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March 16, 2022

Finding Grace by Gary Lee Miller ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Grace Lee calls her granddaughter, Judith, with a dying wish…for Judith to travel from Los Angeles to Nashville to visit her. But there’s a catch. Judith must make the journey by bus.

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book cover of Finding Grace by Gary Lee Miller
March 2022; Morgan James Fiction; 978-1631956591
ebook, print (282 pages); women's fiction

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book but I was pleasantly surprised and read it all in one sitting.  It's a story of finding yourself and making changes to be the person that you want to be. 

Judith grew up in Nashville and was raised by her grandparents.  They had very little money so Judith learned how to buy clothes at the Goodwill store.  She was bullied when she was in school but she tried to ignore it and spend her time studying.  After high school, she got a scholarship to Vanderbilt and then moved to California to start a tech company that ended up being very successful.  She spent all of her time working and had no life outside of her company.  When her grandmother, Grace, calls to tell her that she has leukemia, Judith plans to go to Nashville immediately.  Grace asks her a favor and Judith reluctantly agrees.  Grace had always dreamed of riding a bus on a long trip and she asks Judith to take a bus from California to Nashville.  Grace wants her to call every evening and tell her what she's seen and who she talked to. Judith can't believe that she agrees with Grace's plan and very reluctantly boards a bus.  On each leg of the journey, she talks to a different person and finds out about their life.  Grace is thrilled with the stories that Judith tells her about every evening.  She's also happy to see Judith relax and enjoy life instead of working all of the time.

On her trip, Judith meets a woman escaping from an abusive relationship, a man who is taking his wife's ashes to be scattered, a woman who's looking for a rich sugar daddy, a musician who just got out of rehab, a mother and daughter heading to St. Jude's hospital for treatment of the daughter's leukemia, and a Vietnam vet going to visit his daughter and grandchildren. She shares her story about her grandmother and they, in turn, tell their stories.  Each story changes her view of the world a bit a she is a changed person when she arrives at her grandmother's house in Nashville.

The author set the book up in an interesting manner.  For each of the legs of the trip, he tells a little about the person that Judith is going to meet and the next chapter is about the bus ride and talk with Judith, the next chapter is a poem about each person Judith talked to as they face life after the bus journey.

I enjoy books that show you a person who changes and what causes the changes.  Judith's trip changed her from a busy executive to someone who is compassionate and empathetic to each of the people she meets and eventually to everyone around her.  Instead of her bus trip being boring and slow, she met new people on the trip who helped change her outlook on life.

Buy Finding Grace at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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