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At 15 and 16 Mercy and Mick have are just starting to become more than friends.
But there is a problem.
He’s Maliseet—an Indian—and she’s not.
When prejudice raises its ugly head will their new-found love be able to survive?
I felt as though Shades of Mercy flowed like water. The descriptions of the surroundings and of the people were lovely to read. In fact, I had planned on reading another book before this one, but when I picked up this one and glanced at the first few pages, I was drawn into the story by the beautiful language. I really liked Mercy—the main character—she was industrious and sweet.
Shades of Mercy was told in first person from Mercy’s point of view. This was a bold act for the authors because first person can be a difficult way to write a story. This point of view caught my attention. However, it failed to hold it throughout the novel. The trick to first person is that there has to be constant action in order to keep the reader’s attention and the pace of the story going—or else the reader will get bored with the one character’s ideas, thoughts, goals etc. The execution of the first point of view was flawless in and of itself. But it did come with some challenges which the authors could not completely overcome.
This novel had a prologue and an epilogue . These were unneeded. It gave the book an interesting beginning, but a disconnected end because I wasn’t really sure what was happening in the epilogue because—frankly—I had forgotten what the prologue had been about.
Though it did flow smoothly, the pacing was so slow that I became quickly disinterested. Practically nothing happened except in two marked places. I could probably give the plot of the story in seven words, but will refrain so as to not to spoil it for those who wish to read it.
Mick—Mercy’s boyfriend—was not around for a third of the book, which is what took a major part of interest from the novel. However, the descriptions Mercy uses to describe her beloved farm made me want to go to Maine to see the potatoes bloom in the spring time.
The book is told in a lovely fashion—though it was slow paced. It was very well-researched. The prejudices against the Indians back in the 1950’s were well-represented in many of the townsfolk. The bitterness the Indians must have felt towards the whites was also epitomized well in Mick’s brother, Joe. In many ways Joe was a more developed character than his brother. I believe my favorite character was Mercy’s father. There was just something likeable about him. I wanted to get inside of his head more, see what he was thinking and feeling.
There were some subtle beauties that a reader would miss in Shades of Mercy if he wasn’t paying attention. Some ideas were revealed that can go as deep as the reader can think. However, these were somewhat obscured because of Mercy’s limited view. Therefore, these ideas were not carried out and expounded upon as they could have been.
Shades of Mercy is for those who love history and don’t mind a slower paced story.
I give Shades of Mercy 31/2 out of 5 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the River North publishers. The ideas and opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
Just extra: I was a little leery about Shades of Mercy because normally I don’t care for books that have two authors. This may sound strange, but hear me out. For instance, I love Janette Oke. I have read every book she has ever written—save those books she has written with other authors. I have tried reading those books and found that I don’t like them simply because I feel as though her writing style is diluted. However, with Shades of Mercy I did not know the authors at all, so I was able to form an unbiased opinion according to their one work together—not judging this book by previous books one of the authors had written beforehand (simply because I have never read anything by either one of these authors).