My Review of Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Description: 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?

My Review: I am totally in awe of Susan Meissner. This is the first book of hers that I have read and it won't be the last. The way that she was able to capture the 1600's and also write in the present was truly magnificent. The characters are real. I felt as if I was with Mercy in Salem Village, and with Lauren in Santa Barbara. This book hits me on a personal level as well....In reading the book, and my own limited knowledge about the Salem Witch Trials hearing the behavior described that the men and women who were accused of being witches had; fits, tremors, twitching, etc. really makes me thankful that I wasn't born in that time period. I say that because that behavior is very close if not identical to Epilepsy a disorder that I have. It makes me wonder how many in Salem were accused of being witches who were MURDERED, and were actually sick. Since they didn't have the medical knowledge that we have today it was just easier to accuse and blame. This book will make you step back and make you think twice about making a quick judgement about someone, it will also show you Mercy in another light. I highly recommend this book, and I give it a lighthouse and shine a light on it for leading a path to God!


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