Half-Truths and Semi-Miracles by Anne Tyler #annetyler @aaknopf @doubledaybooks #halftruthsandsemimiracles #bookreview #tarheelreader

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I fell in love with Anne Tyler’s writing when I read The Accidental Tourist in high school. I remember the experience of reading it- where I was and how I felt. I am super excited for her new book, Clock Dance, to be released in July. In celebration, I devoured this substantial story in a short 24 pages.

My thoughts:

Half-Truths and Semi-MiraclesHalf-Truths and Semi-Miracles by Anne Tyler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to Half-Truths and Semi-Miracles, a short story by Anne Tyler! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Huge Anne Tyler fan checking in. We like to claim her as a North Carolina author because she grew up in Raleigh. I read everything she writes, though she is another author where I hoard some books unread because that’s how I roll. Delayed gratification.

I did not delay reading this short story because I received an advanced review copy, and it was my pleasure to read about Susanna.

Susanna is a healer…but only sometimes. Her gift works occasionally, but not when she wants it to work most of all. In that way, the gift becomes mysterious and even a painful burden.

Anne Tyler’s touch is present throughout this short story. If you are a fan, this is a must-read. If you aren’t a fan, I think you’ll become one.

Thank you to Anne Tyler, Knopf/Doubleday, and Netgalley for the ARC. Half-Truths and Semi-Miracles will be available on May 29, 2018.

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Synopsis:

“The first thing I tell people is, I’m just an ordinary woman. I’m just like you.”

Susanna has an incredible gift: she can heal ailments with just the touch of her hand. People travel from far and wide based on their faith in her abilities. But Susanna’s power only works in certain cases—it’s a semi-miracle. And as she grows into a woman, and tries to build a life of her own, her calling to fix and cure becomes more of a burden than she could ever have imagined. Why is she able to take people’s pain away sometimes, and not others, not when she needs to most of all? With the balm of time, and the wisdom of experience, Susanna must learn to live with the mysterious nature of her miracle. Available to readers for the first time since its initial publication, this is a wry and moving story by an American master.

“Not merely good . . . she is wickedly good.” —John Updike

Are you an Anne Tyler fan? Do you have a favorite book from her? Happy Reading! Jennifer THR

The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy @fionavalpy #amazonpublishinguk #thebeekeeperspromise #bookreview #tarheelreader

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This was not exactly the picture of this book I had planned, but I went with it! 😂 My beloved 16-year-old kitty, Coley, decided to save me from myself and implant her cuteness on the set!

My Thoughts:

The Beekeeper's PromiseThe Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 character-driven stars to The Beekeeper’s Promise 🐝 🐝 🐝 🐝

This book came highly recommended by my friend, Marialyce! Thanks for another wonderful read!

Told in two timelines, The Beekeeper’s Promise includes the story of Abi, who has a broken heart and is looking for a fresh start. She takes a job at the Chateau Bellevue. Abi hopes for healing more than anything.

Also included is the story of Eliane, who in 1938 takes care of the beehives at the same chateau. She falls in love with Mathieu, but with the war looming she joins the Resistance, which ultimately tests her relationship in ways she could not have predicted.

These are bold, resilient women from different generations with two memorable stories to tell. The writing is smooth and absorbing, as the characters rebuild their lives after overcoming struggle and strife. The Beekeeper’s Promise is a mesmerizing, all-consuming, and tantalizing story.

Thank you to Fiona Valpy, Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. The Beekeeper’s Promise is available now!

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Synopsis:

Heartbroken and hoping for a new start, Abi Howes takes a summer job in rural France at the Château Bellevue. The old château echoes with voices from the past, and soon Abi finds herself drawn to one remarkable woman’s story, a story that could change the course of her summer—and her life.

In 1938, Eliane Martin tends beehives in the garden of the beautiful Château Bellevue. In its shadow she meets Mathieu Dubosq and falls in love for the first time, daring to hope that a happy future awaits. But France’s eastern border is darkening under the clouds of war, and history has other plans for Eliane…

When she is separated from Mathieu in the chaos of German occupation, Eliane makes the dangerous decision to join the Resistance and fight for France’s liberty. But with no end to the war in sight, her loyalty to Mathieu is severely tested.

From the bestselling author of Sea of Memories comes the story of two remarkable women, generations apart, who must use adversity to their advantage and find the resilience deep within.

Happy Saturday and Happy reading! Jennifer THR

Don’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea @charliedonlea @kensingtonbooks #dontbelieveit #bookreview #tarheelreader

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My Thoughts:

Don't Believe ItDon’t Believe It by Charlie Donlea

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 show stoppping stars to Don’t Believe It! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

My first read from Charlie Donlea was engaging and propulsive and a fabulous Traveling Sister group read to boot!

