Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock
ISBN: 9780764210464 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261496 (ebook)
ASIN: B00B85M16C (Kindle edition)
Publication date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people." They aren't lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
Meet the Cast of Sweet Mercy
by Ann Tatlock
Eve Marryat, our narrator, is a likeable 17-year-old girl who really only has one major flaw: she's a bit smug. She'll tell you so herself, though she's much older than 17 when she’s willing to admit to it. She's a loyal and loving daughter to her parents, Drew and Rose Marryat, though she's rather critical of sister Cassandra, who was drawn to the life of speakeasies, hip flasks and illicit love affairs that catapulted her into marriage and motherhood sooner than she had hoped.
Drew is laid off from the Ford Plant in Minnesota and the family is invited by Cyrus Marryat, Drew's brother, to return to Ohio and help him run the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge. Eve is happy to leave crime-ridden St. Paul (and sister Cassandra) behind to go live in idyllic Mercy, Ohio. Uncle Cy seems like a hero to Eve, but there's more to him than meets the proverbial eye.
In Mercy, Eve befriends Marlene Quimby, who introduces Eve to her first love, Marcus Wiant. Marcus is the son of the sheriff and works with Marlene's boyfriend, Jimmy Fludd, at the gas station across from the lodge.
Two more young men enter Eve's life, the first being her step-cousin Jones, a reclusive albino who lives and works at the lodge. The second is a fellow she knows only by the name of Link, a drifter who lives at the shantytown up the river and comes by the lodge occasionally for a hot meal and a cold drink.
In spite of Eve's best hopes, the island is not so idyllic, the lodge is full of secrets, and no one is quite what Eve thinks they are, including Eve herself. The summer of 1931 is a season of discovery for Eve, and a time when she comes to know the meaning of sweet mercy.
From Chapter 1:
"Well, that’s easy," I said. "It's easy to love Uncle Cy." After all, he was my ticket out. He was my ticket to a new life. We were leaving the city of sin behind. No more bootleggers, brothel-keepers, gangsters, corrupt lawmen, kidnappers, or murderers. We were on our way to Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge in Mercy, Ohio, on the Little Miami River. We were on our way to the Promised Land.
Daddy gave me one more glance in the rearview mirror before settling his eyes on the road for the long haul ahead. Mother wiped at tears one last time before resignedly stuffing her handkerchief back into her pocketbook. She turned her face to the window, her features delicate and gentle in profile, her soft brown hair pulled into its usual knot at the back of her head.
I too settled back for the ride. As the newly awakened Minnesota landscape rolled by, I noticed the morning edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the seat beside me. Clear of the city limits and facing the long stretch of open road toward Wisconsin, I picked up the paper to pass the time. When I saw an advertisement on page six for Wilson Tailors, I shook my head and clicked my tongue softly. Even the tailors were making money from the fallout of St. Paul's sleazy underworld. In bold type the proprietor, Mr. Edmund Wilson, boasted: "Bullet holes rewoven perfectly in damaged clothes."
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.
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Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep
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