Cracking Grace questions the very basic concepts of spirituality through the eyes of Audrey, a young girl in the midst of a tragedy—and through the eyes of Mary, a seemingly lifeless cemetery statue.
As her father slips into madness, Audrey is left to explore a secret world for answers to her loss. Aided by her faithful companion, a bluebird named Bluebell, Mary sets out on her own mission of discovery—despite chiding from the other residents of the cemetery: the cynical Jesus; two wisecracking gargoyles; and the eccentric ghost Mrs. Grant, a curmudgeonly old woman trapped among the graves.
Part fable, part dark fantasy, Cracking Grace is the story of loss and of newfound friendships for a young, wounded girl. It’s the story of a father bound to the flesh, unable to accept death. It’s the story of a woman trapped in stone, determined to understand her existence.
“Cracking Grace is an unusual, touching and ultimately uplifting novel that will leave you considering its themes for some time. This novel examines grief and coming to terms with loss and death. It deals with these kinds of feelings and experiences as much, if not more, than with metaphysical concepts. It’s attraction is in such things as the contrast between Mary’s unchanging, unmoving nature and the fragility of the mortal characters, and the opposition between the beauty Mary sees and the evil that exists.” –Warpcore Science Fiction & Fantasy
“Has an interesting edge to it. Imaginative, creative and well done.” –ArtistFirst Radio
“I really enjoyed the originality of this tale. It appealed to me for its depictions of the desperation and tragedy that can plague reality, coupled with the unknowing and lack of change and growth that can ruin the land of fantasy. Stromp has deftly mixed humor with depressing reality here and has also managed to squeeze in some deep philosophical musings without being didactic. If you are looking for a read that hides a lot of philosophical musing, with a waft of the ethereal and twinge or two of a modern fable, then I highly recommend giving this a go.” –The Bookshelf Gargoyle
“A delightfully tragic tale. The story is quite different and very charming. Stromp is a very good writer, and the narrative is always engaging. One of the most profound ideas in Cracking Grace was that with all of our ability to move and feel and learn about the world around us and the mysteries beyond, most people still know little more than a few cemetery statues about the meaning of life. Stromp brings a nice close to it all with a happier, if not somewhat morbid, ending.” –Podlings Book Reviews
“Takes you on a spiritual journey.” –Advance Newspapers
“This short tale is an interesting read. Cracking Grace will be a meaningful book for anyone struggling with grief or anyone who helps others who are struggling with grief. It was quite touching.” –Reader Views
Artwork by Shawn DuBois.