Skip to Content

Amazing Grace Adams: Summary and Ending Explained

amazing_grace_adams_book_club_questions

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood is a modern fiction story about a day in the life of Grace Adams, a 45-year-old woman.

The plot revolves around Grace’s relationships with her 16-year-old daughter, Lotte Kerr, and her husband, Ben Kerr. The author, Littlewood, unfolds Grace’s past, revealing traumatic experiences like an unexpected pregnancy, the loss of her second child, and efforts to save her marriage amid grief.

Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood
amazing_grace_adams_book

This book has been chosen as a Read with Jenna book club pick and quickly topped the charts as a New York Times bestseller, becoming one of Amazon’s best books of the year in 2023.

Summary | Ending Explained | Book Club Questions

Amazing Grace Adams Summary

In 21st-century London, Grace Adams, aged 45, finds herself stuck in traffic on a hot afternoon. She’s on her way to her daughter Lotte’s 16th birthday party at her estranged husband Ben Kerr’s house. Despite their strained relationship, Grace is determined to deliver a cake she ordered, hoping it will mend things with Lotte. Growing increasingly upset in her car due to menopausal symptoms, Grace abandons the vehicle and decides to walk to the bakery and Ben’s house.

During her walk through North London, Grace reflects on her past through interspersed flashback chapters. At 28, she participated in a polyglot competition, where she met Ben. Despite a night together, Grace, focused on her career, didn’t pursue a relationship.

Discovering her pregnancy, she and Ben decided to start a family. Grace unexpectedly fell in love with her daughter Lotte, and later, they had a second daughter, Bea. Tragically, Bea died in an accident, leading Grace to grapple with the grief. Despite the tragedy, Grace tried to move forward, working as a translator and assistant teacher.

Despite Grace’s efforts to focus on her relationship with Lotte, their connection hit a breaking point. Lotte’s behavior took a troubling turn—she started skipping classes, withdrawing from her parents, and becoming consumed by social media.

Grace, worried but hesitant to intervene, feared driving Lotte further away. The situation reached a shocking climax when Grace discovered Lotte kissing her teacher, Nate Karlsson, in an alley. Lotte pleaded for secrecy, promising to end the relationship. Although Grace initially agreed, she eventually reported Nate to the school. This action led to Lotte moving in with Ben, who had recently left Grace and initiated divorce proceedings.

As Grace navigated through London, her frustrations escalated, resulting in various altercations, such as disrupting a pharmacy display. Arriving at the bakery, she was disappointed to find a small, expensive cake. Carrying it down the street, she encountered a boy on a scooter, triggering painful memories of Bea’s tragic death. Overwhelmed, she opened old photos on her phone, but the iCloud footage intensified her grief. Trying to focus on the present, Grace boarded a train, where an incident of harassment prompted her to defend herself.

Upon reaching Ben’s house, Grace confronted Lotte about their troubled relationship, pleading for forgiveness and acknowledging her mistakes. In a tearful moment, Lotte expressed her desire to come home. However, Grace’s tumultuous day caught up with her as she was arrested for the series of misdeeds. The court sentenced her to 100 hours of community service.

Over the following six months, Grace committed to healing and renewal. Her relationship with Lotte gradually improved, and she finally had a conversation with Ben about Bea. In the end, Grace realizes that she and her family will be alright.

Amazing Grace Adams Ending Explained

Lets go through the most important events at the very end of the novel. In chapter 52, Grace arrives at Ben’s house with the bloody cake, struggling with emotions and memories of Lotte’s and Bea’s childhood. Despite police officers arriving due to reports of Grace’s wrongdoings, she chooses to talk to Lotte.

Grace apologizes for past mistakes and the breakdown of their relationship. Lotte, moved by Grace’s sincerity, expresses a desire to live with her again. Ignoring police orders, Grace is tased, but she laughs and realizes that she, Lotte, and her family will be okay.

What happens then is narration shifts to Ben’s perspective. Grace is mandated to complete 100 hours of community service. During a visit from Lotte and Ben, the family discusses their lives and the impact of Bea’s death on their relationship.

Ben confesses his past blame on Grace for Bea’s death, releasing tension between them. After Ben and Lotte leave, they agree that Grace is an impressive woman. Grace returns to her work, focusing on taking one moment at a time, indicating her journey towards healing and redemption.

Overall, in the last part of the story, new information about Bea’s death changes the way we understand Grace’s actions during her journey across London. Grace’s intense reaction to the driver in Chapter 46 is not just frustration from the day’s events, Ben’s infidelity, or Lotte’s estrangement. It’s tied directly to how Bea died.

We only find out about this as Grace herself starts healing, suggesting that facing the past is crucial for her recovery. Throughout the novel, Grace avoids dealing with her trauma to avoid sorrow and grief. However, as her challenging day unfolds, she can’t ignore her loss, and her untended feelings lead to unpredictable behavior and emotional outbursts. More than just facing sorrow, moving forward for Grace means acknowledging the guilt she feels about Bea’s death. She has avoided grieving because letting go would mean releasing herself from blame.

The author, Littlewood, uses imagery and symbolism to depict Grace’s journey toward healing. In Chapter 50, Lotte accuses Grace of being a bad mother, and Grace, feeling guilt, washes her hands repeatedly, trying to cleanse herself of sin. This cleaning motif reappears in Chapter 51, where Grace is cleaning the bath, symbolizing her guilt over the breakdown of her marriage. In Chapter 52, literal blood on a cake box represents sin and guilt, tarnishing hope and innocence, much like Grace feels she destroyed Bea.

Although Grace’s arrest and community service are not directly related to Bea’s death, they force Grace to confront herself and seek renewal. The police arriving at Ben’s house signifies justice catching up with her. The experience of being arrested and charged with community service makes Grace reflect on her actions.

When taken away by the police in Chapter 52, Grace sees that she’s okay and will be okay, indicating a newfound hope. This hopefulness, uncommon for Grace, suggests a change of heart and outlook. Chapter 53 further shows that Grace’s encounter with the law has sparked self-reflection and internal change. Her discussion with Ben about Bea’s death becomes a turning point, marking her journey towards redemption and a fresh start as she learns to forgive herself and others.

Happy reading! ❤️