The Atherlings 1944

by Courtney Williamson Milford

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The action continues at Gracestone following the tumultuous ending of Graced 1943. Two Grace family members are in the hospital, and Amandia, the Grace family matriarch, reveals that she indirectly caused the catastrophe that sent them there.

Out in Los Alamos, Humboldt, Annelisa’s astrophysicist husband, learns that the wife of Oleg, the Soviet engineer he brought onto the project, is a spy. This reflects well on neither man, and is further complicated when she begs Humboldt for help getting her partly Jewish daughter, who no one knew existed, out of Budapest, where she has reason to believe the girl is in imminent danger.

Meanwhile, Henri and Cy discover that there are uninvited guests from two different places on the family’s secret private island, Cinq Terras. This requires their immediate attention, and the help of Arthur, the family’s specialist when it comes to matters involving the sea, to rectify.

Carlissa and Niko start high school, and the Jessup family arrives at Gracestone from Three Sails, Humboldt’s family ranch in California, where they had been hiding to avoid being shipped to internment camps for Americans of Japanese heritage. Henri, the Grace family patriarch and a Midasian Multiplyer, backs Joe Jessup in a construction business, which goes well. What goes poorly is Joe’s widowed sister-in-law’s brazen and ill-advised choice to become entangled with one of the married Graced men, who forgets who she is as soon as he remembers his own identity.

Also turning up are the ghost of a Grace family friend’s wife, who was murdered in Leningrad; Essie the nanny’s niece, Jessie Rae, who is an Incapacitator like Cy; and, Jessie’s violently spurned ex-love who happens to be the father of the child she is carrying.

There is a trip to Europe, which goes swimmingly, until the characters are forced to swim, literally. The ending is a cliffhanger that leads into the third book, The Train of Thought.

Anyone who has not read the first book in The Grace Family Chronicles will be able to pick up the story threads; thus, while it is a good idea to read the books in order, it is also fine to read The Atherlings 1944 without having read Graced 1943.