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BOOK DESCRIPTION:As an old woman's lifeless body lies on a cold stone floor, her soul stands before an angel who offers her a miraculous opportunity: the chance to do it all again. But that is easier said than done. In order to change the path her life has taken, she must put aside years of self-loathing and pain, so she can help the young girl she once was become the woman she should have been.
At 17 years old, Grace Bennett is a bitter young woman. Though blessed with a loving family, looks and brains to spare, she hides her light under a bushel, spending most of her time in the darkness of her mind with little more than sarcasm and self-pity to keep her company.
But things are about to change for Grace. While delivering food for her family's bed and breakfast, she turns onto a desolate dirt road and drives straight into her destiny.
It's on this isolated country lane that the damaged girl meets a strangely familiar old couple and two mysterious young men. Together the group fights the demons that surround Grace, and they teach her what it means to let her light shine.
"Illuminating Gracie" is, at once, a metaphorical tale of the fight between good and evil and a spiritual saga of one girl's journey from darkness into the light. If you liked "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," you will love the story of Gracie.
ExcerptI didn’t see what the big deal was. So what if I spouted off a few numbers, locked doors repetitively, checked under my bed eight to ten times a night before falling asleep. Whom did it hurt? I just saw myself as a slightly over-cautious girl with a penchant for numbers. Edgar – Dr. Bower, that is – said that my explanation didn’t “add up” (his idea of a joke), because I could not really be considered cautious when I took unnecessary chances with my life like driving forty miles over the posted speed limit or climbing out of a third story window in a thwarted attempt to meet a guy I had only known online. A living, breathing oxymoron – that’s what he had called me – a paranoid risk-taker; an underachiever with a near genius IQ; a girl who craved friendship, yet did all in her power to run friends away. The end result wasn’t an oxymoron, just a moron – a very lonely moron.
Well, whatever my issues were and the reasons for them, I was in full counting mode now, probably because I was scared to death. The gusts of wind whipped at my car with such force that I could barely keep it on the road. My windshield wipers did little to combat the sheets of rain and seeing three feet in front of me was becoming a problem. I made the decision to pull over on the shoulder of the road until things slowed down. If the storm got any worse, I might even have to abandon my car and make a mad dash for the ditch running parallel to the right side of the narrow highway. I had listened to enough storm warnings to know that in the event of a tornado, the last place I wanted to be was in a car or a trailer.
After about five minutes of sitting on the side of the road, the rain began to dissipate a bit and the winds lessen. As I eased off the shoulder back onto the narrow highway, my headlights caught the glint of some type of reflection fifty yards or so ahead, to my left. As I closed the distance between the car and the mysterious lights, I was comforted to see three bright white poles topped with red reflector dots, which served to mark a small dirt lane lined with enormous water oaks. I had been so freaked out by the storm that I had completely forgotten about the directions my sister-in-law had given me – directions that stipulated that I turn left onto the dirt road marked by three reflector poles.
Weak with relief, I carefully turned from the paved road to the dirt one while mentally cursing the mud bath my poor car was taking. Four months ago, turning onto a dirt road would have been a sure sign to plug in the GPS, but this wasn’t Atlanta, and dirt roads weren’t the exception, but the rule. So despite a distinct feeling of unease, I began creeping down the tree-lined, limb-strewn, dark-as-pitch path alternately praying, cursing and counting until, at last, I spotted a glimmer of light through the fog 100 yards or so in the distance.
Lisa C. Temple is a lifetime resident of Montgomery, Alabama where she lives with her husband Dana, with whom she has a 21-year-old son, Temp. She is a graduate of Huntingdon College and Jones School of Law. Illuminating Gracie is her debut novel.
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