Little Mercies
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Little Mercies

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  2,904 ratings  ·  553 reviews
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds de...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
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Diane S.
A book that serves as a caution to the many of us out there, working and raising families. How very easy it is to let something slip, how one mistake can have a serious outcome, quickly spiraling out of control. Also the look a the hard job of being a social worker, and the many terrible things that happen in families.

I love this author because her books are usually so different, quirky and surprising. This book was much more predictable, I pretty much guessed everything that would happen. That...more
Inspired Kathy
This was a great story that had me second thinking how I look at and judge others. The story focuses on Ellen who through a series of unplanned events ends upleaving her child in the car on a hot day. Is this a crime worthy of prosecution and punishment or a terrible mistake? Ellen is a social worker and has taken children away fromtheirparents, now the tables have been turned and she is the one being investigated.

I finished reading this book in Mid-July. Just last weeka story hit our local news...more
Wendy
Heather Gudenkauf has proven, once again, that she is a master storyteller.
She writes a gripping story about a horrific incident that happens, all too often, in society today.
Ellen a dedicated and hard working social worker juggles her marriage, raising three children and her demanding career. On a daily basis she witnesses the horrors inflicted upon children and does her best to remove them from that enviroment.
One day something happens, a moments distraction, which threatens the life of her c...more
Mary Kubica
I just loved this book! I found it to be both gripping and emotionally moving, especially as a mother myself; I was in tears by the end of the book. Heather Gudenkauf does an amazing job exploring various mother/child relationships throughout LITTLE MERCIES - both good ones and bad - and explores the effect one huge mishap in parenting (something which, in all honesty, could happen to any of us, making it all the more terrifying) has on our protagonist Ellen Moore and her family. I'm so honored...more
Sarah D
As someone who holds a Bachelors in Social Work, and is currently working on a Masters, I was VERY excited to read Little Mercies. I was pumped to read a book about a Social Worker, a self proclaimed advocate for children.

I was extremely disappointed.

I should start by saying that I've read one of Gudenkauf's other books, and I was less than impressed. I remember little about the book other than the fact that I didn't like it. So when I realized who had written Little Mercies, I was already in...more
Kathy Worrell
Another great book written by Heather Gudenkauf!

I started reading her novel, when I came upon the "one small mistake [that] can have a life-altering consequence" (around page 50) and I almost put the book down. I just didn't think I could go on. Especially since this "mistake" is currently monopolizing our own headlines today! I thought, Do I really want to read about this? Then I said, Just one more page.....

The author's books are so emotionally charged and engaging that I was pulled right int...more
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

A social worker charged with child negligence? A ten-year old left alone? What do Ellen and Jenny have in common?
The common thread has built a beautifully written story by Ms. Gudenkauf. It deals with social services from the adult and the child's side and what can easily happen both good and bad​.

​You will feel Ellen's pain as she deals with an accident she herself as a social worker deals with every day but with a situation she never thought she would have to personally deal with.
You will wan...more
Beadyjan
Heather Gudenkaufs books just get better and better, this one's amazing. She creates complex characters with such competence I can't believe they aren't real people.

The story is told from two perspectives, that of Ellen the social worker, her busy personal life as a devoted Mother of 3, whose frantic personal life competes for her time with her beloved career of child care social worker to which she is completely dedicated. Any woman who has juggled home life and career will relate to her somet...more
Hilary
A complex, heartbreaking, wonderful story of people whose lives and stories intertwine in completely unexpected ways. I was drawn in from the very beginning by the eloquent language, by the too-clear images of the children Ellen cares for and their emotionally shattered states, and by the real horror and disbelief of the new situation: a terrible, horrible mistake that could happen to anyone. She suffers one blow after another, beginning to fear the experience she's only seen from the other side...more
Myrna
Oh my, oh my. Well done Heather! Little Mercies is an unforgettable emotional roller coaster ride told through alternating POVs “…of a guilt–ridden mother and innocent but determined child.” (Little Mercies: A Conversation with Heather Gudenkauf).

