From its opening dedication to the late Clare Henderson, I wondered if Emma Henderson was writing this story from personal experience. When I finished it this afternoon a quick search revealed that indeed her older sister had been institutionalized for decades and here some years after her death Emma was giving her a voice through the vehicle of fiction.
"How many brothers and sisters have you got?"
"Two brothers and two sisters, but one of them doesn’t count."
That’s what I used to say, as a child, about my sister. Defective, deficient, physically handicapped, mentally subnormal. Those words whirled in my head, but so did the grim semi-silence that met my questions about the sister who lived in a mental hospital, which we visited, and which terrified me. Article from Daily Mail.
This is a beautiful, heart-breaking novel which at times was quite difficult to read given some of the things that take place in the mental hospital but I am glad I did. One is left with an impression of love, from her family, some of Grace's fellow patients and especially the central love story between Grace and sweet Daniel.