Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Book Review: "The Rules of Love & Grammar," by Mary Simses
About the book:
If only the rules of love were as cut-and-dried as the rules of grammar!
Grace Hammond is a young woman with a bone to pick about spelling mistakes, punctuation, and sentence structure. A wordsmith by trade, Grace can’t let even the most innocent grammar mistakes slip by. She marks up menus in restaurants and cringes when she sees fliers with incorrect punctuation. Grace’s life is in need of correcting, too. Laid off from her writing job and newly single, she hits Pause and returns to her childhood home in Connecticut.
Back home, Grace sets out to confront the mistakes she’s made in life (while pointing out the town’s grammatical ones, of course) and come to terms, finally, with her sister’s death. Along the way, she falls into a love triangle with her high school sweetheart, now a famous film director; his leading man, a movie star with looks so perfect that women swoon upon meeting him; and the proprietor of a local bike shop with a meaningful connection to Grace’s past. Torn between the allure of a glamorous life and the comfort of the familiar, Grace must decide what truly matters, and whether it just might be time for her to set aside the rule book, open her heart, and take a chance on the unknown.
The Rules of Love & Grammar is about the inability to move forward when one is stuck in the past. To Grace, her older sister appeared to be the perfect child, so when she died in a car accident as a teenager, it truly upended Grace's perfect life. When she loses her job and her boyfriend in New York, and her apartment needs renovations, Grace escapes to her hometown and her parents' house, hoping to find perfection again. What she finds is that, though many things have remained the same, time has still marched on. Her high-school crush, Peter, has become a Hollywood director. Her best friend, Cluny, has become a wife and mother. But Grace is essentially still her teenage self, feeling she must compete with her high-school nemesis and living in the shadow of her "perfect" older sister. When long-held family secrets emerge, Grace begins to realize that her long-held beliefs and perceptions weren't entirely accurate. She finds that it's impossible to go back in time, but it's possible to move into a better future when the pains of the past are let go. The Rules of Love & Grammar is a sweet, realistic story with a small-town feel and moments of refreshing humor that warmed my heart.
Mary Simses grew up in Darien, Connecticut, and began writing stories at the age of seven. In college, she majored in journalism because she didn’t believe she could ever make a living as a fiction writer. After working in magazine publishing for a few years, she went back to school to become a lawyer. While working as a corporate attorney, she enrolled in an evening fiction writing class at a university in Connecticut and began writing short stories “on the side.” Several of her stories were published in literary magazines. Mary finally took the advice of a friend and decided to try writing a novel. That manuscript ultimately became The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Café, a number-one bestseller in Germany. The Rules of Love & Grammar is her second novel.
Mary lives in South Florida with her husband and their daughter. She enjoys reading, taking photographs, listening to music (especially old jazz standards), and spending time in Connecticut in the summer.
Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my link