In an isolated village in Garner County, girls are banished at sixteen to the northern forest for a year. They have to endure the wilderness, brave each other and rid themselves of their dangerous magic before returning purified and ready to marry. All the women in the county have the same hairstyle - plaited down the back, displaying nothing to hide from men. White ribbons are for the young girls, red for the grace year girls, and black for the wives.
Tierney is paraded with other girls at the square on the veiling day, and twelve eligible boys will choose from thirty-three girls for their future wife. Then, they will join the men in the main barn to trade and barter the girls. Later, the fathers will deliver the veils to the awaiting girls in the church.
On the next day, the girls will leave for the grace year. Before they go, the boys will lift the veil of their chosen girl, promising them a marriage when they return from the grace year. Not everyone returns safely from the encampment after the grace year. The girls who are not chosen as wives will be banished to the outskirts after the grace year. During the grace year, poachers are waiting for any grace year girls who breaches the enclosure. They will skin the girl alive and sell their remains on the black market as an aphrodisiac and youth serum.
Tierney has already decided to work in the fields. She prepares for the freedom she is yearning for but is unexpectedly given a veil to be someone’s wife. The worse is she needs to call someone that she despises all this time as a husband. After the horror of being chosen as a wife, another surprising twist is when she finds out that her future husband is not who she thinks. Now she has to change her plan to survive the grace year to return safely. Not everyone can return from the encampment in one piece.
Tierney always has different thoughts about her parents. But when she faces the countless challenges in the encampment, she realises that her family has been preparing her life with all the required knowledge and survival skills. Nobody can reveal anything about the grace year when they return to the village. Tierney’s courage and self-confidence are inspiring. She firmly refuses to accept the superstitious beliefs and the existence of magic if she can't feel it.
The writing is beautifully poetic, and the diction is brilliant. I’m not a romance novel fan, but the romance, loveship, and tight bonds in the story really touched my heart. The characters are just gracefully falling in love with such a pure and simple heart.
ISBN: 9781473582699 (ebook)
Number of Pages: 383
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
More reviews can be found on Goodreads: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett.