Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner and a Giveaway

“We understand what we want to understand.”

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is? ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts about The Shape of Mercy ~~

I read this book in March of 2011 and posted my thoughts then. Let me tell you, I loved it! And then I loaned it to a friend and forgot that she had it. She returned it to me the other day and I was once again reminded of how much I loved the story.

Now, I have to admit, there is no way that I can keep all the books that come into my house (you probably know all about that) so I am going to offer The Shape of Mercy to one lucky follower of The Book Bag.

Here are my thoughts from March 2011 and a link to the original post. It's kind of amazing to me to see how my posts have evolved since then.
This book caught my eye because I have always been fascinated by the subject of the Salem witch trials. This is a story about a young woman, Lauren, who has been hired to transcribe a diary that was written by a young woman, Mercy, who was accused in the trials. This starts a journey for Lauren to discover who she is and to examine how she feels about her life of privilege.

One of the great lines from this book ~~"When you only do what is expected of you, you never learn what you would've done had you chosen for yourself." ~~ is exactly what Lauren is struggling with.
The Shape of Mercy is very well written and I found myself caring for both Lauren and Mercy from the very beginning. We also meet the owner of the diary, Abigail, an older woman who reveals in one of their transcribing sessions ~~ "He was the man I should have married." Lauren is determined to find out what she means by that statement but she also wonders if she, herself, in too concerned with what she 'should' do.

I enjoyed this book immensely and will be recommending it to my friends!

The author's website says she writes "Fiction for the Restless Reader". I am pretty sure that I am a restless reader and I know that I am going to be reading more of Susan Meissner's books!

~~ I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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And be sure to check the sidebar for my other giveaways.


  1. Have a great and happy new year!

    1. Thanks Lauren! Happy new year wishes to you too. We've got lots of great books to look forward to in 2013!

  2. I hope you have a fabulous new year!

  3. Happy New Year!!

    This one sounds awesome:)

    Thank you:)

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Christina. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I don't know why, but I am totally drawn to the cover of this book.

    1. I know, Jackie, I love this cover too. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Happy New Year. I absolutely love the idea of this book, and I am fascinated by the Salem witch trials, too. They are very intriguing
    GREAT giveaway and post
    Your reader,

    1. Thanks for stopping by - I just visited your blog (new follower!) I love your tag line - 'where reading is mandatory'

  6. Happy New Year. The best of health and happiness. Thanks for this featured giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. This book sounds wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway!

  8. THANK YOU! Looking forward to reading this one!


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