BOOK TOUR: 'Gracie's War' by Elaine Everest

by - December 13, 2013

Publishing 15th October 2013


Do our actions and decisions mark us and stay with us for the rest of our lives? Gracie has her life before her as the dark clouds of the Second World War gather.

Though she and her family cope well with the stresses on the home front, Gracie's transformation to adulthood is swifter and more brutal than she could have ever imagined.

Gracie meets Tony, who arouses such feelings in her that she has never experienced before - not with Joe her regular beau who considers her his girl. Then, one night, one mistake, and she realises she is carrying Joe's child.

And now Tony has gone to war.


Gracie’s War is a story set during World War II about the life of Gracie and the struggles and fears she faces as a result of one mistake she made on her 21st birthday. I love history and enjoy novels based around this time, so was excited when I was offered an ARC copy of Gracie’s War.

Elaine Everest has written the story in such a way that it highlights the hardships that families faced during wartime, but doesn’t leave you feeling like you are reading a history textbook. The story follows Gracie’s life as she faces the consequences of becoming entangled in a life with Joe Johnson. Immediately as Joe is introduced to the reader I took a strong disliking to him. He is a very cocky and arrogant character and always left me feeling uncomfortable with the way he acted towards Gracie. Joe has no respect for Gracie or her family and I found his behaviour towards her repulsive. My heart broke for Gracie when her life became tied to his, as the reader knows how Gracie really feels and all you want is happiness for her. As the reader you find yourself frustrated that Gracie ever let herself get involved with Joe, but Elaine’s writing makes you very aware that as the war had begun women were being left at home, and every woman growing up at this time was concerned with finding a husband and starting a family of their own. When Gracie found herself all alone whilst her friends around her were falling in love and getting married, you can understand why she had her moment of weakness with Joe.

I love Elaine’s representation of Gracie’s family. They have such a strong connection and a real respect for one another. They stand by each other through thick and thin; although the moral code in society at this time finds this connection being put to the test.

One of my favourite characters is Peggy, Gracie’s best friend. A very positive character, she is always there for Gracie and helps her out any way that she can. A really admirable quality of hers is that she never judges Gracie and stands by her with an unfaltering loyalty.

And then there is Tony *swoon*. From the moment Gracie meets him you can feel the special connection between them, although this makes Gracie’s situation even more heart breaking. Throughout the story I found myself hoping and praying that they would be together one day, and Elaine keeps the reader in suspense at every meeting as it is always left uncertain and unresolved.

Elaine writes in a very familiar way which makes the characters come to life and seem more real and enables you to understand and empathise with them. Gracie is such a likeable character and you really feel for her when her life takes a turn for the worst. No woman deserves what Gracie suffers, no matter what mistakes they have made.

I really enjoyed reading Gracie’s War – it is a very quick, easy read, as long as you can keep track of the time jumps, and Elaine’s writing style is a real page-turner. I did find myself wishing the story was longer and that it elaborated on certain events on many occasions, but at the same time I can appreciate how the pace of the narrative mimics how the war interrupts people’s lives and forces people to put feelings and relationships on hold. My only criticism would be that I spotted a number of grammar mistakes within the story – that’s the proof reader in me crying out – but this doesn’t take anything away from the enjoyment of reading the story.

I would definitely recommend Gracie’s War, not only to those who enjoy stories based around the war, but anyone who enjoys a drama story about a woman facing the struggles of her time and trying to come out fighting.

A story of desperation, great friendships and a fight for true love.

About the Author:

Elaine Everest is a freelance writer and lives in Swanley, Kent with her husband Michael and Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry. She has written over sixty short stories for women’s magazines worldwide. Her features have appeared in publications ranging from The Guardian, The Daily Express and the Daily Mail to My Weekly and Your Dog. Her opinion pieces have led to many appearances on radio including chatting to Jenni Murray on Woman’s Hour about having a husband under her feet all day long. Elaine has written numerous columns for canine publications centred around her expertise in the world of dogs. This has led to commissions to write three successful books for dog owners.

Elaine’s successful writing life led her to become a qualified teacher for adult education. Four years ago she founded The Write Place creative writing school and holds regular classes at The Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford Kent.

Elaine was BBC Radio Short Story Writer of the Year in 2003, short listed for The Harry Bowling Prize in 2012, Short listed for The Festival of Romance novel competition in 2012 and winner of the Myrmidon Books (Pulse Romance) Write for Us competition in 2013.

Gracie’s War is her first published novel and is set in North West Kent where she grew up. A member of the Romantic Novelist Association, Elaine is a graduate of the RNA New Writers Scheme. Gracie’s War is short listed for their Joan Hessayon Award in 2014.

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  1. Love your review Jess. Thank you for taking part in Elaine's tour.


  2. It was my pleasure Shaz and I am glad you enjoyed the review. I really enjoyed the book :) xx

  3. Jess I too enjoyed thou book very much. It was a beautiful story and really took you into a very trying time for those that had to endure such hardships during the war years. I loved the characters in this book but as you I would have liked more detail in some ares and more flow from one event to the next.

    Great review and a good read.

    Thanks for the review and recommendation.


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