I had never read anything by Ann Tatlock so I wasn't sure what to expect. I am normally not a huge fan of stories written in the first person, but this book was an exception. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to be into it: normally I have to be captivated in the first few pages. So it took me a while to get into the book, which is a negative. The plot was solid, and the ending was pretty climactic, which was a positive. The characters were interesting but I didn't feel as drawn into their world as I normally am when reading a good book. Overall this book was pretty average; nothing extraordinary.
The novel, Sweet Mercy, by Ann Tatlock, is set during the Prohibition period of our nation's history. Seventeen year old Eve travels with her father and mother to her uncle Cyrus's home in Mercy, Ohio. The family is forced to relocate due to economic hardship. While her father is reluctant to return to his childhood home, Eve is anxious to flee the haunting memories of her life in corrupt St. Paul, Minnesota.
Eve is a somewhat naive young woman, who feels that Mercy is a bit of paradise, cut off from the corruption associated with the Prohibition. She loves the island and lodge, which have become her home, quickly settling in to her life there, making friends, and even meeting her mysterious step-cousin. It is not long before she realizes that even in Mercy, bootleggers are well established in business and people are content to just turn a blind eye to their dealings, instead of upholding the law. Will her self-righteous attitude help to make the world a better place or cause more trouble than she has ever imagined?
I absolutely enjoyed this read. The author was engaging and the story well written; full of mystery and suspense, as well as history and a little romance. The main characters were well developed and likable. I appreciated how the author made use of historical facts throughout her novel. She had me interested from cover to cover. I will definitely consider looking for more of her work to enjoy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review for Bethany House Publishers book review program. All thoughts contained in this review are my own.
I was eager to read another Ann Tatlock novel after having enjoyed Promises to Keep. Sweet Mercy promised intrigue and excitement, but it took a very long time to get to that point. The story starts out slow and I kept waiting for things to pick up. When the plot did begin to move along, I felt I had to hang on tight as it moved almost too fast. I was wishing that more of the book was a good as the build-up to the ending.
Having said that, I did enjoy the story. The main character is sweet in her naivety, the cousin is heartbreakingly real and the visitors to the lodge are suspicious and intriguing. I enjoyed the setting of the lodge and found myself longing for such a place to escape to while reading. The simplicity of life was relaxing and Tatlock did a great job describing it in such a way that I could almost hear the water in the river and the band playing in the gazebo. Sweet Mercy is a great summer read if you're looking for a slower paced story that can help you escape to a relaxed setting and enjoyable characters.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
I received this book free from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
One of the best historical fiction books this year
June 27, 2013
One of the best historical fiction books that I have read so far this year!
Ann Tatlock did such a wonderful job with Eve. She captured the in-between of being a 17 year girl perfectly, mature one moment and the next feeling like a little girl. Eve has a lot to learn about life and people, but what better place and time than a lodge full of summer visitors during Prohibition and the Great Depression. Eve thinks she knows right and wrong, everything is black and white, but as she spends time with people at the lodge and in town, she learns that it isn't always that easy. People aren't always what they seem and sometimes they make decisions for reasons that are hard to understand. But she is a genuinely kind-hearted girl that leans on her Faith, this helps her to face the hard things in life, be they small or large.
The cast of characters is wonderful, varied and realistic. You will find yourself falling in love with some, disliking others, feeling sad for some of them, and most definitely wanting to find out what happens to them next.
It was cool and quite rainy when I read this book but I was transported each time I opened the pages into a warm summer of Ohio. I found myself having to readjust to the "real world" when I had to lay it down. I often partly judge how much I like a book by the author's ability to paint pictures with words, drawing me in to the point that I can almost feel and taste as well as see with the characters, if I have to emerge from my reading and nearly reacquaint myself with my surroundings. The author managed to do this marvelously. I felt satisfied with how the story ended but also a little let down that it was now finished.
I was not familiar with Ann Tatlock's books when I saw Sweet Mercy, the cover and the synopsis on the back just drew me in. I'm glad that I was able to get this book for review and read it. I will definitely be looking for more books by Ann Tatlock in the future as well as checking out some of her previous titles.
Well worth the time to read, Sweet Mercy is a MUST READ for summer 2013.
(A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. I did not receive any financial compensation for this review. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.)
For seventeen year old Eve Marryat, 1931 held some fast moving life changes. The Depression had taken a toll on her family. Eve's father, Drew Marryat lost his job but, his brother had offered him employment and lodging at the family owned Marryat Lodge and Ballroom in Mercy, Ohio. Eve could not have been happier. Mercy, Ohio and in particular Marryat Lodge on the Little Miami River was an idylic place to live and work.
Life at the Marryat Lodge was amazing. They had wonderful rooms, meals were provided and they enjoyed meeting vacationers. On the surface life was serene and perfect but underneath the serenity there was crime and bootlegging going on at the lodge. Eve and her father were shocked at this revelation. They decided to return to St. Paul because they did not want to be a party to the illegal activities.
I would not like to ruin the story for anyone so I will leave it there. There are several surprises on the journey through this story, not the least of which is one about a well known criminal who asked the Lord into his heart. You may be surprised by who you meet in Heaven.
I recommend this book. It was over too quickly but was well written and enjoyable. This was a complimentary book from Bethany House meant for reiew.