Circle of Grace (Hardcover)

By Penelope J. Stokes

Doubleday, 9780385510134, 368pp.

Publication Date: June 15, 2004



All her adult life, Grace Benedict has been living a lie. Now that deception is about to catch up with her.

Thirty years ago, Grace and her college roommates--Liz, Tess, and Lovey--made a solemn vow: to hold onto their friendship, to support one another, to keep in touch through a circle journal that would make the rounds among them. And they promised always to tell each other the truth.

For three decades that journal has been circulating, carrying stories of Liz’s social justice activism in Atlanta and D.C.; of Tess’s fulfilling career and perfect home life; of Lovey’s dream marriage to a wealthy and powerful former pro football player.

But what is Grace to say? Her friends seem so happy and successful. She can’t bear to tell them how her life has spiraled downward since college, and she can’t bring herself to be honest about the dismal realities and bitter memories she faces every day.

She never intends to deceive them--not initially, anyway. She simply embellishes the truth a little, presents her life as a bit more respectable than it really is. But over the years one exaggeration leads to another, and the fiction grows. . . .

Until she discovers that she’s going to die.

Alone and desolate and with little left to lose, Grace determines to take the risk of a lifetime, to reach out to Liz and Tess and Lovey again. And when they reunite, her final battle becomes their struggle as well--a quest for trust, honesty, and enduring emotional connection.

Praise For Circle of Grace

"Penelope Stokes has written the perfect story of enduring friendships. It is compelling, truthful, and poignant. You'll want to buy several copies of this book, one to keep for yourself, the others to give to the women friends you are fortunate enough to include in your circle of grace."
--Lynne Hinton, author of The Last Odd Day and Friendship Cake

"A beautiful novel of dreams gone awry,  truths forsaken, and the blessings and redemptive power of womens' friendships. The dialogue is fast paced, intelligent, and heart wrenchingly honest. The writing is clear and concise and speaks to the truths of our connection to the universe and to who we really are."
Joan Medlicott, author of The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love and The Spirit of Covington