You survived Gilead.
You survived The Capitol.
Now survive Garner County.
Don’t be fooled by the candy pink exterior of Kim Liggett’s latest novel. What lies between its covers is anything but sweet.
We didn’t set out to select a horror story for October but if we had The Grace Year would be a perfect fit. In Garner County the women outnumber the men two-to-one. They wear their hair pulled back from their face into a single braid decorated with a ribbon. White for young girls, red for grace year girls, and black for wives. Innocence. Blood. Death. This is to ensure the men that they aren’t using their magic–magic that every girl must be sent away into isolation for a year to expel at the age of 16. You see, in Garner County girls are taught that they have the power to lure men out of their beds and away from their families, that they can drive older women mad with jealousy. So the men must keep a tight rein on them by forcing them to compete among themselves to be wives and run their own households or be laborers.
For our main character Tierney, becoming a wife is the last thing she wants to do. But like all women who live in Garner County that choice is taken away from her when her friend decides to give her a veil that places a target on her back.
With Tierney as the narrator, readers have a unique point of view as she struggles to survive her year in isolation, falls in love, and unravels the truth behind her community and the real magic that exists within it.
Fans of dystopian novels will see a mash up of elements from popular titles like The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and The Handmaid’s Tale within The Grace Year. Liggett adeptly weaves together a feminist tale of horror, romance, and survival that explores the complex relationship between girls, the women they become and the choices they make between.