I nearly gave up on this book during the first few chapters, as I could not stand the way the main character Emily stayed with her cold and demanding husband. In fact, I couldn't understand why she had married him in the first place, until she admitted she may have married her husband to leave her mean and judgmental mother. However, I was also not convinced by the portrayal of Emily's mother and aunty who were both nasty pieces of work, especially when Emily's grandmother, their mother, had such a lovely character.
McCallum needs to read Bryce Courtenay's Jessica to get some pointers on writing convincing nasty characters and their motives!
Once I got past the initial introductions to these characters I fell for the warm and accurate descriptions of the rural South Australian landscape and I enjoyed reading of Emily's relationship with her new friends Barbara, David and Jake, her father, and her new puppy Grace. When Emily moves into an abandoned farmhouse, the storylines involving the house renovation and the beginning of her new jam business were well-written and appealing.
While there was some clumsy writing and character building in McCallum's book, I warmed to it a few chapters in. Saving Grace is part one of a three book series and I look forward to reading the other books in the series to see how Emily's adventures progress.
My rating ***