About the Book:
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?
Sweet Mercy is a wonderful example of Christian fiction at its best. It takes an issue--good people doing bad things-and explores it within a novel with characters who have real feelings and make decision in the imperfect manner most of us do. From remembering that Al Capone helped her up when she fell roller skating, to learning that her first love is involved in bootlegging, to realizing that bootleggers wouldn't bootleg without customers, Eve has to examine right and wrong and realize that all of us can be the man in the front of the synagogue, and that all of us should be the person at the back begging for mercy. Right and wrong are so easy to see when they are committed by strangers; when it is us or those we love, our vision is often blurry.
Often when Christian fiction has Catholic characters they either make them almost Evangelical Protestants or else make them into pitiable folks who just don't get it. I'm happy to say that Ann Tatlock does neither in this book. Another character gives Eve a St. Rita medal and tells her that St. Rita is the patron saint of the lonely. He explains patron saints rather well. A Catholic funeral is also described and while I don't know enough about Catholic funerals of that era to know if the details (which were few) were all right, the overall tone was respectful.
I'm not usually one to rave about the writing in a book, but this will be one of the exceptions. I loved Tatlock's writing and would find myself reading bits out loud because I loved the way they sounded. Yes, this one gets one of the few A's I give books. I definitely recommend it.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.