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New Mercies

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,853 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
Natchez, Mississippi, in 1933 is a place suspended in time. The silver and china is still dented and cracked from Yankee invaders. And the houses have names...and memories. Nora Bondurant is running away--from her husband's death, from his secrets, and from the ghosts that dog her every step. When she receives a telegram informing her that she has an inheritance, Nora sudd ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 21st 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 2005)
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☕Laura
Feb 09, 2015 ☕Laura rated it liked it
I was really torn between three and four stars for this one, so I guess I'm giving it 3.5. I found myself very wrapped up in the story and anxious to continue reading yet at the same time I recognize that it was at times predictable and not quite of four-star status. Definitely an enjoyable, easy read for me and a nice break from the "heavier" books I often gravitate towards.
Sue
I read Sandra Dallas' "Tallgrass" with my reading group, really liked it, and determined to read more of her books. 'New Mercies' is the second of her books that I've read. I enjoyed that it was set in Natchez, Mississippi - a place that I knew little about prior to some reading that I've done in recent years. I've learned that Natchez was a great economic center before the Civil War, and that there are many historic mansions in the town. Another interesting facet of 'New Mercies' is that it is ...more
Marleen
Sep 21, 2015 Marleen rated it liked it
Shelves: sandra-dallas
I’ve always enjoyed Sandra Dallas’s books. Although here, with “New Mercies” it took me practically getting to the middle of the book before I started to get interested in the story and charmed by the characters. First off, it was very difficult to visualize the 1930ies era – I really didn't feel it from the pages – and I needed to constantly remind myself – okay this 1933 so see the clothes, the cars, the furniture. It was sort of challenging.
As for the story, I enjoyed it because it felt very
...more
Sarah
Aug 24, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
I have become a devoted Sandra Dallas fan. Some themes continuously run through her books, some of them I find refreshing and enjoyable (small niblets of faith). Others I find tiresome when they keep popping up in each story (somehow the main character is always drawn to quilting or something....fine for a quilting story, but annoying when it keeps popping up in all of her stories!).

Although I loved this story and I appreciated some of the real, raw heartache that I experienced with the charact
...more
Carole
May 25, 2010 Carole rated it liked it
This book is set in Natchez, Mississippi, in the 1930's, and contains plenty of Southern culture and dialogue, i.e., (spoken by a colored ex-slave) "I guess I've been in Hell's kitchen and licked the spoon." And another: "It's just narrow-hearted littleness."

Spoken by the town Sheriff: "We train our women to be charming. Miss Amalie couldn't hardly teach or operate the typewriter....We treasure our womenfolk in the South, but there ain't no market for 'em."

The "new mercies" refer to God's gifts
...more
Lewestover
Jul 10, 2010 Lewestover rated it liked it
Interesting tale involving a young divorcee who discovers relatives she never knew existed when she is willed a southern mansion in 1933. The word miscegenation was added to my vocabulary. The side story of this woman's divorce added an interesting twist, especially considering the time frame of the book.
Heidi
Nov 24, 2016 Heidi rated it it was ok
It wasn't awful; there was just nothing about this book that I found remarkable or particularly engaging. The story line could have been interesting, had more life been breathed into it. The author very clearly presented two mysteries near the beginning of the book (why was Aunt Amalia murdered? And how did Nora's husband die?). But he characters were not interesting enough to draw me in or to make me care about the answers. (Plus, the answer to the first questions seemed pretty obvious to me be ...more
Jessica Dudenhofer Beery
Dec 31, 2016 Jessica Dudenhofer Beery rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-book
I've enjoyed every book I've read by this author and quickly finish them...the suspense of this southern tale was a new twist on her style, and she did a great job nailing it. The book was clean...the only thing questionable was a twist that involved a homosexual adulterous relationship that ruined a marriage. But even that was handled pretty tactfully.
Loved all the historical details (this author's specialty), including life as a slave in the deep South and many of their quirky habits/tradition
...more
Kelsey Burnette
Nov 20, 2016 Kelsey Burnette rated it liked it
Another enjoyable book by Sandra Dallas.
Marsha Dawson
Nov 22, 2016 Marsha Dawson rated it liked it
I enjoyed this simple and predictable story of Nora's search for family identity.
Anne Hawn Smith
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I liked it. There were good characters and an interesting plot. Nora Bondurant Tate is recovering from her divorce and finds that she has inherited a crumbling antebellum house from a aunt that she didn't know she had. Nora knew little about her father and had no idea that he was from an old Natches, MS family. Even more incredible was the fact that her aunt was murdered by an old lover who committed suicide after he shot her. Her aunt was kno ...more
Jenny Tonks
Sep 21, 2016 Jenny Tonks rated it it was amazing
A short, quick read, but one that grips the reader and keeps them turning pages. The author definitely did her homework--she captures the true spirit of the south and her people, their plight and dark secrets, too. A mystery woven throughout the main character's family history journey will keep readers on their toes. Loved it!
Diana
Jul 11, 2012 Diana rated it really liked it
Sandra Dallas is such an interesting author. Her books cover such different time periods, settings, and her characters have such depth.
New Mercies is set in the 1930's in Denver and Natchez Mississippi.
Nora Bondurant recently has gotten a divorce after discovering her husband's deep secret. Right after the divorce, her husband commits susicide. Nora receives a telegram asking her to come to
Mississippi to claim an inherentence from an aunt she never knew she had. (isn't an inhertence from so
...more
Book Concierge
Dallas turns her attention to the deep South in her latest historical novel, inspired by the real-life murder of the “goat lady” in Natchez Mississippi.

