“You’re not like us. You’ll never be like us…Here’s the ugly truth- some people are ordinary. The best of them at least have the intelligence to know it.”
This is my favorite quote from British author, Laure Eve’s newest, The Graces. The Graces follows a town’s obsession with it’s most mythical family- The Graces. The five of them are rumored to be witches. Esther and Gwydion are the parents. They have three children. Fenrin and Thalia are the twins- ethereal and magnetic. They go through friends like expensive clothing- a new favorite every week. The youngest is Summer, who is anything but her charismatic siblings. She calls herself a witch. They live in an unreachable beachside mansion with a mind of its own.
While the mystery around the Grace family is said to be because they are witches, many undertones in the novel suggest that is not the case. The unnamed California beach town where the story takes place consists of residents that would be labelled middle class on a good day. The Grace family however is old money rich. They are, as one of them said in the quote above, a whole different breed. They chug expensive bottles of French wine without thought and throw wildly elaborate parties for every occasion. Their relatives are senators and movie stars. Everyone in town, especially new girl River, seems to have an unnatural obsession with them.
“Grace birthday parties had been legendary… mothers around town would pray that their child would get an invitation so they could come, too, and lounge in Esther Grace’s spacious French kitchen, drinking cocktails in slender flutes and stealing glances at her pretty husband.”
River is desperate to be a Grace. She daydreams incessantly about Fenrin’s lips and becoming Summer’s best friend. She succeeds in befriending Summer, but their relationship is so unnerving and toxic it’s sometimes hard to read. When something goes wrong with Fenrin however, River is thrown from Summer’s side. The Grace family immediately closes ranks, and when they do, there’s no getting in their way.
At it’s core, The Graces is a novel about power. Being born in to it, seeking it, and what you’re supposed to do when you find it. While the Grace family may not be magic, they certainly bear an eerie resemblance to the mythical one percent of old money Americans, and how the rest of us are so captivated by them.