The Girl of Sugar Beach is a popular documentary covering whether Grace Sebold murdered her boyfriend while on spring break in St. Lucia. When the book opens, Grace has been in prison for 10 years, and Sidney Ryan agrees to produce the documentary in an effort to (hopefully) prove Grace’s innocence.

Sidney quickly becomes a pseudo-detective in her production role, and evidence falls in her lap that could change everything. Is Sidney really helping to free an innocent Grace, or is she possibly working for a brutal killer?

It took a little time to get into Don’t Believe It, but once I did, it took off! At first, I was not sure about the documentary scenes, but they ended up adding interest and perspective to the story.

I clicked with so much about this book. The likable characters, the fresh premise, and the twists that I never saw coming had me fully invested in this wild ride with a satisfying ending.

Overall, Don’t Believe It was an original, gripping, and fascinating read. I highly recommend this book to psychological thriller fans, and I am looking forward to reading more from Charlie Donlea!

Thank you to Charlie Donlea, Kensington Books, and Netgalley for the ARC. Don’t Believe It will be released on May 29, 2018!

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Synopsis:

From acclaimed author Charlie Donlea comes a twisting, impossible-to-put-down novel of suspense in which a filmmaker helps clear a woman convicted of murder—only to find she may be a pawn in a sinister game.

The Girl of Sugar Beach is the most watched documentary in television history—a riveting, true-life mystery that unfolds over twelve weeks and centers on a fascinating question: Did Grace Sebold murder her boyfriend, Julian, while on a Spring Break vacation, or is she a victim of circumstance and poor police work? Grace has spent the last ten years in a St. Lucian prison, and reaches out to filmmaker Sidney Ryan in a last, desperate attempt to prove her innocence.

As Sidney begins researching, she uncovers startling evidence, additional suspects, and timeline issues that were all overlooked during the original investigation. Before the series even finishes filming, public outcry leads officials to reopen the case. But as the show surges towards its final episodes, Sidney receives a letter saying that she got it badly, terribly wrong.

Sidney has just convinced the world that Grace is innocent. Now she wonders if she has helped to free a ruthless killer. Delving into Grace’s past, she peels away layer after layer of deception. But as Sidney edges closer to the real heart of the story, she must decide if finding the truth is worth risking her newfound fame, her career . . . even her life.

Have you read Don’t Believe It? Do you plan to? Happy Reading and Happy Memorial Day weekend to those in the US! 🇺🇸 Jennifer THR

To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts by Caitlin Hamilton Summie @fomitepress @csummie #tolaytorestourghosts #fivestars #bookreview #tarheelreader

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My Thoughts:

To Lay To Rest Our GhostsTo Lay To Rest Our Ghosts by Caitlin Hamilton Summie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 short story stars (even if you don’t typically like short stories!) to To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

This book has won multiple awards, and after reading all the stories, it’s no wonder why. Caitlin Hamilton Summie is adept at writing deeply emotional short stories with a single thread uniting them .

Themes we can all relate to of family, reconciliation, and home going, resound within these pages with simple and quiet, yet deeply profound words. I found myself highlighting passages on most every page.

Even if you do not typically enjoy short stories, this is a collection to give a try. Nothing is clipped or rushed. There is plenty of resonance, much on which to reflect, and the loosely-tied themes bring them all together and offer a smooth connection. This book made me fall in love with the short story.

“We’re from the same place, but we have different geographies of the heart.”

Thank you to Caitlin Hamilton Summie for the complimentary copy. I will be revisiting this beauty!

View all my reviews

Synopsis:

Finalist, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards for Short Stories

Featured in The Millions Most-Anticipated The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview

Selected for 35 Over 35’s 2017 List

A Pulpwood Queen Book Club Bonus Book for June 2018

In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, from western Massachusetts to woodsy Wisconsin, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.

Do you enjoy short stories? If you have a favorite collection, please let me know. Happy Reading! Jennifer THR

Throwback Thursday! Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee @miratlee @pameladormanbks #everythinghereisbeautiful #bookreview #tarheelreader

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Throwback Thursday is a fun meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk as a way to share reviews of books that are old favorites, as well as books that have finally been read after languishing for a while.

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For Throwback Thursday this week, I want to feature another of my favorites from 2018 thus far. Everything Here is Beautiful is one of the most perfectly executed books I’ve ever read. For me, the reason was the authenticity of the emotion and relationships throughout.