The time is 1933. Nora Bondurant Tate, barely recovering from her divorce just about a year previously, has been notified that an aunt she didn’t know she had has left her entire estate to Nora. She leaves Denver for Natchez with the mistaken notion that she’ll be staying at Avoca, the house that has been in the Bondurant family since before ‘th
...more
Joyce
Feb 22, 2015 Joyce rated it really liked it
New Mercies is another great novel by Sandra Dallas. The story takes place in 1933 and is set in Natchez, Mississippi. Dallas does a fantastic job of depicting the culture and speech of the people of Natchez. Nora Bondurant, a young woman who has recently gone through a very unpleasant divorce after 10 years of marriage, is informed that she has inherited the estate of an aunt she has never known about. She travels from her home in Denver to Natchez, Mississippi where her aunt Amalia Bondurant h ...more
Wanda
May 17, 2013 Wanda rated it really liked it
Set in Depression-era Mississippi, this book is a wonderful combination of culture and an interesting mystery. Nora Bondurant has come to Mississippi to settle the estate of an elderly aunt that she did not know existed until several weeks before. She is introduced to the culture of the antebellum South as it existed in 1933 among the remnants of the great mansions of Natchez, Mississippi. As she becomes acquainted with the friends and family of her aunt, she begins to become aware of a mystery ...more
Carolyn
Aug 13, 2012 Carolyn rated it liked it

Sandra Dallas often writes about the Rocky Mountains, but "New Mercies" takes place mostly in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1933. Nora Bondurant is summoned by telegram to receive an inheritance from her father's aunt, of whom she never knew. Nora goes to Natchez, hoping to learn more about her father and the family from which he had been estranged. She learns that she has inherited a decaying house named Avoca, the remains of a plantation, and a mystery. Her elderly, eccentric aunt, Amalia Bondurant
...more
Tammy
Oct 01, 2012 Tammy rated it really liked it
Nora Bondurant is surprised to learn she's inherited an old plantation in Natchez, Mississippi when an aunt that she didn't know existed dies. She jumps at the chance to leave Colorado for a visit to the south and to learn about her dad's family. She is running away—from her husband's death and his secrets. Now she has a place to run too. Natchez, Mississippi, in 1933 is a place suspended in time. The silver and china are still dented and cracked from Yankee invaders. When she arrives she learns ...more
Amanda
Jan 25, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
In the 1930s, a woman born and raised in Colorado (granddaughter of Alice and Charlie Bullock from Alice's Tulips) is left an estate in Natchez, Mississippi, when a paternal aunt she never knew dies.

She heads for Natchez to see the place and maybe learn a bit about her father, who died when she was only a baby.

