Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

3.5 Star

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Michelle - 3.5 Star

While the pace of the book and story developed slowly and never really had any climatic moments, I found myself absorbed in the story none the less. 

I found my empathy for the characters constantly shifting, sometimes I was rooting for Grace to end up with Riley and other times with Alls.  Sometimes I found myself hoping that Grace would end up with her happy ending and then at times I found myself wanting her to end up miserable.   My feelings toward the characters was shifting constantly throughout he novel and even when I was done reading the book I still did not know quite how I felt about Grace, Riley or Alls.  

Grace is a chameleon of sorts and as the story evolves I was never sure whether Grace was a victim of unfortunate circumstances or a master manipulator. .  At first I felt sorry for Grace, growing up in a home she felt displaced in and looking for acceptance and love, which she found in her boyfriend’s home.  Riley’s parents even give her her own room and treat her like the daughter they never had. It seems for a while Grace has found her happy ending until suddenly things seem to shift.  We begin slowly to see another side of Grace.  Is she simply a bored and intelligent young lady trapped in a small town with an unambitious boyfriend that is holding her back or is she a selfish, spoiled manipulative girl who is only looking out for herself?   

Grace and Riley are childhood sweethearts who at times, seem like they are perfect for each other, but as the novel unfold it becomes clear that is not the case.  Grace it seems has come to almost loathe Riley and seems to be manipulating him so that she can achieve the life she really wants…with Riley’s best friend Alls.  Seems Grace has it all figured out until her master plan falls apart and Riley and Alls end up in Jail and Grace begins a new life with a new identity in Europe. 

When Riley and Alls are released from prison we begin to learn more and more about Grace’s past and learn that even if you try to run from the past it will eventually catch up to you. 

This book did keep my interest and the story did have quite a few surprises I didn’t expect.  I would recommend it.

Thank you to Penguin Random House for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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