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Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford

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Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.


This is one of the most depressing and saddest books I’ve read in a long time. Watching Grace’s slow downfall from a seventeen-year-old girl excited about going to college to her unfortunate choices thereafter, is heartbreaking and difficult to read.  However, I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to know what happens to this poor girl who just couldn’t catch a break.

Grace is so young to have endured so much heartache that she didn’t deserve. Although naive, she has the strength to survive whatever she is given to see her baby again. Her parents are a great support for her and though she feels betrayed by them at one point, they only want the best for her.  There are other supporting characters she meets along the way who are willing to help her, but it comes at a cost.

Ms. Crawford’s gutsy debut novel delves into the dark recesses of domestic abuse, homelessness, and abduction that is not easy to read, but one’s hope to see Grace safe and back with her daughter is a strong motivation to finish the book.  I look forward to reading more from Annalisa Crawford.

Thank you to Ms. Crawford for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Annalisa Crawford Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and a dog.

Crawford writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories, with a hint of the paranormal.

Over the years, she has won several competitions and had many short stories published in small press journals and online. Highlights include being placed 3rd in the Costa Short Story Award 2015 and being longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award in 2018.

Follow Annalisa on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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