Book Review: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Book Review: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Sweet Mercy_mck.indd

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.


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