She finds a town where Southerners still remember slavery times and a war they remember as the end of a precious and privileged way of life. There is a brief but telling conversation about
...more
Ashley
Oct 11, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it
Quick, interesting read. Not overly exciting or suspenseful, this light mystery takes place in Natchez, MS in 1932. It was a book club pick I wasn't really looking forward to, but found myself enjoying instead. I didn't want to read another book dealing with the repercussions of slavery, and although it's obviously part of the story, it's not the main focus. The main focus is instead on the mystery surrounding the death of the "Goat Lady" and her niece's attempt to get to know her posthumously. ...more
Ginger
Aug 20, 2016 Ginger rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was very well researched and the dialogue made me feel that I was living in 1933. Ms. Dallas is a Denver author so all is very familiar. The book is split between Denver and Natchez, Mississippi. Ms. Dallas does a lot of book signings in Denver since she lives here and I have seen her a few times. At one of her signings she told two stories that happened to her that are both in this book. Just briefly mentioned, however I remember laughing with her when she told the stories ...more
Ida
Jan 10, 2011 Ida rated it liked it
I listened to this one on my ipod. Purchased it from audible. I think I always like books better when I listen. The narrator did a great job. It was a pleasant book about the south and how the main character soldiered on in the face of her own personal tragedy. She stands up to that well, and to the oddities of a southern culture she doesn't quite understand. THe book is part mystery, as she struggles to understand how her late aunt was killed and what the family structure and family relationshi ...more
Carole Roman
Dec 23, 2013 Carole Roman rated it it was amazing
Sandra Dallas writes like a painter. Her characters are well drawn, she uses words as deftly as a master artist, shading with subtle use of language. As I was reading, I could see the sepia tones of the dusty roads, the smudged mustiness of the faded glory of decaying mansions. Nora is believable and likable, her search for the answers to her past propelling you deeper into the twisted tangle of her ancestor's secret history. Nora's secrets, her family's myth's, the town's role in her quest will ...more
Cathy
Nov 02, 2012 Cathy rated it really liked it
This is about Nora, whose husband has died and she believes that it was suicide because of secrets he had and she knew about them. Then she gets a telegram telling her she has inherited a home in Natchez Mississippi. She knew little about her father's people and she learns that the lure of Natchez runs deep. Nora's aunt was killed in a murder/suicide and the locals are saying no more - except in hushed tones. She soon learns surprising things about the life and death of her aunt. Kinship isn't ...more
Keilani Ludlow
Mar 30, 2011 Keilani Ludlow rated it liked it
I think this is my second fav. of her books. Persian Pickle Club is first. A woman finds out about an inheritance from an unknown great-aunt in the South in the 1930's. She leaves Denver to (unknowingly) discover her past at a time when her present is painful at best. Small spoiler - there is a limited homosexual element in the book. Other than that, it's an interesting read, and as always with her books, a fascinating glimpse into a different time period. I also like that not only is it a diffe ...more
Amber
Jan 19, 2008 Amber rated it liked it
I usually enjoy Southern books more than I enjoyed this one. It was a daring attempt at a period piece and a murder mystery. Set in the 1930's in the south, it covered the results of slavery, the politics of divorce and the talent Southern women have in being both insulting and charming all in the same breath. But I really couldn't read it fast enough - I just wanted to get to the point and find out who really killed the old lady in the decaying house and why. Oh and it was worth reading just to ...more
Elizabeth
Nov 21, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This is a really easy read, just a story that you'll quickly immerse yourself into and leave, feeling like you met a new friend. Nora has escaped a failed marriage only to find she's the sole inheritor of an unknown aunt's estate in Natchez, Mississippi. She journeys there to attempt to sort through her aunt's life and to find out just who this unknown woman was, meanwhile, she reminisces about her own life.


I just love Southern stories. This book gave just a glimpse into 1930s Mississippi. It l
...more
Donna
Oct 31, 2010 Donna rated it really liked it
I realized into this book that I had read it some time ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it again this time, maybe more. It is a wonderful story of the South in the early 1900's, actually the 1920's. Sandra Dallas takes our main character, a young woman in Colorado, into her past in Mississippi. Unknown to her, she has a strong connection to people that she had never known existed. The secrets of her father's past come into the light as she explores her inherited home in Natchez. Interesting characters, ...more
Kathryn
Nov 04, 2014 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, 2014-books
I rather love when I find a book by an author who has a lot of books out already, and I really like the writing. It is interesting to read a book set during the 30's, set in the deep south, with characters who lived through the "war", which did not refer to the World War I as you might expect, which was known as the "great war" at the time. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed reading the dialogue. The book has the feel of being narrated by the main character. I love that she explains ...more
Lessa
Feb 27, 2013 Lessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Was originally drawn to this Colorado author for the historical fiction set here in the state I love, but I've long been a fan of Southern fiction, and this was a great blend of both, with a character leaving behind her home in Colorado (with flashbacks to her time there) to claim her inheritance and find out about a family history she never even knew about (something else that appeals to me). The author is into quilting, which she works into her stories, but this story is artfully pieced togeth ...more
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Award-winning author SANDRA DALLAS was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine. Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films.

A journalism graduate of the University of Denver, Sandra began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. A staff
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