My Review:

Everything Here Is BeautifulEverything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 Deeply moving, honest stars to Everything Here Is Beautiful! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 

May all books about mental health challenges be this honest, this realistic.

From the start, I was enthralled with Miranda and Lucia’s characters. These sisters had an interesting beginning in the United States after moving with their single mother from China. Family stories are always my favorite, and this one delivered “family” on every level. The story follows Miranda and Lucia throughout their lives, including Lucia’s development of a mental illness and thereafter. What ensued is a true-to-life account of a sister who tried to advocate, save, support her sister, while also trying to find the balance and living her own life. When Miranda wasn’t there, it was Yonah (oh, what a loveable character!), Lucia’s first husband. And when not him, it was Manny (equally loveable in different ways), her second husband and the father to her child. Each person had his/her own way of helping Lucia, and the manner in which the story was told added layer upon layer of perspective from each voice. A side benefit to book was culture- Chinese culture, Israeli culture, Ecuadorian culture, and the culture of mental health.

All of that led to empathy. My biggest hope is that this book will help in gaining insight into the area of mental health (we all have mental health! 😊), perspective-taking, and through that, empathy. It would be typical and easy to feel sad for Lucia and her family members. Anyone would. They went through so much trying to live life while taking care of her. But what’s more important, and most definitely harder, is to move past the sympathy and sadness, which disconnects you from the pain of others, and feel connected to others through empathy- by walking in Lucia’s/Miranda’s/Yonah’s/Manny’s/Essy’s shoes. Through empathy there comes true acceptance, and I think that’s what many facing difficulties with mental health want more than anything.

I’m passionate about mental health, and I’m so grateful that this book was written with truth, heart, and complete realism, even though I will always wish/hope for better outcomes.

Everything Here is Beautiful is what my huggable bookshelf is all about.

This was a Traveling Sister group read that I joined in late, once everyone else had finished. My sisters are awesome and came back to the thread to discuss with me throughout. I think it shows how much we all cared about this book and its characters. 💕

Thank you to Mira T. Lee, Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin, and Edelweiss for the complimentary copy of this deeply moving book.

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Synopsis:

Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it’s Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor’s diagnosis.

Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?

Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it’s time to let go and save ourselves.

Have you read Everything Here is Beautiful? Do you plan to? Happy reading! JTHR 

Love, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson @suewatsonwriter @bookouture #loveliesandweddingcake #bookreview #tarheelreader #pubday

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Happy Publication Day to Love, Lies and Wedding Cake! This was a real charmer!

My Review:

Love, Lies and Wedding CakeLove, Lies and Wedding Cake by Sue Watson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 Wedded Bliss stars to Love, Lies, and Wedding Cake! 🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂

I am not much of a royal watcher, but I have Royal Wedding fever! I’ve found myself obsessed with Megan and Harry and their genuine love for each other. So, reading Love, Lies, and Wedding Cake on the heels of that experience was apropos, even if in the form of a fun and heartwarming rom com!

Faye and her Aussie boyfriend, Dan, have traveled the world together experiencing all the most romantic locations. The fun stops when Dan proposes and wants Faye to join him in Australia. Faye has a daughter and is not so sure about uprooting her life, even if Dan is her dream guy.

Love, Lies, and Wedding Cake is all about second chances and following your heart. In true rom com style, I was laughing, and I had warm fuzzies by the end. Once again, these are the best books for lifting my spirits and breaking up heavier reads.

Thank you to Sue Watson, Bookouture, and Netgalley for the ARC. Love, Lies and Wedding Cake is now available!
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Synopsis:

Will Faye get her happy-ever-after or will bittersweet secrets ruin the recipe for love?

Since Faye met her gorgeous Aussie boyfriend Dan, they’ve travelled all over the world to meet in amazing, crazy and romantic locations. They’ve eaten gateaux in a chateau, chocolate torte in a moonlit port, and even had stöllen kisses in a sparkling Christmas market. Neither of them wanted to settle down… until now.

When Dan asks Faye to marry him and to move to Australia it throws a real spanner in the works. Faye’s daughter Emma needs her here, so moving to the other side of the world – even for a hunk like Dan – simply isn’t an option. Is it?

Faye’s been down the marriage road before and it ended up with her having Ryan Gosling fantasies while her ex-husband obsessed about the plumbing. Is that what she has to look forward to? Is she ready to end her adventure? And even if she is, how can she be sure Dan is the right man for her?

A delicious romantic comedy about secrets, second chances and following your heart. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Jill Mansell and Sophie Kinsella.

