A Tangled Mercyby Published 01 Nov 2017
|A Tangled Mercy.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
Told in alternating tales at once haunting and redemptive, A Tangled Mercy is a quintessentially American epic rooted in heartbreaking true events examining the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, and our enduring hope for freedom and forgiveness.
After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture—and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt—the subject of her mother’s own research.
Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves.
Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.
"A Tangled Mercy" Reviews
A haunting book, A Tangled Mercy held my attention gripped in it's claws from the first page. A time slip book it contains alternating chapters taking place in the modern time of 2015 and the past time of 1822. Based on true facts of what really happened in Charleston, South Carolina. The author has done an absolutely amazing job of research and presenting facts in this book.The writing though is not stiff and boring it flows and keeps you wanting to read it. The story touched on the slave rebellion planned by Denmark Vesey in 1822 but aborted when terrified associates leaked the plan to the white men of the city. The 2015 part included the massacre of nine members of a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. When the author went to this church to interview people she was welcomed in. The two time periods have just the right amount of information that keeps you reading rapidly right to the end to see the conclusion. At times heartbreaking and heartwarming you will love this historical fiction. This is my first book I've read by Joy Jordan-Lake and I am now looking for more books by this author.
Pub Date 01 Nov 2017
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
I've been excited about this one for a long time! The backstory of how this book came to be what it is is really incredible, and I hope Joy tells it publicly one day. The story itself is timely and engaging, and perfect for fans of historical fiction that flips back and forth in time, like you'd see in the works of Kate Morton or Susan Meissner.
When I first started this book I felt ambivalent about the way this book is written. Chapter by chapter, the story fluctuates between the years 1822 with the planning of the failed slave revolt and 2015 with Kate Drayton running back to Charleston after the death of her mother to find answers as to why her mother, Sarah Grace, ran away from Charleston many years ago. It may seem confusing at first, but soon I fell into the rhythm. The time spent in 1822 centers around the blacksmith slave, Tom Russell, and how he is tied into Kate's mother's obsession with what happened back then. There is a cryptic notation on one of Sarah Grace Drayton's papers saying "Tom Russell SURVIVED" and Kate wants to discover why this slave from 1822 meant so much to her mother.
Staring out at the water, Kate makes her first Charleston friend, a young boy named Gabe. I enjoyed seeing the interplay between the two of them and watching the friendship grow. Gabe is a gifted child, more at home with adults than with kids his own age. She soon gets to meet Daniel Russell, Gabe's father. Russell, the same last name as that blacksmith slave involved in the 1822 failed slave revolt. This is a story about love, family and putting the jigsaw puzzle that is your life together.
Kate could never understand why her mother, with her in tow, ran away from Charleston which she loved or why her father wanted nothing to do with her. She came to Charleston to get answers on this and also why her mother was obsessed with the failed slave revolt back in 1822, especially with Tom Russell, the blacksmith.
I was horrified to hear a modern day politician say that things were better back in the days of slavery. It's been approximately 150 years since the Civil War and this country still can't get rid of that prejudice and hatred. The author was in the process of writing this book when the nine people were murdered at a church Bible study. She talked to her editor about it and they decided that it had to be included in this book. I still started to tear up reading about it and realized that this country has actually gone backwards since that atrocity occurred. Like Hitler's Germany and their blaming the Jews for all their problems, many people in this country blame people who are different for the troubles in their lives. A Tangled Mercy shows how detrimental slavery was for both the slave and the slave owner.
Many years ago there was a very popular book which was made into a very popular TV miniseries, called Roots. I would recommend both the book and the miniseries. Kate Drayton wants to get back to her roots and discovers whether black or white, family is family.
A Tangled Mercy is no action packed thriller. It has secrets that need to be brought to light and they are. It is a thought provoking, well written book, a little confusing at first but once all the secrets are no longer secrets, I felt a sense of well-being.
Joy Jordan-Lake paints a beautiful picture of Charleston that almost makes you want to move there. We all know that the surface may seem beautiful but not so beautiful when you get under the surface. I have no plans to move there.
I received this book in a giveaway from Amazon Kindle in exchange for an honest review.
I am not a mystery reader, but found myself engaged with this novel from the start – likely because this is a hybrid of a story: it reads like a mystery, but also is a historical novel with a dual contemporary-commercial story running right alongside it.
I adore historical fiction, and the southern setting and time period have a special place in my heart (as a research period and locale for my own work). I enjoyed the peek into the 1800s setting and into the conflicting attitudes of women in slave-holding households. As well, the descriptions of Charleston and the Low Country are lovely, and the contemporary story has a bittersweet + heartwarming ending. The bigger issues of race are well-drawn, also.
I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s acknowledgements and her subsequent notes about this book’s genesis, its unintended metamorphosis AFTER it was completed, and the gentle way she treats events within the book that are based on past – and recent – history in the United States.
This was the perfect read for me while I was on the treadmill. If you enjoy commercial/women’s fiction and dual novels constructed with a person in the present investigating clues from the past, and the past story running concurrently, this is the book for you.
A Tangled Mercy is the best book I have read in a long time. The writer did a great job of holding my interest and I hated to put it down. She did a wonderful job in her research in Charleston and her writing is easy to read. I loved the way she went back and forth from 1822 to 2015 and how it all tied together. It kept me guessing all along as to the ending which was a pleasant surprise. My favorite books are historical fiction and this is one of the best.