ACT OF GRACE– A Novel
When Grace Johnson, a bright, perceptive African American high school senior, saves the life of a Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore, everyone in her hometown of Vigilant, Michigan wants to know why. Few people, black or white, understand her act of sacrifice especially since rumor holds that years ago a member of the Gilmore family murdered several African -Americans including Grace’s father. Grace wants to remain silent on the matter; however, she discovers the decision to speak is not hers to make. Ancestors spirits emerge in visions and insist she bear witness to her town’s violent racial history so that all involved might transcend it.
Grace begins a journal, but she warns readers upfront that if they are looking for a simple or rational explanation for her actions then they need to look elsewhere. She knows that accounts of her ability to speak to the dead and an ancient god named Oba will be hard for most people to believe. With insight shaped by the wisdom found in African American mythology and the book, The Velveteen Rabbit, Grace recounts a story of eye-for-an-eye vengeance that has blinded entire generations in her hometown.
Faced with history’s festering wounds and the crimes that have disfigured her life Grace struggles with questions about forgiveness. Haunted by anger and trauma, she wonders if she can live up to the true meaning of her name and lead Mr. Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a journey toward reconciliation and redemption.