The story line is very realistic. When Ellen (a mother and social worker) suddenly finds her life altered, I found myself thinking/asking questions. What would I have done? This could happen to me, a family member, a friend, or my next door neighbor. L...more
Tania
Motherhood is a procession of goodbyes. Some bittersweet and filled with promise and hope, some gradual, a gentle prying away of your fingers from something precious, some more violent, unexpected.


A quick, easy but sometimes upsetting read. The story jumps between Ellen Moore, a social worker and Jenny, an abused 10 year old. If you are a Jodi Picoult fan, you'll enjoy this. My only critisism is that the story could have been fleshed out more with an ending that wasn't so perfect. All in all sti...more
Christa
Little Mercies is another fantastic book by Heather Gudenkauf! This must read author never misses the mark, and this may be her best yet! The book was in turn heartbreaking, hopeful, and uplifting. It is one that I am sure to read again.

I was drawn to the character of Ellen in the prequel, and immediately liked her in this book. It was so compelling that I read as fast as I could to find out what would happen. The mistake Ellen made was unintentional, heartbreaking, and life changing.

When we see...more
Jill

I always get excited when I see a new book coming out by Heather Gudenkauf as I have read all her books to date and loved them. Little Mercies is no exception. I always find her books gripping reads with some serious and sensitive storylines.

If anyone has read the short story Little Lies, you will already have a brief introduction to Ellen Moore who is the main character. If not, don't worry, it is not essential. Ellen is a social worker within children's services which as we can all imagine, le...more
Cynthia Archer
I really enjoyed Heather Gudenkauf's novel, "These Things Hidden". It was thrilling and compelling. I was excited at the chance to read "Little Mercies". I liked it even more. I am so glad that I didn't really know much about the storyline when I began. I immediately connected with the book and was totally hooked when the real shocker came. It literally took my breath away.
Heather has the ability to allow you inside the head of her characters. You not only understand them, but you feel what th...more
Denise
4.0 out of 5 stars -- "You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible."

Social worker, wife, and busy mother of 3, Ellen Moore makes a dreadful, almost deadlly mistake one morning. Though she's usually the one rescuing children or removing them from abusive homes, this time she's on the defensive as she accidentally left her infant daughter inside a van on a hot summer morning in Iowa. The full ramifications of this act become a nightmare for th...more
Mandy
This terrifyingly realistic and quite chilling tale of how one split second mistake or lack of judgement can have devastating consequences kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Ellen Moore is s social worker and has dedicated her working life to trying to save children from the most horrific abuse imaginable. She’s also a dedicated and loving mother. But one day something happens, a moment’s inattention, which threatens everything she has worked for. The reader is drawn in form p...more
Marti
Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf is an emotional story about the strength of a family and living a life helping others. It reminds us about the power of taking responsibility. So many things can happen in the blink of an eye and accidents can happen so quickly. And then a family is left distraught. In the midst of this comes the strength of moving forward and the little mercies that help make everyday more bearable.

This is the story of Adam and Ellen with their three children. This is the st...more
Denise
Wow...what an emotional book! Every parent can relate to making a heart-stopping mistake. You know, the ones that make you simultaneously count your blessings and want to turn back the clock...the "if only" moments that give us nightmares. This book serves as a good reminder that we are all human and sometimes maybe too quick to judge.

Without any spoilers, it's a story told from two different points of view. The first is the story of a social worker who is struggling to find work-life balance in...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Focused solely on the faces of the young, frightened children creeping from their home into the waiting arms of a police officer, the sweat dripping into her eyes from the fierce summer sun, social worker Ellen Moore ignores the shouting from the street behind her. Until she hears the sound of shattering glass and turns to see a stranger emerging from the minivan parked at the curb, cradling Ellen's eleven month old daughter in her arms.

A harrowing tale highlighting the vulnerability of childre...more
Maggie61
Score another one for heather gudenkauf! I bought this as soon as I could get my hands on it. Part of me wanted to put off reading it and saving for holidays but more of me said, no way and I devoured it.
A few parts of it were a little difficult to read, it's always hard to read what terrible things some people do to children. I was just on a Facebook page recently dealing with this same issue and people had such definite opinions on guilt or innocence of these cases and most referred to the pa...more
Lisa B.
My Thoughts
Ellen Moore is a social worker who mostly works with troubled families. Ten-year old Jenny Briard comes from a troubled family. This is the story of how Ellen and Jenny are both fighting through a difficult period in their lives and how their paths cross.

