Grace

Written by Jane Roberts Wood
Review by Jackie Drohan

There have been many, many novels about World War II, and if the majority of them have focused on life in combat, on the front lines, it wouldn’t surprise me any. This one’s about life on the homefront, however, well away from any fields of battle. The year is 1944, and even in Cold Springs, a small town in east Texas, the war is on everyone’s mind every waking minute of the day.

Grace Gillian, whose husband has just left her, is a high school English teacher. One of her students is Bobby Miller and even though he has a ‘lazy eye’, he — like all of his friends — cannot wait until he can enlist for duty, to do his part against the Germans, the Japanese.

Parents know better, however. The sadness of sending a son off to war is both personal and universal, and Wood captures the feeling to perfection. The courage of facing the fact when you know a loved one is never going to return is displayed more than once as well, as it was in every hometown in the land, large and small.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a sad story at all. It’s equally funny and touching, full of life and love, and learning about both, at a unique turning point in this country’s history, if not the world’s.