story.
This book is about the friendship of 4 women, around 40 years old: Rudy, Isabel, Emma & Lee. They meet twice a month for dinner & share secrets, talk about their lives, laugh a lot and sometimes cry. What women-friends do in real life, actually: and this is this novel's strength: although it's not the most substantial or inspired book in the world, it's one of the best books in the "light reading" category, since it's as if the story is taken out of real life. It's one of those novels that the reader gets totally engrossed in, so it's a very good selection for a weekend away or for a long airplane ride. You'll have a great time reading it...
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a book that's powerful and funny, real and yet joyful, with characters you'll think about long after you've finished it, THIS is the one to buy. Trust me. I'm a picky reader and I loved this story from beginning to end. In fact, I want to buy copies for all my friends, because every woman I know will relate to the characters and situations in this book.
It's the kind of read you don't want to put down and you look forward to getting back to. A sophisticated, honest book that shows friendship in all its nurturing and flawed glory. The main characters love, help and understand each other; but they've also got secrets, private irritations and intricate conflicts. There's not a cliché among them. Just four complex, funny women who stick together and help one another make the most of their lives.
I honestly hated to finish this book and when I did I felt for days as if I'd lost my best friends. But that's okay because this one's a keeper. I'll just read it again.
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By A Customer on January 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After reading almost all of Patricia Gaffney's books, I have to say, her first contemporary is truly a work of art.
The Saving Graces is a novel of friendship. Calling themselves the Saving Graces, Emma, Rudy, Lee and Isabel meet twice a month for dinner to talk about life, love, marriage, careers, achievements and disappointments.
Emma, wanting to publish her first book and in love with a married man. Beautiful Rudy, unsure of herself and afraid to upset her manipulative husband. Lee, the "normal" one who is desperatly trying to have a baby. And Isabel, divorced and battling the battle of her life. Cancer.
This story pulled me in from the beginning and made me wish I were part of The Saving Graces. I laughed, I cried (hid from my husband because I didn't want him to see me!) and most of all I fell in love with the four of them. I truly didn't want the story to end. Don't wait for the paperback. This book is one that you will truly enjoy and read over and over again. Loan it to your best friend. Maybe you'll start up a "Saving Graces" of your own.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I imagine that most of us women have at least two or three really close girlfriends ~~ ones that are there for you when you need them ~~ a divorce, separation, death of a spouse, break-up, child being born ~~ whatever ~~ and this book is like that. You cannot imagine your life without these essential women in your life ~~ and this book will only enrich your reading life because these four women are like us.
Emma, Rudy, Lee and Isabel are sisters of the heart and soul ~~ they've been through it all ~~ cancer, divorce, adultery ~~ and they talk through everything. They have relationships with each other that only women with close friends can only understand ~~ and others envy. In this book, they're put to the test when something unimaginable happens ~~ and Graffney shows how each of them survive this crucial test.
It's not a secret that I enjoy reading books on women's friendships and relationships with one another ~~ because I am fortunate enough to have close friends to rely on during my dark times recently. This is one book that I really appreciate because it is about friendship, love and courage. Rudy, Emma, Lee and Isabel are not easily forgotten ~~ I have friends who are like them.
But here's a warning ~~ you must have a box of kleenexs handy ~~ it is a tearjerker ~~ and don't read parts of it in public ~~ Graffney really tugs at your heartstrings. And when you've finished this book, be sure to pass it onto your best friend and tell her just how important she is to you.
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