Sunday, May 11, 2014

Heart of Mercy

Title: HEART OF MERCY
Author: Sharlene MacLaren
Publisher: Whitaker House
November 2013
ISBN: 978-1603749633
Genre: Historical

Twenty-six-year-old MERCY EVANS has spent a good share of her life fending for herself, her mother having passed away when she was nine, and her father getting himself killed in a heated argument when she was only 15. Not quite old enough to be considered an adult when orphaned and yet too old for adoption, she develops a tough fa├žade and grows into an independent Christian woman with a heart for the downtrodden. Despite life's hard knocks, bitterness never has been an option for her, and if anything, it's taught her to live up to her name.

When her best friends' house burns to the ground and two young boys, four and five, lose both their parents to the fire, Mercy fights for custody of them, but a judge rules the boys must go to a married couple--and unless she can find a husband within 30 days that is exactly what will happen. The boys love Mercy and want nothing more than to live with her, but the last thing she wants or needs is a husband to make that happen.

By the sweat of her brow she worked her way through nurses' training and makes a halfway decent living working for the lone doctor in Paris, Tennessee where she resides, at least enough to support herself, but two growing boys needing food and clothing? How will she manage that? Moreover, how will she work while caring for them? In some ways, she can understand the judge's decision, and yet when the boys look at her with wounded hearts and sobbing eyes, she can't stand by and do nothing. It seems apparent she must find herself a man--but SAMUEL CONNORS? How could she possibly marry her archenemy?

HEART OF MERCY is the first book of Ms. MacLaren's Tennessee Dreams series. It starts out with a bang and the energy level almost flows off the page and into the reader. The story starts out running and doesn't ease up. 

While written in more of a telling style versus showing, the energy level literally surrounds the reader, drawing them in, as in a whirlpool, totally immersing them in the story. And while it's the typical Hatfield and McCoy story, it is told with a twist. One can't help but root for Mercy and Sam and those poor orphaned boys. 

If you love historical fiction, you won't want to miss HEART OF MERCY. But be sure to start it early in the day as you won't be able to sleep until you finish the book. Fans of Ms. MacLaren will devour this book and it's sure to bring more fans into the fold. $14.99. 336 pages. 


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