When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood.
State of Grace, by Elizabeth Davies, kind of defies classification – it fits somewhere between an urban tale about a modern woman grappling with disease and a supernatural, historical romance. We meet Grace in the present and are able to get a good sense of who she is as a woman in a modern world, before she slips into the past – a sometimes violent and unexplainable place. Grace is an interesting person who’s going through a very difficult time in her life and has the added issue of time-travel thrown into the mix.
Eventually, we’re introduced to the main love interest, Roman – a man with a dark, supernatural secret. I liked the twist on the typical supernatural tale; that is, Roman isn’t some rich aristocrat who’s being waited on – he’s trying to survive, just like Grace. This felt really natural to me – that a supernatural being would just need to survive and therefore wouldn’t always thrive. It was a nice change from the usual pace of unbelievable supers that are pretty much gods on Earth. I also like the fact that we flip back to Grace’s regular time where she’s just as confused as we are – did any of what she “dreamed” about actually happen?
I found Roman to be a very interesting character in addition to Grace, but I feel like I got to know them separately and not together, and not fully. It would have been nice to see more dialogue between them to work out some nuances of their character.
For me, the story posed more questions than it answered. It’s understandable that there should be unanswered questions for a book that’s anticipating a sequel, but for me there needs to be a sense of accomplishment – like I’ve been able to get into the heads of the characters a bit. I felt, for as much as we were given about Grace, like I didn’t get to know her very well – like she and Roman were hiding from me, which added a level of disconnect.
Grace’s illness is another interesting issue for me. It doesn’t factor into the story quite the way I would have imagined, which is fine, but it also doesn’t seem to impede her much in the past – which is odd, considering she’s been told her disease is fatal. It’s possible that this will resolved in the subsequent book, though it would have been nice to see her work through it a bit more with Roman around.
All in all, I’m interested to see where the next novel goes and I believe that it this series will only become richer with time.
If you enjoy time-traveling novels with a supernatural vibe, then this book is for you.