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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Shape of Mercy book review

The Shape of Mercy, by Susan Meissner.
From Publisher's Weekly:
"Meissner's newest novel is potentially life-changing, the kind of inspirational fiction that prompts readers to call up old friends, lost loves or fallen-away family members to tell them that all is forgiven and that life is too short for holding grudges. Achingly romantic, the novel features the legacy of Mercy Hayworth—a young woman convicted during the Salem witch trials—whose words reach out from the past to forever transform the lives of two present-day women. These book lovers—Abigail Boyles, elderly, bitter and frail, and Lauren Lars Durough, wealthy, earnest and young—become unlikely friends, drawn together over the untimely death of Mercy, whose precious diary is all that remains of her too short life. And what a diary! Mercy's words not only beguile but help Abigail and Lars together face life's hardest struggles about where true meaning is found, which dreams are worth chasing and which only lead to emptiness, and why faith and hope are essential on life's difficult path. Meissner's prose is exquisite and she is a stunning storyteller. This is a novel to be shared with friends."

Where do you start with a book you loved?  I've read Susan Meissner before; I reviewed one of her books a few months ago.  It was good, I liked it.  But this....this book was amazing.  I've always really enjoyed historical fiction, and this is both historical and modern.  It's a fascinating story to begin with, all sides of it.  I was completely sucked into the lives of the three women.  We all love a good story, after all.  But more than that, the underlying themes really resonated with me.  Love, judgment, and what really matters in life.
I won't say I came to any profound conclusions.  At least none I care to share in a very public forum such as this.  But I will say that this book epitomizes why I love reading: really good books raise questions in you, questions that, given a moment of reflection, can change how you think and therefore who you are.  
This book is without question worth reading.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
And yes, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. 
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