“Sweet Mercy” is a thoroughly good story. The 1930’s is a fascinating era to read about, and if you’re lucky enough, a fascinating one to be told first-hand accounts about. My Grandmother was born in the 30’s and has told me more than once how her mother served the out-of-work men at a picnic bench on the lawn. Her house was right by the railroad tracks and was one marked for hospitality. With this bit of family history of my own, it was endearing to me that “Sweet Mercy” started out with Eve as a Grandmother, reminiscing of her youth during this time to her grandson.
Throughout the book, Eve’s thoughts make the story personal, and the activity of her family and life at the lodge they run lead to some exciting plot twists. When something happens that causes her to never look at life the same again, it’s engrossing to follow along as she deals with her new perspective on life.
As she’s reflecting, trying to make sense of the world, she remembers a time when Al Capone, Public Enemy Number One, showed her kindness and acted as her guardian angel by tending a skinned knee. It illustrates the question, how can someone be a good person yet do bad things? It was this scene that inspired the image below.
In addition to the pondering questions, there’s also some romance, of course! Usually when there’s romance involved I’m a pretty good guesser on who the main love interest is, usually it’s rather obvious, but this one kept me wondering for a good portion of the story. I really liked that because it brought me back to the way I felt as a teen when life was so full of uncertainty and possibilities. Any of the young men in Eve’s life could have been a match, but happily, she ended up with the one I was routing for. Due to Ann’s skillful writing, I’m sure that was no coincidence.
I was provided a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my two-bits!