Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2013)
When Eve Marryat's father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve's uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people." They aren't lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
Here are my thoughts:
Sometimes a novel surpasses even my expectation (my tastes are rather eclectic and you might have noticed I am easy to please - at least in regard to books!) and 'SWEET MERCY' is definitively one of those. I'll credit AnnTatlock's fine writing skills and her choice of subject and even the publisher's choice of cover (complete with raised letters!) for total enjoyment!
U.S. Prohibition period in an era I know very little of but it always held a bit of fascination with its bootleggers and famous gangsters such as Al Capone. But for the name or its (in)famous face, 'Scarface' remains a mystery for many so I was pleasantly surprised at the little known trivia Ann bestowed upon her readers with mention of an elephant collection or the Jones Five and Ten law for i.e.
'SWEET MERCY' begins with an innocuous prologue in May 1981, as Eve now a grandmother, steps up on the porch of the soon to be condemned lodge 'Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge', along with grandson Sean...The memories come rushing back, the sounds of laughter and music in the background, the footsteps and voices ringing in her head...It feels just like yesterday yet decades have gone by...
Mercy, Ohio was everything St Paul, Minnesota was not for seventeen year old Eve! She remembered with fondness the haven it was when she was a little girl and with her Mum and Dad, looks to the future when they arrive at her Uncle Cy's lodge!
Now helping her family to run the twenty room plus lodge, Eve is eagerly discovering a whole new world at the festive lakeside including lively entertainment, new friends and the possibility of dating. But not everything is perfect in Eve's new life and the specter of the Depression with all it entails including the Hooverville nearby looms in the horizon.
Leave it to this author's perfectly flowing style : just as you think you might have figured out the plot, a new development rises up!
Not wishing to spoil the plot for you, this is the gripping tale of one young woman's coming of age, one way to describe this story, and yet it would not encompass the clear picture Ann Tatlock paints of a world ruled by those who were breaking the Prohibition laws, often leaving a trail of woes behind them. Let's not forget those corrupted members of society who preyed on the poor and hopeless, upstanding citizens including judges, policemen and senators!
I'll end by telling you my favourite portion of this interesting tale is the epilogue! Classy!
SWEET MERCY is a sweet tale indeed, the ideal novel to tuck in your holiday travel gear or enjoy sitting on the porch! Ann Tatlock's tenth novel is well worth checking out!
About the Author:
"An author should never conceived of himself as bringing into existence beauty or wisdom which did not exist before but simply and solely, as trying to embody in terms of his own art, some reflection of that eternal Beauty and Wisdom."
(C. S. Lewis)
Thus starts Ann Tatlock's blog, the author of the Christy Award-winning novel All the Way Home. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon.
For more information, visit her website (HERE) and don't miss her 'Frequently Asked Questions!' and 'Discussion Questions For Readers'.
I received this book from BETHANY HOUSE as part of their blogger review program. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.