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Number of Pages: 272
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)|
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GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5An unusual historical fictionAugust 9, 2015GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4With a mix of nineteenth century tradition, customs, and superstition, a young woman's fears and flashbacks of the ugliness of her past, the sordidness of her present, and the uncertainties of her future, this tale mesmerizes the reader from beginning to end. If you are looking for a book with a touch of edginess, a poignant back story, and a painful journey toward the light, this book is for you.
Her name is Mercy, but she hates the word. She has heard it used and abused all too often, but experienced it seldom. The book's first two chapters sets the tone for the reader. The storyline begins in the middle at the cusp of Mercy Roller's 19 years, the turning point that thrust her forward into the uncertainties of a future while relentlessly reviewing her painful past until the baffled reader sees the pattern and begins rooting for her to heal and move on in life.
Not all of Mercy's flashbacks are painful. Some of them reveal to us the depth of her relationship with her best friend, Maddie. Maddie understood Mercy's troubling family life, nor was she blind to the Pastor's double standards and shifting image. She stood as a pillar of sanity for Mercy, silently supportive, always there to pick up the broken pieces of her friend's shattered self-worth, tirelessly easing Mercy back to normal. These flashbacks also revealed simultaneously the strength of Mercy's mother's protection as well as the weakness of a woman who stands by her man even during the torridness of his sick mind. The flashbacks showcased a cohesive community that maintained an unspoken code of honor, protecting each other from abuse, helping each other in the aftermath of violence. In essence, the author's authentic voice rips the bandage off the scabs to open our eyes to both the sordidness and the blossom of life as it truly existed. That makes this book a unique piece of historical fiction.
What I liked best about Cindy Sprole's novel is the honesty with which she portrays Appalachian life. She doesn't paint a fanciful picture of this segment of history. There 's no room for idealistic fantasies or perfection. Sometimes we readers tend to gloss over the past and call our version of it "simpler times." The truth is that there are no simple times. When people are involved, life becomes complex and usually delivers up starkness along side the beauty. When an author can tell a story with all its honest parts and yet instill hope and triumph into the message, we have a good story. Mercy's Rain is a good story.
The second element I like about Mercy's Rain is the balance the author incorporates. Once Mercy leaves the familiarity of her home, it becomes obvious she has trust issues. Eventually her travels lead her to a river where she rests a bit. She has gone beyond the place where she knows the landmarks. She meets young Samuel Stone there and he offers to accompany her to his friends' homestead, where they need some help. The young father lost his arm recently in an accident; Samuel was on his way to help the couple with their harvest. On the way, Mercy learns that Samuel is a pastor. Her first reaction is distrust because the only pastor she had ever known was her father. The remainder of the tale is like a study in contrasts as Mercy embarks on a healing journey. While settling into life on Terrance and Isabella Johnson's homestead, Samuel stays on to help her adjust to her new life. The author excels in writing gut-wrenching tension, anguish, triumphs and hope. Mercy's process of recovery balances her painful history very well.
While the book is beautifully written, I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable with the content of some of the back story and flashbacks. Some were graphic and reminded me that if these scenes were made into a movie, they would be rated PG-13 to R for the violence. For that reason, I advise caution for those readers with young children around. This book contains many gritty, unpleasant details. It's fine for young adults, but I don't recommend it for young teens. Overall, however, I give this book an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from LibraryThing.com on behalf of Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Anonymous5 Stars Out Of 5from FictionZeal.com re: Mercy's Rain by Cindy K. SprolesApril 26, 2015AnonymousQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0What is mercy? Whatever it is, Mercy Roller is tired of hearing her name called each time people pray openly to God to have mercy. She doesnt feel like shes received very much mercy from God in being born to a father who is a Pastor and yet is abusive in the name of the Lord. She ultimately kills him. She didnt set out to kill him, but in the baptism of Stanley Farmer in the Spring of 1897, Pastor Roller held him under the surface of the Indian River. With his legs weak from polio, Stanley couldnt fight to stand back up. The men who witnessed the baptism (and death) grabbed Roller; tied his hands behind his back; threw a rope over a tree; sat him on a horse and Mercy slapped the horses hind.
Her mother who had also been abused by Pastor kicked her daughter out. At nineteen, Mercy was on her own with nothing except the clothes upon her back and her horse, Slouch. She knows how to take care of herself; she knows how to hunt. In her journey from Wadalow Mountain, TN, she comes across Samuel Stone, a preacher, headed in the opposite direction on his way to see Pastor Roller. She immediately thinks the worst of him. Why should this Pastor be any different from the one shed known all her life?
Told in first person, Mercy says, Nothing had changed since I was a youngin. Even as a woman, I still cowered at the sound of his voice. But I was never the same after the morning Pastor took on judge, jury, and Jesus. I loved the rudimentary level at which this story goes to display human kind. The cruel, diabolic character of Pastor Roller is sharply contrasted with the moral and pure character of Samuel. As a preacher, he didnt just speak the word love. His actions were loving and tender but yet firm and resolute. Use of dialogue was very effective. I loved the spunk and backbone displayed by Mercy and how well the author showed us her pain and anguish through all of her actions, words, and thoughts. Parts of it are hard to read, but it is worth your effort. I seldom cry while reading a novel, but this one had tears flowing down my cheeks. Rating: 5 out of 5.
