Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin
Published: July, 2012
Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she learns that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy.
When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to a new plan – the Shaker Plan – despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she’s juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, an anthropology professor. Both men have soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace seems to be on the fast track to a proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.
From Chapter 1, “Shaken and Stirred”
I squinted through the muck on the windshield at the lane ahead. Then at the road map outstretched on my lap. I glanced back and forth between them: lane, map, lane, map. “Do all roads lead to mud?”
“That’s three in an hour,” Rae Ann said, white-knuckling the steering wheel. “There ought to be a law against slapping a route number on an old Indian trail.” She flipped on the windshield wipers, but nothing shot out to dissolve the mud. “We’re out of wiper fluid. And we’re lost.”
I had faith in maps. Together with dead shot compass skills, they’d lured me off the main roads onto paths uncharted by most tourists. That’s how I found a postcard-perfect salt lagoon behind a Mexican barrier beach, pure powder slopes in Patagonia, and a mountaintop waterfall in Japan begging for a moonlight tryst.
I pored over the map. “It says if we follow this road for three miles, it intersects with the road to Canterbury.”
“It says that, does it?” Rae Ann asked, her tone telegraphing her confidence in my navigation skills.
“You navigate. I’ll drive,” I offered. “Hop out.”
Rae Ann turned up her nose. “In this muck? These espadrilles are brand new.”
I glanced at her shoes—so clean they squeaked. “You don’t want to ruin those.” I grabbed a roll of paper towels off the back seat and toddled outside the truck. Mud oozed into my K-Swiss, formerly in virgin road-trip condition. I unwound some toweling and attacked the windshield, wiping clean an area the size of a bowling ball. Before climbing in on the driver’s side, I scraped the soles of my now mucked-up sneakers on the running board.
Rae Ann shimmied over to the passenger seat, her belly brimming with baby. “We’re stuck in Mudville, and it’s past lunchtime. My stomach is digesting itself.”
“Tell your stomach to relax. The only thing standing between us and Canterbury is a mud-coated, tree-lined goat path,” I said, flashing on a front-page news story about two female carcasses clad in Bermuda shorts clinging to a red SUV, one in childbirth, the other in midwifery, both fossilized in waves of mud.
“You better not mess up your brother’s truck.”
I clutched the gearstick. “And you better not go into labor.”
I threw the Explorer into drive. For the next four miles, it shuddered through wakes of ruts left by other vehicles, hydroplaning between gullies.
“Truck, Grace!” Rae Ann cried.
As a pickup barreled right at us, I cut the wheels hard, and we careened toward a stand of evergreens. Just before impact, I cranked the wheel to the left, and the truck skidded back onto the lane. When we arrived at the state road, the Explorer stopped shuddering, but Rae Ann hadn’t.
“Everybody okay?” I asked after I caught my breath.
For my stop on the Grace Unexpected tour I wanted to do something fun. Book Looks was created by Jen at Books and Other Happy Ever Afters . Combining our love of books & fashion with book cover or scene inspired outfits. I really like the cover for Grace Unexpected because the colors are bright and remind me of spring. I haven’t read this book yet but since Grace adopts some of the Shakers lifestyle I created a look that was pretty but conservative.
Gale Martin is an award-winning writer of contemporary fiction who plied her childhood penchant for telling tall tales into a legitimate literary pursuit once she hit midlife. She began writing her first novel at age eleven, finishing it three and a half decades later.
Her first novel, DON JUAN IN HANKEY, PA, is a humorous homage to Don Giovanni, Mozart’s famous tragicomic opera about the last two days of Don Juan’s life. It was named a Finalist in the 2012 National Indie Excellence Awards for New Fiction. Her second novel GRACE UNEXPECTED is wryly witty women’s fiction featuring Grace Savage, a 30-something protagonist with a heart of gold, wrapped in lead.
Gale would commit a misdemeanor to score some Babybel cheese and goes weak-kneed for hummingbirds. She is a wife and mother of one and a communications director by profession.
She blogs about opera–the art form, not the platform and is an opera reviewer for Bachtrack, an online site featuring classical performance worldwide. She can name any aria in three notes. Okay, five notes, perfectly sung, with full orchestration.
She has a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University. She lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which serves as a rich source of inspiration for her writing.