Friday, May 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock (Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway)

Published: May 1st, 2013 (Bethany House)
Pages: 400
Rating: 5/5
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?
I was immediately intrigued when I heard about Sweet Mercy. Being a huge fan of historical fiction, I love it when I get the chance to read a story set in a time period that’s vastly overlooked. The Great Depression Era is one of those time periods. Also, the whole island-vacation theme is one of my favorites to read this time of year. I knew I was going to love this book before I even started it.
Never having read Ann’s books before, I wasn’t sure what to expect writing style-wise, but turns out I really enjoyed her style. Eve’s character is easy to connect with, and I never found myself bored or disappointed while reading. The book turns into a bit of a mystery, but also has its fair share of romance as well.
Eve learns a lot about life during her time on Marryat Island. Before her stay there, she’s been a perfect, almost self-righteous “church girl.” But circumstances on the island cause her to reestablish her stereotypes and look at people who are different from her from a completely new perspective. I loved getting to see her mature and learn from various disasters of the heart and of life.
Sweet Mercy was definitely an enjoyable read, one I highly recommend for this summer. The plot twists at the end really finish the book on a great note. I love the peek we get into the Great Depression Era, and the situations that our country was in at the time. It might just change your mind about some things as it did Eve’s.
Quick Content Review: *may contain spoilers*
Language: None
Violence: Mild (descriptions of shootings, etc.)
Sexual: Mild (some kissing)

Jones pushed his hat back a notch and looked over his shoulder after the two boats. “The Little Miami meets up with the Ohio River not too far from here,” he said. “That’s probably where they’re headed.”
“Funny that they’re taking a bunch of castor oil down the Ohio River.”
Jones turned again to look at me. I couldn’t see his eyes but somehow I sensed they held amusement. My suspicions were confirmed when he shook his head and laughed. “Castor oil, nothing,” he muttered. “They’re hauling moonshine.”
For a moment I was speechless. I frowned and wondered whether I had heard him right. “Moonshine?”
“Sure. People like them are up and down this river all the time.”
It can’t be, I thought. This was Ohio, after all, birthplace of the Temperance Movement. I knew; I had done the research; I had won first place in the essay contest. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure.”
“Don’t they know moonshine is illegal?”
Jones laughed again, louder this time. “You’re kidding, right?”
“I’m not kidding, Jones. I can’t believe they’re hauling that stuff right out here in the open. They could be arrested and go to prison. They should be arrested.”
“Yeah? And who’s going to turn them in? You?”
About the author…
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. 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. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Tour Giveaway
1 winner will receive a copy of 3 of Ann's books (Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep). Open to US & Canada Only. Ends 5/21/13.

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