When I got an email about this book, I knew it needed a feature here on Literary Quicksand. It’s written by a local author here where I live in Minnesota, and is set by Lake Superior, which is where I love to spend time. Plus, it’s blurbed by William Kent Krueger!
So, check out Finding Grace by Maren Cooper. If you pick it up, please let me know what you thought while it waits on my TBR list!
Chuck and Caroline meet in college biology lab and drift into a relationship of his design. Mesmerized by her drive, Chuck sees in Caroline, an orphan like himself, a partner who will help him face the world. Chuck couldn’t be more wrong. He wants a home, a family, roots. But Caroline, a gifted ornithologist, plans a life of travel and adventure—following her heart’s desire, and her birds, wherever they may take her. And, she expects Chuck to tag along. When Caroline gets pregnant against her wishes, Chuck assumes she will change her mind. She doesn’t. Their daughter Grace falls through the devastating schism that grows between her parents. When Grace finally runs away, everything becomes a bargaining chip in a very high stakes game… (TW: suicide attempt, birth control sabotage, addiction)
With candlelight and the good china gleaming, they shared warm homemade brownies a la mode and had their first real talk about the baby.
“I still don’t know how to feel about this. It was never something I wanted.” Caroline lifted a forkful of brownie.
“I doubt if I’ll be any good at it.”
“I know you doubt yourself, but I don’t.”
“I won’t give up my career.”
“I don’t expect you to.”
“I want to be the nomad adventurer of my own dreams.”
“I know and will support you.” Charlie reached over to take her hand.
“I’ll be miserable as a pregnant woman.”
“Not if I can help it.”
“I’m not good at housekeeping or taking care of you, so how can I take care of a baby?”
“I’ll take care of it.”
“There is another option.” Caroline pulled her hand back from his.
“That would be?” Charlie was afraid of her answer.
“Please don’t say adoption.” Charlie’s words jumped out in a rush. He knew she couldn’t defy the early grounding of the church and mention abortion. “That’s the one thing I couldn’t manage. Adoption is for people who don’t want their children or can’t raise their children. That would be a lie. Because I want this child, and I can raise this child. I know deep down that you do, too. Caroline, I’m willing to make it work on my own, until you realize it, too.”
“Do you mean that? You’ll raise this child, and I’m free to be me?” Caroline stopped picking at the brownie crumbs on her plate, her eyes fixed on him.
“Yes, I promise.” The words came fast; he didn’t pause to consider their full meaning. Right then, it was just another pledge he made to his wife. “Would you like more ice cream?”
“No, I’m good.” She pushed her dishes forward and leaned back in her chair, a smile brightening her weary face. “Thank you for all of this.”
“And now that it’s past ten, let’s get you to bed. By the way, I ran into Dr. Riley at the hardware store in town. He asked about you. I’ll call tomorrow and make an appointment for you. I love you, darling. I’ll take care of you.”
As he cleaned up the kitchen and collected the luminaries, he congratulated himself. I can do this. I know I can.
About the Author
Maren Cooper grew up in the Midwest and now resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. She currently serves as a volunteer for various nonprofits and retreats frequently to the shore of Lake Superior, where she loves to hike and watch the deer devour her hosta. Her debut novel, A Better Next, was published in May of 2019 by She Writes Press. Visit her at www.marencooper.com.