Worth a look: But for the Grace


Families can be places where we are at our most essential.

But For The Grace coverIn that intimacy there may be no place to hide any scars we carry, and any damage we do to others is raw-edged. In her first book, But for the Grace, Gaye Sutton brings us right into the homes and hearts of a group of strong characters that it’s impossible not to be moved by. 

Leah Gunn runs a group for women living in violent relationships. She’s funded by government and Leah’s client-centred approach comes up against requirements of quality and risk management, the need for evidence of “best practice” working, and the role of academics and officials in deciding what works best. Everyone means well, but this good will is easily lost as Leah fights to maintain both funding and the integrity of what she’s trying to do.

Each of the women in the group has their own story, told in their own words through journal extracts and through the perceptions of their partners and of those who work to support them. But for the Grace is set in the 1990s and while each woman’s story reflects this, there is also something timeless and universal about them that asks us why more that needs to change has not.

This is a book that will resonate and provoke thought in anyone who has worked with women, children or men affected by violence. It’s also a meditation on relationships, power and the boundaries people put around themselves in these most intimate settings. It’s a good read that will hook you with the warmth and honesty of the characters that carry the story along.

But for the Grace

Gaye Sutton, Fraser Books, 2015

$39.50

Available from: www.storyweaver.co.nz/product/but-for-the-grace/ and www.womensbookshop.co.nz/products/980467-ButForTheGrace-9780992247652