by Karen Simpson
Pub. Date: March 1, 2011
“Standin’ at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride.
Didn’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by.”
The legend of Robert Johnson standing at the crossroads has become so much more than just a blues song. It is often used as a warning of dabbling in mysticism, as well as a sign of having to choose a path and it’s consequences. Johnson’s deal with the devil is an interpretation of how Hoodoo interacted with the decisions he was faced to make. Although some may denounce the African-American shamanic tradition and belief system, Karen Simpson embraces the ability to transcend the physical realm in her story Act of Grace.
The main character- 18-year-old Grace- tells us her story of traveling to the legendary crossroads, both spiritually and temporally. When, upon reaching the end of her senior year of high school, Grace is abruptly approached by spirits of her ancestors, she is reluctant to acknowledge them. It is through her journey of denial, ultimately leading to acceptance, of her calling and purpose that the reader follows her through every emotion. She is not only coming to terms with her place in the greater scheme of things, but in her own world as well. Grace is charged with uncovering the truth about her father’s death, as well as numerous unsolved disappearances from the community. Through the unburying of these histories Grace learns of discovery, lies, fear, acceptance, truth, and ultimately forgiveness and love in a tumultuous journey to the heart of one herself and an entire town.
Act of Grace is a novel about how the town of Vigilant, Michigan reacts to a heroic act on Grace’s part, as well as dealing with racial tensions which run generations deep. It is a story of personal discovery, racial and gender politics, fighting spiritual battles, and coming out of it all standing strong. This is not simply a coming of age story of a girl, it is one of discovering hidden truths, and understanding that we can peel back the layers, but we can never truly understand how deep some wounds hide. We must, as Grace must, learn to live with the scars- both seen and unseen- and not to let others suffer from our burden.
Act of Grace is written like all great blues songs- with heart, soul, tears, and a deeper understanding of what is really being told. With a fluid prose-like writing style, Simpson starts us on a journey and does not let us come up for air until the last page.
This book blog tour is promoted and arranged by Pump Up Your Book! Please check out the other tour stops listed on the author’s webpage.
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Karen Simpson, visit her website here.