Saving Grace by Jennifer Fulton is the second book in her Moon Island series. It can be read as a standalone, since it follows a new couple and shares enough of the events of the first book that you won’t be confused.
Grace Ramsay is on Moon Island for one reason—to evaluate whether it would be a good purchase for a company that’s looking for a place to dump chemical waste. During her time on the island, she meets Dawn, a naive woman who’s a decade younger, and decides that seducing Dawn would be the perfect distraction during her downtime before she heads back to New York.
Dawn Beaumont said she’d never return to Moon Island after surviving a hurricane that ripped through the Cook Islands a year prior. But after a car accident wrecks her legs, kills her teammate, and ruins her chances of swimming in the Olympics, it turns out to be a perfect refuge from her life in Sydney. Or it would be, if it weren’t for Grace hitting on her.
Dawn is straight and homophobic, put off by the relationship between Moon Island owner Annabel Worth and her girlfriend, Cody. Somehow though, she isn’t totally able to resist Grace’s charms as the sparks fly between them. Can anything real ever happen between a cynical player like Grace and someone as adrift as Dawn?
Neither Dawn nor Grace are particularly likeable at first. Dawn’s homophobia is really offputting, especially since it never comes up with main characters in lesbian romances these days, but also makes total sense because Saving Grace was first published in 1993. Grace is almost mercenary in how she approaches her career as well as her interactions with people, which extends to how she pursues Dawn. Both women have tremendous character growth throughout this book, however, which makes it particularly satisfying and they were both very different people by the end of it.
The Writing Style
Saving Grace is well written with excellent character work, a beautiful setting, and an interesting story. There’s even some intrigue that happens around the offer to purchase Moon Island, particularly after Annabel refuses to sell.
Brittni Pope is hands down one of my favourite lesfic narrators and she did a fabulous job on this one. I have no idea how good her Australian or New Zealand accents are, but her voice brings a sensuousness to the narration that works beautifully for the tropical setting of Moon Island.
By far, the character work was the standout element for me.
Also, I was shocked (in the best way) to hear a reference to dams, as a nod towards a night Grace had spent with someone else at the beginning of the book. Lesfic is way behind mainstream fiction when it comes to representing safer sex, so it was refreshing to actually see it in this book.
One of the characters had a pretty brutal sexual assault in her past that isn’t on the page, but does get covered.
Also, the epilogue didn’t make it into the audiobook and I wouldn’t have even known Saving Grace had one if I hadn’t cracked open the ebook to grab an excerpt for this review. It’s especially a shame for listeners because it shows how full circle Grace truly comes in her career, so I hope there’s a way to add that to the audio version.
If you like vacation romances or stories that take place outside of the US, you’ll want to check out this book.
Excerpt from Saving Grace by Jennifer Fulton
Dawn had no idea how much time had passed when she blinked up into a dark, concerned stare.
“I’m going to get you into some shade,” Grace Ramsay said in her low clipped way. “Put your arms around my neck.”
Dawn hesitated, but the arm supporting her shoulders had already tightened and another slid beneath her knees. “It’s okay”—that teasing smile—“I won’t drop you.”
Dawn felt so weak she could only rest her head against Grace’s shoulder. There was something comforting about being cradled that way, immersed in a mixture of scents—salt, skin, sun on cotton, some kind of spicy perfume. A hint of cloves.
At the edge of the jungle, Grace lowered Dawn onto the sandy earth, commenting, “I think you’ve had too much sun.” Her arm was still loosely around Dawn’s waist and her face was very close. It was an interesting face, not beautiful, but arresting. Probably the eyes, Dawn decided. Thickly fringed with long straight black eyelashes, they were the color of wet graphite. Tiny emerald flecks made the color shift.
Dawn stared. She couldn’t help herself.
Grace stared back, eyes wickedly appreciative. “I see you’re a natural blonde,” she said in a husky purr.
Dawn’s cheeks burned. She was completely naked, she remembered. And Grace Ramsay was looking her up and down, calm as you please. Mortified, Dawn wriggled upright. Her limbs felt glutinous.
“Please,” she stammered, “get my clothes.”
An infuriating grin twitched the corners of Grace’s mouth, but she rose obediently and sauntered across the sand to collect the discarded bag. Dawn could hardly believe her eyes. It was that walk. The one she hated. The calm swagger she associated irrevocably with Cody Stanton. When Grace returned, Dawn raised an arm to cover her breasts.
The protective gesture only seemed to amuse her rescuer. With insolent self-assurance, Grace said, “Don’t worry, Dawn, I’ve seen it all before.”
What was that supposed to mean? Something about Grace’s attitude bugged the hell out of Dawn. Lobbing a withering look at the woman, she dragged on her clothes and knotted her belt with shaking fingers. She didn’t like Grace Ramsay, she decided. Not one little bit.
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The Sacred Shore
A Guarded Heart
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635552652
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Audiobook Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Inc
- Narrator: Brittni Pope
Jennifer Fulton Online
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