Happy Wednesday and Happy Reading! Jennifer THR

My Mother’s Son By David Hirshberg @figtreebks #davidhirshberg #mymothersson #bookreview #tarheelreader

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My Review:

My Mother's SonMy Mother’s Son by David Hirshberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 charming stars to My Mother’s Son! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟.5

Thank you to my friends, Elyse and Angela, for this wonderful recommendation. I am ecstatic after reading this book.

Joel worked as a radio host for over 40 years, and he is our narrator with the present day being the 1950s (one of my favorite time periods of which to read because both my parents were children during that time). Joel tells us the story of his life in post WWII Boston.

Hot button issues of the time form the historical backdrop of this endearing story and include the Korean War, the polio epidemic, the years after the Holocaust, and all the various political scandals.

My Mother’s Son is a carefully woven tale of the same topics that know no time and place- betrayal and hate, and on the flip side, steadfastness and immense love. I took off half a star just because some of the baseball stuff was a little draggy to me (I’m just not a baseball fan). Otherwise, this is book gold!

Thank you to David Hirshberg for this lovely debut, as well as Fig Tree Books and Edelweiss for ARC. My Mother’s Son is available now!
View all my reviews

Synopsis: 

In the spirit of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America and Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay comes My Mother’s Son, the meticulously-crafted debut novel from David Hirshberg. The story is told by a radio raconteur revisiting his past in post-World War II Boston, the playground and battleground for two brothers whose lives are transformed by discoveries they never could have imagined. From the opening line of the book, “When you’re a kid, they don’t always tell you the truth,” the stage is set for this riveting coming-of-age story that plays out against the backdrop of the Korean War, the aftermath of the Holocaust, the polio epidemic, the relocation of a baseball team, and the shenanigans of politicians and businessmen. Hirshberg deftly weaves together events, characters, and clues and creates a rich tapestry of betrayal, persecution, death, loyalty, and unconditional love that resonates with today’s America.

Happy Reading! Jennifer THR

Star of the North by D.B. John #dbjohn @crownpublishing #starofthenorth #bookreview #tarheelreader

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My Review:

Star of the NorthStar of the North by D.B. John

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 big stars to Star of the North! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Where do I even start with this one. Yowza. So stinkin’ good. Thanks to my friend, Fran, for another stellar recommendation.

A thriller set in North and South Korea- talk about original! And timely! It is 1999 when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a beach in South Korea and taken to North Korea. Twelve years later, her twin, Jenna, is certain her sister is still alive and wants desperately to find answers.

There are other stories within this stories, and I know some are hesitant about that. Here, it is brilliantly done because it sheds light on all aspects of the story at a deeper level. One of the additional stories is about a peasant woman living and working in North Korea. I felt like I had my eyes literally on the ground in North Korea, that forbidden place we never get to truly see. The second story is about a high ranking North Korean official who finds out he may be related to a traitor of the state, which is punishable by death.

I was literally spellbound by this book. It was steeped in culture, one I know little about, while also being one of most edge-of-your-seat, gripping and original thrillers I’ve read in a while. Smart, explosive, revealing, and masterful, D.B. John’s Star of the North is an exceptional, phenomenal, and insert every single other adjective to gush about this wondrous thriller.

Thank you to D.B. John, Crown Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. Star of the North will be released on May 22, 2018, which is tomorrow!

View all my reviews

Synopsis:

A propulsive and ambitious thriller about a woman trying to rescue her twin sister from captivity in North Korea, and the North Korean citizens with whom she forms an unlikely alliance

Star of the North opens in 1998, when a Korean American teenager is kidnapped from a South Korean beach by North Korean operatives. Twelve years later, her brilliant twin sister, Jenna, is still searching for her, and ends up on the radar of the CIA. When evidence that her sister may still be alive in North Korea comes to light, Jenna will do anything possible to rescue her–including undertaking a daring mission into the heart of the regime. Her story is masterfully braided together with two other narrative threads. In one, a North Korean peasant woman finds a forbidden international aid balloon and uses the valuables inside to launch a dangerously lucrative black-market business. In the other, a high-ranking North Korean official discovers, to his horror, that he may be descended from a traitor, a fact that could mean his death if it is revealed. As the novel progresses, these narrative strands converge and connect in surprising ways, ultimately building to an explosive and unforgettable climax.

Happy reading! Jennifer

 

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea @urrealism @littlebrown #thehouseofbrokenangels #bookreview #tarheelreader

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This is a must-read, and I added it to my “huggable” book shelf, which is my highest recommendation I can give a book, one that I love so much I hug it.

