Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book 106: SWEET MERCY Review

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?

Eve Marryat is a young woman with fervent beliefs. She lives her life in black and white and has tremendous problems accepting that the world has lots of grey areas. She strongly believes that prohibition is good for everyone, criminals are always evil, and that all wrongs must be punished. After witnessing a gang-related shooting on the streets of St. Paul, Minnesota and her father's job loss, Eve and her parents move to Mercy, Ohio. Eve's father has been given a job working with his older brother at the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge. Eve and her mother are also given tasks to help in the operation of the lodge. Eve presumes that Mercy, Ohio is a long away from the societal ills she experienced in Minnesota and begins to enjoy her life at the lodge. She has a boyfriend for the first time in her life and is surrounded by family and new friends in an idyllic setting. Regrettably reality intrudes on Eve's rosy world and she must ultimately decide if she can accept the shades of grey within the lives of her loved ones or destroy her family's refuge.

Ms. Tatlock paints a vivid picture of rural life during the Depression era. She doesn't sugarcoat the unpleasantness but rather presents it as is without prejudice. Eve may be a typical teenage girl in the 1930s but she seems to lack guile and have a certain naïveté about life and the real world. She has judged the gangsters in Minnesota and deemed them corrupt and evil. She has judged her older sister's behavior and found it lacking in morality. Now she is faced with judging those she has become very close to, namely her uncle Cy. It is in small town Mercy, Ohio that Eve learns not to be so quick to judge and accept people for what they are, warts and all. Sweet Mercy is a coming of age story where the main character, Eve Marryat, learns acceptance without prejudice and the true meaning of mercy. I found Sweet Mercy to be an engrossing and fast read (my only interruptions were caused by severe migraine headaches). The characters are all easy to relate to and realistic. The setting of the lodge and Mercy, Ohio makes for an ideal backdrop for Eve's story. If you enjoy reading uplifting historical fiction, then add Sweet Mercy to your reading list.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley and Book Blasts & Blog Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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