I always get excited when I find out that Heather Gudenkauf has written a new novel. I find her writing to be thoughtful and relevant. She takes everyday people and writes realistic stories about them. What happened to Ellen could hap...more
Lynn
I normally would not give a book like this 5 stars, but since I was up until 2 AM reading it because I could not put it down I think it rates the extra star. The story is "ripped from the headlines", the characters are well developed, and the plotting is well done and well paced. I could not stop turning the pages. There are a couple of interesting twists at the end. Heather Gudenkauf has become one of my favorite authors.
Kim
Could not put this book down! I was hooked from the first page as Ellen talks about some of the horrible things she sees in her job as a social worker and 10 yr old Jenny embarks on an unintended solo journey as she witnesses her father being arrested at the bus station while she waits from him to join her on a bus out of town. The author switches back and forth between Ellen and Jenny's perspective each chapter, which often left me hanging and having to continue reading so I could find out what...more
Tami Carpel
I really enjoy reading this author! She did not disappoint me with this book. While storyline (both stories interchangeably throughout the book) were heart wrenching, they were real stories that could easily happen and felt connected and sympathizing to both if the main characters. I would definitely recommend this book to read!
Barbara Kinsky
I collect all Ms Gudenkauf's books and this one did not disappoint! I found the plot brilliant as well as being taught that it is so important to savour LITTLE MERCIES in our lives. When things go wrong it is amazing what one little act of kindness can do to change the situation. The only problem I had with this book is that there were so many words in sentences missing (not sure if this only applies to the UK edition or what). Highly recommended!
Patty
Little Mercies
By
Heather Gudenkauf



My " in a nutshell" summary...

Ellen...a very caring social worker...accidentally leaves her 11 month old daughter in a very hot car for over 45 minutes...at the same time Ellen's mother finds and helps a very young girl...Jenny...who has been separated from her father. Ellen and Jenny each have their own separate tragedies occurring at the same time.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book was paced perfectly. I say this because I was totally entwined in...more
Amy
Once again, this is another solid book from Heather Gudenkauf. It builds on a well-developed premise- what if you were suddenly put in the shoes of someone that you once judged? The difference in this plot is that it is a social worker, who once was the judge of other parents, who makes an honest and life-altering mistake, and is now the one who must be judged as a parent. Told in alternating points of view from an abandoned child who is quite familiar with the social worker setting and the view...more
Judy Collins
Heather Gudenkauf's LITTLE MERCIES is Totally Amazing! A book you will want to devour; however, you find yourself savoring every minute of this intense, and heartfelt story!

A social worker finds herself living her own nightmare. LITTLE MERCIES is a powerful "must read," 5-Star Winner! Every woman, mother, and daughter will relate to this gripping and emotionally charged novel.

Set in Iowa, Ellen and Adam are happily married, with three small children living busy harried lives. Ellen is a loving...more
Tea Time with Marce
From my blog

Heather Gudenkauf is a go to author when she releases a new book. I loved her debut The Weight of Silence and loved this one just as much. Her writing style grabs you with a genuine embrace. The emotional hold had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

There were two stories going on which started to intertwine and both took hold of me without competing but adding to the mystery and outcome of both. One of the main things I enjoy about Heather G's books is I begin to love all the characte...more
Cleo Bannister
Ellen, happily married to Adam, mother to three children and a demanding working life as a Social Worker. We first meet Ellen on one of those hectic mornings that any parent will recognise, and they leave the house to their appointments without time for a coherent conversation. Ellen drives to one of her families straight into a disaster, finding the police are in attendance when she turns up. Ellen is doing her job and deeply concerned about the family so it isn’t until she hears a commotion th...more
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Heather is the NYT and USA Today Bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and THESE THINGS HIDDEN.
More about Heather Gudenkauf...
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“You have to look for the little mercies, the small kindnesses and good that come from the terrible.” 2 likes
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