Bessybear5 Stars Out Of 5Mercy's RainMarch 18, 2015BessybearThis book was very hard to read but hard to put down. How a girl from a very dysfunctional family finds peace and salvation makes for a very good book.
NanceeGrand Rapids, MichiganAge: Over 65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A Story of Mercy and redemptionMarch 14, 2015NanceeGrand Rapids, MichiganAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5A debut novel, Mercy's Rain is a powerful life portrayal of a young girl whose father was "the pastor." Set in the late 1800s in the Appalachian Mountains Mercy's story unfolds. Mercy's childhood knew no mercy. The only child to "the pastor" and her momma, Mercy was a victim of child abuse. Her momma was unable help, existing in a living hell of her own.
Mercy's story is a difficult one to read and absorb, but the disclosures are substantial. Cindy Sproles has produced a disquieting and painful portrayal of the early years of Mercy Roller, and the agonizing acts her father executed to mold her into a good Christian. The heart breaks for Mercy, and at times for her momma, but you'll discover the devil incarnate in her father, "the pastor." Acts of atrocity occur throughout the telling of Mercy's story. I felt such emotion throughout this book, heartache, anger, misery, and revulsion.
This is a very detailed depiction of a young life that is destroyed by her own father. The depth of character is impressive, and detailed. This edgy Christian fiction story is told with grace and compassion. "Mercy's Rain" is all about mercy, forgiveness and redemption. This book is not for the weak of heart. It's a tough read, but the depth of faith and hope that carries the reader through this gut-wrenching tale is compelling.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5A RARE AND MOVING BOOKMarch 14, 2015MoonpiePRYORAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This book was more than a novel! The setting may be in the 1890s but the social issues that are involved in the story are still very relevant today: abuse, substance abuse, broken relationships, terminal illness and more. It doesnt just stop with the suffering and pain involved. The reader is drawn into feeling and experiencing the affects these things have on the lives of those facing such problems; their struggles and turmoil physically, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The author goes the full circle and also shows God working in such a wounded life. The reader also sees His love, guidance, healing, and comfort.
Mercy in her 20 years of living has faced more heartache and hardships that most people do in a lifetime. Her father is sick, cruel, and abusive to her, her mother, and others. Sadly, he is also the pastor of a church in a small Appalachian community. Everyone turns a head to his evil out of fear and his position, including Mercys mother. Everything comes to a head when her father dies and her mother confused and grieving kicks the young woman out her home.
Mercy leaves determined to make it alone, no matter what it takes. Even as she travels, God is already preparing to bring her to people that will show her His true love and mercy. On her way, she meets a young preacher, a true man of God. He helps her and takes her to another mountain community where she meets a Christian couple that takes her in. Along with the preacher, they show her patience and conditional love. Her heart is very hardened and she is overwhelmed by bitterness and distrust toward everyone. They tenderly guide her never chiding her for her outbursts or false ideas. They look past her rough and angry exterior and see a much wounded heart. Here she experiences problems of a different kind, not only personally but in the lives of her new family she is growing to love. I found it beautiful how they faced every tragic event with a strong faith in God.
The author does a beautiful job of handling very delicate subjects tastefully and showing that God has power to heal hearts, no matter how devastating the damage is that has been inflicted. She leaves no doubt the influence Christians have on others by allowing Christ to live through them and touch the lives of those in need.
It is one of the most unusual books I have ever read. The reviews may make it sound depressing, but it is incredibly uplifting and hopeful. I anxiously await the opportunity to read more books by Sproles.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I expressed are my own. I am not required to write a positive review .
Author: Cindy Sproles
Located in: Kingsport
Submitted: January 13, 2015
Tell us a little about yourself. Cindy is an author and speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and managing editor for Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She teaches nationwide at writers conferences and ladies conferences.
What was your motivation behind this project? I love the mountain culture I was raised in. I wanted people to feel the uniqueness of the Appalachian Mountains. But for this story, I wanted to raise an awareness of a heinous thing - sexual child abuse. After seeing a late night documentary on this subject, it sparked a passion to do something. It's a tough subject in the real world, but through fiction I think folks can swallow it a bit better. So historical Appalachian fiction seemed the best way to draw folks in and make this awareness a reality.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? First I hope they fall in love with the sense of unity in the mountain people. I hope they breathe in the sweetness of this culture. Secondly, I hope they see the serious issues that face many children today. If we can raise the awareness for even one little one, then we have done the job.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? I was heartbroken over the little children who suffer horrible sexual child abuse. The research for this pierced my soul.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I feel I have shaped my own writing voice by reading Adriana Trigiani and her sweet mountain voice in Big Stone Gap. I love Francine Rivers and Jane Kirkpatrick. These women authors I admire and hope to follow in their steps.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: Visit my website and read and excerpt of Mercy's Rain as well as watch the book trailer.