Grace Carter’s family doesn’t know what to make of her—or her gift. In This I Know, debut author Eldonna Edwards captures both the ordinary and extraordinary about Grace, who—aside from her clairvoyance, which she calls “the Knowing”—is a typical prepubescent girl making the perplexing transition to young womanhood. The Knowing makes her an oddity to most people but is a lifeline for some, such as those who wish to talk to a lost child or want to know the secrets of the past and future.
Grace’s mama shares her daughter’s clairvoyance, but the depression that’s been weighing on her since her sixth child’s birth, coupled with lingering grief over the loss of Grace’s twin brother, Isaac, keeps her spirit locked away. Grace’s dad’s zeal for his position as pastor of the Church of the Word obscures all else. Her three sisters have little patience for her. Her older sister Joy, ever the pragmatic one, even tries to make money off of Grace’s gift once or twice.
In a pitch-perfect voice, Edwards captures Grace’s struggles to understand the pain of those around her as she deals with her own, especially her desire to be loved unconditionally by her father. Grace displays a wellspring of compassion—for the homeless man who sometimes squats in her family’s barn, for families who have lost loved ones and especially for her mama, whom she desperately wants back from the grips of depression.
Like Grace, Edwards is the daughter of a preacher, and this write-what-you-know aspect lends This I Know a depth of feeling and honesty. Edwards’ conversational style and the first-person diaristic tone create an enveloping warmth that draws the reader in.