Ten-year-old Gracie sits on the backyard picnic table, hugging Brown Hound, wiping her nose on the dog's fur. Her daddy is sending them both to her grandmother for the summer. They are too much for her high-strung mother.
It's 1951 on the NC family farm when Gracie and Brown Hound meet the family. Great Granny Jane smokes a pipe and is fast with her cane, Miss Emily is loving but firm, and Jane, her cousin of the same age, has a swashbuckler's heart.
It is wild and heady freedom, far from her mother's scorn and her father's indifference. The girls hunt for ancient graves, sneak visits to the conjure woman, fight, make up, and sleep in the same bed, tangled like puppies.
But there is also Marcell, the solitary woman who keeps the house. Her dark skin shines but not her eyes; her history is mysteriously entwined with the family, and for some inexplicable reason she hates dogs. Gracie and Jane must fix this before Brown Hound gets sent away.
In this time of segregation and inequality, can the girls unearth Marcell's secrets? Why must they find a missing grave? And what time-worn promise exposed will reveal the family's hidden past?
The Summer of Grace
"Karen Jones gives us an authentic coming-of-age Southern story in The Summer of Grace. At once, funny, touching, tender, and infuriating through characters that you will remember long after you finish reading this terrific novel. And did I mention the twists? Yeah. There are twists. Highly recommend."
–Kathleen Brehony, Ph.D, author Awakening at Midlife, Ordinary Grace, and After the Darkest Hour: How Suffering Begins the Journey to Wisdom
“With the turn of every page, Jones had me running through the fields with Gracie and Brown Hound, feeling the damp air upon my face, the summer grasses across my shins, and the swell of courage in every step. Beautifully written and woven together, this multi-generational story follows the thread of one endearingly brave and clever girl as she learns that family is made from those that choose one another, in spite of a divisive past trying its best to not be left behind. What a sincere pleasure it was to spend time with these characters, brilliantly portrayed by such a skilled and talented writer.”
–Carine McCandless, Author of The Wild Truth, the New York Times best selling follow-up to Into the Wild.