Yesterday I found this lovely review of Winter of Grace. My favourite part:
Winter of Grace is something that I've searched for a long while: a realistic novel with a sense of the divine, of a layer deeper than this material world. That was something I'd expected to find only in either mediocre realistic fiction (from "Christian" publishers), or in genre fiction.Winter of Grace is the lowest selling and least-reviewed of my books, but every review of it that I've come across has been so thoughtful and heartfelt that it makes me want to cry. A non-partisan book about a teenager's experience of religion was always going to be a tough sell, and I'm so grateful that the Girlfriend Fiction series provided me with a place to talk about spirituality and young adulthood in a way that wasn't going to scare the horses.
Bridie's story feels true to my own life, as it acknowledges a desire for God and a search for belief without chaining it down to the censored words and content of so-called "Christian" publishing. It's real, but not the sort of reality that the mainstream problem novels show me: the bleak landscape of modern life, a world gone wrong with little to restore it.
Winter of Grace is presented as a friendship story, as the tale of two girls whose friendship begins to fracture under adolescent searches for love and belief and values. And it is that, but it's also much more. This is a simple book that is not simple at all; that is honest about good and bad alike; that talks about searching but gives no easy answers.
Winter of Grace will be available in the US next year (I think!) as part of the repackaged series (Always Mackenzie is already out). It will be interesting to see if there's a stronger response to it in a more religiously-inclined country; though, as pointed out above, it's probably not what a 'Christian' market is looking for, either.
It's never going to be a bestseller (to put it mildly) but I am very, very glad to have written it, and to know that it's finding readers who appreciate it.