It has been three years since Charles de Lint took a break from writing adult novels to focus on more of a teenage audience.
He is once again embracing a mature audience with his new novel, The Mystery of Grace.
Altagracia —or Grace as her friends refer to her—has gone to extreme lengths to make sure trouble stays out of her life.
On her shoulder she has a tattoo of Nuestra Senora de Altagracia for luck, not to mention that her other tattoos from her feet up make for quite a fierce impression.
Yet, luck is not on her side when she steps into a local grocery store just in time to witness it being robbed.
Spooked by her sudden appearance, the paranoid robber opens fire on Grace, leaving enough bullets in her to ensure she will not ever need groceries again.
When Grace gains consciousness, she finds that she is still in the grocery store and unharmed; nothing has changed except the fact that she is dead.
Now she is trapped in a world parallel of hers with ghosts who have also died in the neighborhood.
Nobody knows why they are here. Whether they have constructed this world from their memories or whether they are just a part of someone’s dreams has yet to be discovered.
All Grace knows is that she has twice a year to visit the world of the living to spend time with loved ones and search for clues about her personal version of an afterlife.
Fans of de Lint’s work may be disappointed to discover that the story is not set in the fictitious city of Newford nor features any of the recurring characters found in most of his novels.
De Lint writes a magical tale of new characters and new experiences.
It is a tale of love and loss, and more importantly, what it means to let things go when the time is right.
The Mystery of Grace is bittersweet with language masterfully crafted in a style that can only belong to de Lint.
Both first time readers of de Lint’s work as well as long time fans will find that they might need to take a lesson from the characters of this novel as the feeling and emotions evoked by The Mystery of Grace take a long time to let go.