“Family-fracturing secrets are at the heart of Lent’s luminous third novel, a transcendent story about the healing power of love and art…. This sympathetic depiction of a decent man wrestling with his demons while deciding whether to revive an old love or open himself to a new lover is … magisterial and beautifully written.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Poignant . . . In its broadest outline, A Peculiar Grace is a conventional romantic tale.. . . But it’s also a tale about the consolations of meaningful work. . . . Lent has been compared with Faulkner . . . [He] can describe everyday things—a grape harvest, a dirtroad—with fresh, vivid language. He’s also good on the inner life of the middle-aged man: ‘His reveries and regrets, his sudden bursts of energy set against a general feeling of fatigue and winding down.’”
—The Denver Post
“Another intense exploration of family ties, doomed love, and existential questing from talented, risk-taking Lent . . . As always, Lent writes compellingly of people untangling their pasts and striving to elucidate their connection to the world as well as each other.. . . Sensitively developed characters and gorgeous prose will keep most admirers of serious American fiction engaged.” ––Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Lent presents a commanding present-day drama of rootedness and disconnection, desire and fear, inheritance and freedom. . . . Lent has forged a many-faceted plot, vital characters, convincing psychology, and finely articulated spiritual musings. . . . Lent’s prose is lustrous—rich in supple dialogue and finely patterned imagery. Echoing the rhapsodic
specificity and gravitas of Steinbeck and Kent Haruf, Lent has constructed a resolute tale of paradise lost and found.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Lent made his name with the generational saga In the Fall, and his second novel, Lost Nation, also possessed a historical sweep. In this book, he tightens his focus. . . . Lent retains his ability to draw full, fascinating characters. Emily provides a memorable portrait of the shocked early days of grief. Anger, remorse, and fragility battle within her as she eludes Hewitt’s attempts to turn her into an object of affection. . . . Jessica grows in complexity, too, proving herself capable of a wisdom that far outstrips the much older Hewitt. . . . And Hewitt’s long-dead father, a successful but reclusive artist, also turns
out to be a memorable character, his tragic early life animating much of the book’s current action.”
—The Washington Post
A Peculiar Grace is an unforgettable tale of obsession, inspiration, and tragedy in a family of New England artists, by an author with “the absolute mastery to create his own reality” —Jim Harrison
Acclaimed novelist Jeffrey Lent’s A Peculiar Grace was hailed by Howard Frank Mosher as “the best book to date by one of the two or three most gifted American novelists since William Faulkner.” It is a timeless tale of love, destruction, and rebirth through artistry set in modernday Vermont.
Hewitt Pearce is a forty-three-year-old blacksmith who lives alone in his family home, producing custom ironwork and safeguarding a small collection of art his late father left behind. When Jessica, a troubled young vagabond, appears in his backwoods one morning fleeing her demons, Hewitt’s previously hermetic existence is suddenly challenged—more so when he learns that Emily, the love of his life whom he’d lost twenty years before, has been unexpectedly widowed. As he gradually uncovers the secrets of Jessica’s past and tries to win Emily’s trust again, Hewitt must confront his own dark history and his family’s, and rediscovers how much he’s craved human connection. The more he reflects on the heartbreaking losses that nearly destroyed both him and his father, however, the more Hewitt realizes that his art may offer a deliverance that no love or faith truly can.