Mercy Come Morning
Originally Released as Christmas Every Morning
As far as contemporary novels go, Lisa Bergren has always been one of my favorite authors. I love her laid-back, yet interesting, style of writing that has just enough romantic tension to fulfill my occasional romance novel fix. Mercy Come Morning was such a book, and while it was originally released as Christmas Every Morning (a title I'd read long ago, but had forgotten), I was glad to have had the opportunity to reread it.
This is not a novel for everyone...let me just say that up front. The main character, Krista, has some deep emotional scars as a result of her relationship with her mother, and as her mother is reaching death's door after a long Alzheimer's illness, she struggles to find a way to set everything to rights before it's too late. If not for a book full of Christmas carols filled with hastily scratched notes from her mother, Krista might have never known why the relationship between her and her mother failed.
I found the imagery of "Christmas every morning" the perfect backdrop for this story. Sometimes, during the Christmas season, we hear so many of the same songs over and over again, but may not allow the words to penetrate our hearts. I know I'm certainly guilty of that. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Oh, Holy Night" now have a new meaning to me personally because of their inclusion in this story.
For those wanting to read Mercy Come Morning, be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Lisa penned some truly beautiful scenes between Krista and her mother that had me tearing up more than once. I have no doubt that this novel has ministered to many people both in the original release and the re-release--those dealing with a family member with Alzheimer's, or even those dealing with a recent death. It was a difficult story to begin, but one that has a bittersweet, yet joyous, conclusion.
January 15, 2013
Lisa Tawn Bergren pens a story of a young woman, Krista, and her relationship with her mother, Charlotte, who suffers from AlzheimerÃ¢ÂÂs disease. It is obvious from the beginning of the novel that Krista does not have a close relationship with her mother. Krista seems very resigned towards her mother and holds much against her. When she finds out that her mother is close to going home to heaven, Krista makes the reluctant trip to her hometown. The author proceeds to unravel the mystery behind KristaÃ¢ÂÂs feelings toward her mother as well as allow the audience to follow KristaÃ¢ÂÂs journey into discovering who her mother really was. Along this journey, you will meet a couple of characters that I found truly endearing, Dane, a childhood friend and beau, and Elena, a confidante and friend. Christmas is a major theme in this story as it is set as the time of year in which the story takes place.
This novel is about forgiveness, healing, and relationships. The story is a bit fast-paced; however, it is still a wonderful read with a great message.
Note: I have received a free copy of this book from Multnomah Books in exchange for a review.
April 1, 2012
Sad story with happy endiing
I was unsure how I would like this story Ã¢ÂÂ after all itÃ¢ÂÂs about a woman saying goodbye to her mother who has had AlzheimerÃ¢ÂÂs for a very long time and is now dying of congestive heart failure. DoesnÃ¢ÂÂt sound like a very happy or uplifting read. But it is.
Krista Mueller has had a rough life Ã¢ÂÂ she never knew her father, her grandparents died when she was 10, her mom was emotionally distant and then during her teen years became noticeably mentally unstable. It wasnÃ¢ÂÂt until Krista was in college that her mom was diagnosed with AlzheimerÃ¢ÂÂs.
Charlotte was over 40 when Krista was born and hadnÃ¢ÂÂt had an easy life either. Krista never understood her mother and had never tried to understand her. But now Charlotte is dying and Krista realizes she needs to find some healing and let her go.
Dane McConnell is the director of the nursing home and a childhood friend of Krista. They even dated in high school, but something happened between them and then Krista could never bring herself to get too close to him again. Even though he still deeply cares for her.
Dane found an old Christmas song book amongst CharlotteÃ¢ÂÂs possessions with journal entries in it. Through the handful of entries Krista allows herself to think about her momÃ¢ÂÂs life from a different perspective and find healing.
The story jumps between the present and the past frequently and itÃ¢ÂÂs rather confusing. Krista is a history professor so she remembers facts and events that took place around the time of each of her momÃ¢ÂÂs journal entries. Which is neat, but itÃ¢ÂÂs hard to follow the timeline.
I would have found it helpful to know at the beginning that Charlotte was over 40 when Krista was born and that the story takes place in about 2002 (when the book was originally written Ã¢ÂÂ it was first published under the title Christmas Every Morning). So now you know. Hope it helps.
There are a few sweet kisses and the reader is told of some immoral choices and an instance of sexual abuse but no details are given. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a sweet story of a daughter trying to understand her mother. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a sad story of a woman once full of life now close to death. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a realistic story of a woman coming to grips with her painful past and figuring out how to face her future.
March 25, 2012
slow moving character study
Krista's mother was dying...but only physically. That's what she told herself when she received the call from the Alzheimer care facility. They wanted her to visit. There was still time, they said. Time for what? For conversation? In Krista's mind, her mother had died a long time ago.
And if she went to visit her mother, she'd have to face her high school flame, Dane. He had conceived of and ran the facility that did everything possible to make the last years of Alzheimer patients as pleasant as possible. She'd have to go back home to Taos after deliberately staying away all these years.
But Dane talked her into it. She took leave from her teaching and made the drive.
As the novel progresses, we learn that Krista was born late in her mother's life and Krista was only college age when her mother needed extra care because of the memory loss. We also find out that Krista's youth was difficult with her mother often gone to bars and her father totally absent.
There is much Krista must face before her mother dies. A book was found in which Krista's mother had kept a journal of sorts. As Krista reads the entries and realizes her mother's struggles, she begins to heal the distance between them. Even as her mother has forgotten so much, Krista begins to remember.
Dane still loves Krista, after all these years. But can she overcome the hurt she suffered from one of her mother's boyfriends?
This is a character driven novel. We get to know Krista and she how she has made a life for herself, but at an emotional cost. There is a protective wall from past hurts that must be breached if Krista is to be reconciled to her mother. And there must also be forgiveness.
We learn about the Alzheimer facility and how rooms and walkways have been created especially for their patients' well-being. We also learn a bit about the Indians of the area and their Christmas customs.
This is a slow moving book but is worth the read in the end.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
February 13, 2012