Book 1: Tides of Grace
Grace Ellen Lampley, smartest senior in the class of 1908 at Central High in St. Louis, fears the future because she has been so deeply hurt in the past. Strong and beautiful, she is intensely romantic but wary of love, and she must struggle to break the grip of emotionally stifling childhood trauma. Part One of Tides of Grace, “Summer 1907,” sees Grace’s fortunes rising despite her many fears. She arranges a love affair for her best friend, wins a blue ribbon for her home garden at the St. Louis Fair, and learns she may be able to go to college. In Part Two, “Juliet,” Grace is cast in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but, that part of herself she cannot control lures her into an affair that could ruin her life.
Book 2: Redeeming Grace
It is 1912 and Grace Lampley has returned to St. Louis to work as a clerk in a real estate office. Ever wary of romance, she enjoys a single life in the city’s parks, nickelodeons and dance halls. That is, until she meets Ray Dobbins, who has come to St. Louis from New York to manage a new theatre. She is captivated by his tenderness and sweetness and awed by the glamorous company he keeps, so she accepts his proposal of marriage. Deeply buried memories of Grace’s childhood sexual trauma fill her with fear and self-doubt. These feelings nearly destroy the marriage, but it survives a move to New York. Ray is promoted, and Grace goes to work for theatre mogul, Jacob J. Shubert. Her world explodes with excitement, and she gradually emerges to full awareness of her strength and identity. She also begins to recognize her hidden desires and to act on them. Grace and Ray blossom until war separates them. Will the war end soon enough?
Book 3: Wings of Grace
1921 brings the dawning of President Harding’s “Age of Normalcy.” The people forget the world war’s hard lessons and return to the old ways of unfettered greed and intolerance. A bigoted few drive Grace Dobbins and her beloved Anita away from their edenic retreat on Long Island. Grace reluctantly returns to the glittering but corrupt world of the Broadway theatre. Anita joins her in New York City, but she finds an even truer love, a man she marries. Grace copes with her loss by re-making herself as a “sophisticated lady” and the right handof a powerful titan of the twentieth century stage. She routinely courts danger by flying the wood and fabric airplanes of her day and by becoming a celebrated wingwalker. The acute dangers of her aerial escapades prepare her for the most perilous stunt of her life when she sets out to avenge the wrongs she believes her rich and powerful bosses have perpetrated on her loved ones.