For me alot of times, it is the cover art that will sell me on a book, that and the description on the back. So the cover art on this particular book intrigued me, but the back, I had to read several times to figure out if I really wanted to read the book. Finally, I threw aside my hesitations and went for it. I'm glad I did.
I received my book in the mail on Friday, and started it sporadically on Saturday. By Saturday evening, I was fully dedicated to ready the book, unable to stop until it was finished.
Basically, the premise of the book is set in the days of the Depression and the Prohibition. Eve Marryat and her family leave their home in St. Paul, MN to go home to her father's roots in Ohio. Eve is more than willing to leave the land of gangster's behind, having seen her own share of horrors at a young age. They arrive in Ohio, on Marryat island, where her father's brother owns a lodge. There, they stay to help work in the lodge and earn their keep. While there, Eve makes a friend and finds her first love. Unfortunately, a discovery forces her to tell secrets. Then, she and her father are forced to keep a secret, that has a potential for widespread consequences. They choose to return home, and turn a blind eye on what is happening. In the mean time, she meets a red-eyed devil and a bum from Shantytown.
All in all, the book was pleasant to read. It had a good plot and followed along a reasonable time line. I didn't feel like I was missing pieces along the way. I like the way the book started, and then the way it ended, almost like a story within a story. I liked Eve, although she did seem self-righteous at times. However, she did admit mistakes and wasn't too goody-goody.
As I said, I did enjoy the book and it was detailed enough that I was able to imagine myself there alongside Eve at times. That said, in hindsight, I realize that the characters weren't fully explored. Marlene, a friend that Eve met, wasn't much explored. You didn't miss her once her character left the pages. Marcus, Eve's first love...was another person who could come or leave. I like the book also, because even though it was set during the prohibition times, Eve was actually a good girl. She didn't delve into the flapper or want to try to drink, she was on the flip side, the ones against drinking. However, she was neither the one who was out holding signs and trying to root out the evil stills. She was a middle man, caught in a situation while she was trying to live out life the best that she could.
I did enjoy the book, and thought it was a good read. The only part where I thought it could develop more was in the richness of the characters and the era. For it to have received a Christy Award, I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of the book "Christy" or "Julie", two of my favorite books.
I received this complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers to provide an honest review.
Ann Tatlock manages to seamlessly melt together the historical setting of Depression-era America with the fictional account of a teenage girl who was been scared by the harsh life in St. Paul and the murder she witnessed, but discovers a new life at her Uncle's Vacation Lodge on the outskirts of the town of Mercy.
This book is great for a summer read. It takes place in the summer so you will be able to relate to the hot days splashing in the water, the cooler evenings at the barbecue and the family time spent together.
But mostly, if you've ever known first love, innocent and forceful, you will relive it in the pages of Sweet Mercy. Tatlock writes with a common sense realism that is rare in Christian fiction. But there will be nary a person who doesn't read Sweet Mercy and feel such a pull to the place and time of it's setting and the people who populate it that you won't yearn to be there too.
The author is able to do a juxtaposition of carefreeness and harsh reality; soaring love and hard decisions in such a way that you will not be able to remain at a distance from the characters or their plights.
This book will draw you in, teach you something, lift your spirits and be grateful that the printing press was invented.
Enjoy Sweet Mercy and don't forget to bring it out again on those cold, winter days to relive summertime at it's best. Whether it's in your town or in Mercy.
(Tatlock mentions the song: "Keep a Song in Your Soul" in the book, so I've attached it.)
Ann Tatlock is a master for hooking her readers with retrospect. Her latest novel Sweet Mercy is no exception. I had to turn the page for more when Eve tells her grandson if she'd known what awaited her in Mercy, Ohio, perhaps she would've stayed in Minnesota. Staged during the Roaring Twenties, Eve wants to leave bootlegging, mobsters, and gunshots behind, but sometimes the road ahead is more dangerous.
Ann Tatlock is known for multilayered characters and themes.
I depend on Tatlock's books to showcase characters that struggle with right and wrong, make sense of the difficult, and deal with the culture or history of their time. Something in us longs for a perfect world and lasting love, to believe people are good, and life is fair. Sweet Mercy certainly gives the reader a wealth of characters--can Eve face the truth when life isn't fair and people aren't good? Mysterious Jones--does someone relegated to a desk and radio deserve better?
Normally, I see the overarching theme and catch secondary patterns, but the minor themes were not as forthcoming for me. Reading the discussion questions on her webpage filled in the gaps. With these in mind, I will reread the book and come away more satisfied.
Sweet Mercy gives a realistic approach to the Twenties and the moral issues of the day. Then as now, the only way to true change for culture and individuals is through Christ's transforming power. A moral compass is desperately needed. Indeed, Eve, some things are gray but others should be glaring black and white.
I recommend this read as well as other Tatlock books.
"Our eyes locked. I'm not sure either one of us could quite believe what we were doing. We had just agreed to break the law. And so, in those few quiet words of complicity, Daddy and I became felons".
Ann Tatlock has long impressed me with her ability to create compelling, artfully told stories, and Sweet Mercy is another winner. Eve Marryat is one of those characters who grabs hold of your heart and draws you deep into her story. I love how Tatlock depicts Eve in her state of relative innocence and naivete, and then draws her into a world where white and black are not always so clear, where the way things appear on the surface may not be reality at all. The setting of the story in the era of the prohibition provides a fascinating backdrop for the story and for an exploration of morality as a whole. Sweet Mercy celebrates the importance of family and faith and the acceptance of those who are different, but it also explores the difficult choices we are often faced with in life. I loved the unexpected twists and turns in the story, and found this to be a swift-moving drama that will absolutely appeal to fiction lovers of all varieties.
As with her other books, Sweet Mercy is masterfully told, written with impeccable prose and featuring characters you will be sad to leave behind when you turn the last page. It is easy to see why Ann Tatlock is a Christy Award winner. I award this story my highest recommendation and 5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Set during the Great Depression and Prohibition Ann Tatlock has written another captivating novel! This is Eve's story of a summer like never before, things happen that no child should ever be involved. Eve is now a grandmother and is telling her grandson what went on in that abandoned lodge.
Eve had a job working at her uncle's resort, during that summer she learns things about him that will forever change her. She becomes involved in illegal activity and finds the law isn't always what's right.
Tatlock writes a great novel, she brings her characters to life and you feel their emotions. I really enjoyed this story! I've read all of the author's books and look forward to each new one! 5 stars from me!
I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.