Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Review: Shape of Mercy (Audiobook) by Susan Meissner

The Shape of Mercy: A NovelBook Description from back of Audio CD box

"We understand what we want to understand" ~ Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with her family's expectations and takes a part-time job from eighty-three-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles. The mysterious employer asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstitions. Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy's story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find her self playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge?

Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

My Thoughts

After listening to this book on CD, I came to the conclusion that I probably would not have enjoyed it as much had I read the hard copy rather than listened to the audio. I say that to first of all point out, the narrator of this book was EXCELLENT! Her name is Tavia Gilbert in case you were wondering. She read the emotions of each character so well, you could almost hear them talking or thinking themselves. The book is a little heavy and so reading the hard copy may not have drawn me in as well.

As for the story, I thought Susan expertly entwined three different people's stories seamlessly. As Lauren read through Mercy's diary entries about what happened to her village and her friends and her father and herself during the Salem witch trials, not only did she become connected to Mercy, but so did I as the third-party reader. I found myself wanting to do some actual research on the trials myself to learn more about what happened during that time in history. Even though I knew Mercy was a fictional character, I was hoping to see her name in the Google searches I conducted. Abigail's story was a mystery till almost the end. I felt her regrets for her.

I'm not one to normally get teary-eyed when I read a book. A movie...sometimes. A book...hardly ever. This book brought the tears a number of times. I was engrossed on my commutes to work as I listened. I took away from this book a few things...always be true to who you are, don't let fear drive you, always have faith, among others.

For those thinking about reading this book. It's not a light-hearted novel, but it is a very interesting and mysterious novel. It will be a good read, but be prepared for some heavier topics like fear and death and regrets. In the end, there is hope.

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