(free download on 3/9/15)
About the Book:
Mercy Roller knows her name is a lie: there has never been any mercy in her young life. Raised by a twisted and abusive father who called himself the Pastor, she was abandoned by the church community that should have stood together to protect her from his evil. Her mother, consumed by her own fear and hate, won't stand her ground to save Mercy either.
The Pastor has robbed Mercy of innocence and love, a husband and her child. Not a single person seems capable of standing up to the Pastor's unrestrained evil. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands.
Her heart was hardened to love long before she took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner of the Pastor. She just didn't realize the retribution she thought would save her, might turn her into the very thing she hated most.
Sent away by her angry and grieving mother, Mercy's path is unclear until she meets a young preacher headed to counsel a pregnant couple. Sure that her calling is to protect the family, Mercy is drawn into a different life on the other side of the mountain where she slowly discovers true righteousness has nothing evil about it--and that there might be room for her own stained and shattered soul to find shelter. . . and even love.
Mercy's Rain is a remarkable historical novel set in 19th century Appalachia that traces the thorny path from bitterness to forgiveness and reveals the victory and strength that comes from simple faith.
I loved this book. For someone who likes happy stories with lots of sunshine, that's saying something, because this book is like the Smokey Mountains in which it is set--covered with a gray fog, but beautiful underneath that fog. In the book, the fog is the guilt and the hurt in Mercy's heart, and of course the sunshine that breaks through the fog is the love of God, manifested through some special people.
The book opens at a river baptism. A sinner has repented and wants to be baptized. The whole community is there. The sinner and the pastor enter the river, where the pastor holds the sinner under until he drowns. The pastor is bound, a rope is put around his neck and he is placed on the back of a horse. It is not clear what was supposed to happen--whether there was to be a quick trial or or whether someone was to be chosen to carry out the hanging, but before what ever was to happen was able to happen, the pastor's daughter, Mercy, slaps the horses and the pastor is hung. Mercy thought her mother would be grateful (we learn in the book why) but instead, her mother banishes her. While Mercy is walking to the other side of the mountain, she meets a travelling preacher who is everything her father was not, and who was not anything her father was. She agrees to accompany him to a home where a young couple is expecting a baby because she does not want him hurting the baby. Throughout the course of the book we learn Mercy's story and watch her learn to trust God and man again and we watch her give the love she never realized was from God to others. Mercy learns about Mercy and forgiveness and how forgiving others frees us.
Mercy's Rain is clearly a religious novel, but it is a well-written story with relateable characters. It is reminder that those of us in the church are the reflections of God to which people look to discover Him, and that when we sin, those reflections become distorted. Mercy's father was a grave sinner and caused Mercy to have a very distorted view of God. Her new friends removed that distortion but Mercy still needed to look to God.
If religious fiction bothers you, this isn't the book for you. However, for those who enjoy Christian fiction or who can accept religious messages in books, this one is a real winner and I highly recommend it. Grade: A.
I'd like to thank the folks at Kregal for providing a complimentary review copy.