My Review:

The House of Broken AngelsThe House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 epic family saga stars to The House of Broken Angels! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

I have found a new author to love. Luis Alberto Urrea is a storyteller, and that is the highest compliment I can give any author.

Big Angel de la Cruz is the patriarch of his family, and he is dying. The book opens with him having to say goodbye to his mother at her funeral while also knowing he is living his last days.

Big Angel recounts the story of his family and how they came to live in the United States, a tale filled with secrets and lore. The de la Cruz family is complex, the dynamics fraught with the push and pull so native to families. Big Angel’s storytelling is raw and honest, so genuinely authentic, I could see these characters in three dimension and feel their pulses.

The House of Broken Angels is an epic story, one in which to lose yourself. One to help you reflect on your own family and its own push and pull. There is so much to love here and so much with which to relate. There is humor that will make you laugh and heartbreak, too, because isn’t that what families have to walk through together? Indelible is used in the description of this book. Yep, that summarizes it perfectly in one single word. Indelible. And huggable.

Thank you to Luis Alberto Urrea, Little, Brown and Company, and Netgalley for the ARC. The House of Broken Angels is available now!

My reviews can also be found on my shiny new blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
View all my reviews

Synopsis: 

The definitive Mexican-American immigrant story, at once intimate and epic, from an acclaimed storyteller.

In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel De La Cruz, known affectionately as Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly one hundred, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader.

Across one bittersweet weekend in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle among the palm trees and cacti, celebrating the lives of Big Angel and his mother, and recounting the many tales that have passed into family lore, the acts both ordinary and heroic that brought them to a fraught and sublime country and allowed them to flourish in the land they have come to call home. The story of the De La Cruzes is the American story. This indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and it cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.

Do you enjoy family stories? What are some of your favorites? Happy reading! JTHR 

The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth Winthrop @groveatlantic #themercyseat #elizabethhwinthrop #bookreview #tarheelreader

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My Review:

The Mercy SeatThe Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars to emotive and lyrically-written, The Mercy Seat! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Thanks to my friend, Cheri, for this recommendation. As you can see, I adored it!

It is 1943 in New Iberia, Louisiana, and Willie Jones is eighteen-years-old and sitting in prison cell on the eve of his execution by electric chair.

Told through sometimes short vignettes, we hear multiple perspectives in third person carefully pieced together. The DA who prosecuted Willie, Willie’s father who is lugging a gravestone on a highway via an old mule (imagine, oh how my heart hurt), a married couple, Ora and Dale, who have secrets of their own; all of these viewpoints round out this story and add so much depth.

This book was the starkest contradiction of beauty and brutality, pure of heart and total heartbreak. Elizabeth Winthrop’s gift for prose is beyond memorable, not only to my ear as I felt I was hearing these characters speak to me as I read, but also to my heart, as the words were etched firmly there.

I recommend this one without hesitation to my friends who enjoy eloquent writing and deeply moving, important stories. The Mercy Seat is a standout.

Thank you to Elizabeth Winthrop, Grove Press, and Netgalley. The Mercy Seat is available now!

My reviews can also be found on my shiny new blog www.jennifertarheelreader.com

View all my reviews

Synopsis:

A breakout novel by “a bitingly intelligent writer” (New York Times Book Review) set during the hours leading up to the scheduled execution of a young black man for the alleged rape of a white woman in a small Louisiana town in 1943.

“One of the finest writers of her generation” (Brad Watson), and author of three previously acclaimed novels, Elizabeth H. Winthrop delivers a brave new book that will launch her distinguished career anew. An incisive, meticulously crafted portrait of race, racism, and injustice in the Jim Crow era South that is as intimate and tense as a stage drama, The Mercy Seat is a stunning account of one town’s foundering over a trauma in their midst.

On the eve of his execution, eighteen year old Willie Jones sits in his cell in New Iberia awaiting his end. Across the state, a truck driven by a convict and his keeper carries the executioner’s chair closer. On a nearby highway, Willie’s father Frank lugs a gravestone on the back of his fading, old mule. In his office the DA who prosecuted Willie reckons with his sentencing, while at their gas station at the crossroads outside of town, married couple Ora and Dale grapple with their grief and their secrets.

As various members of the township consider and reflect on what Willie’s execution means, an intricately layered and complex portrait of a Jim Crow era Southern community emerges. Moving from voice to voice, Winthrop elegantly brings to stark light the story of a town, its people, and its injustices. The Mercy Seat is a brutally incisive and tender novel from one of our most acute literary observers.

Happy Saturday and happy reading! JTHR