Eve Marryat has life all figured out. She knows who she wants to be in life (not like her sister, Cassandra,) and she knows what she believes (Prohibition means exactly that. Prohibited.) It is 1931, and when her father gets laid off from his job he packs up the family and relocates them to Mercy, Ohio where his brothers are. Eve's uncle, Cy Marryat provides a place for the family at Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge, and in return, they help him run the place.
Happy to escape the haven for criminals St. Paul has become, Eve settles on life on Marryat Island like she's lived there forever. She becomes friends with the some of the local young people, and life that summer is just one happy day after another. But when she accidentally discovers something that was never meant for her to find, will living on the island may turn out to be exactly what she was trying to get away from in St. Paul? And what will happen with the new friendships she has made - especially with one young man called Link?
There was a lot of surprises for me in this book. I try to open each novel with an open mind and the knowledge that it is just a story, woven from the mind of the author. But Tatlock wrote a tale that mirrors the hopes and dreams that will always be constant themes for humanity. The hope of a fresh start. The dream for a better life. Things we all want at some point in our life. This novel speaks of the things that are important; family, moral choices, and most of all - love. A wonderful place to escape for a few hours, and a story you will regret having to finish.
This book was provided by Bethany House Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
"Sweet Mercy" by Ann Tatlock is a novel about Mercy, Ohio during the height of the prohibition era. Eve ( a naive 17 year old) and her family fall on hard times and have to move from St. Paul, MN, a city full of criminals and bootlegging, to Mercy. Her uncle Cy owns a resort there and gives her family jobs and a place to live. Eve thinks in a black and white world. Drinking is evil and so is anyone who does it. She believes so deeply in her cause that she can be annoyingly self-rightous. Mercy introduces her to a whole new way of thinking about herself, drinking, people, and right and wrong. This is short novel and a very quick read. Took me about a day and a half to read. The word play of Tatlock is marvelous, her characters are awesome. Eve meets interesting characters along her way to adulthood. Jones, the albino cousin; Jimmy and Marlene, the Bonnie and Clyde wanna-bes; and Link, the college educated bum. Tatlock tells a remarkable story. I give this one an A. I received this book for free from Bethany House.
When Eve's father announces that their family is going to be leaving St. Paul and moving to her uncle's lodge in Ohio, she couldn't be more thrilled. As a young girl, she's grown weary of witnessing crime and murder. Living in a city filled with gangsters and bootlegging has imprinted memories in her young mind that she wishes weren't there and she looks to the lodge in Ohio as a safe place to start over.
At first, Eve enjoys being around her generous uncle Cyrus and easily makes friends with guests at the lodge and with her cousin, Jones. She helps with the duties of the lodge whenever needed and cheerfully feeds the poor men from the nearby shantytown. But when she begins to realize that things at the lodge are not what they seem, how can she know who to trust? Are her new friends who they say they are? Who can she turn to in this world of secrets and betrayal? And dare she risk endangering those closest to her by revealing what she learns?
Ann Tatlock weaves intriguing bits of history into this Prohibition Era novel and draws us into the story with her fascinating characters. We see Eve's friendships develop (and, some of them, die) and can't help but hope that Link will be the one person she can trust. As we watch her summer unfold, Ann captivates our attention as one surprise after another keeps us turning pages. Sweet Mercy is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read that left me pondering bits of our nation's history in ways I did not expect. I enjoyed Ann's character development and the plot of her story is intriguing, while somewhat expected. I found myself predicting what certain pieces of information would mean later in the story (for example, Jonas' radios), but still guessing what would happen next in the story. It was the perfect mix to keep me reading. Thank you for an enjoyable read, Ms. Tatlock!