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The Tender Mercy of Roses

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
While the body of rodeo star Pony Jones lies motionless in the northern Alabama woods, her spirit is on a mission to find her killer. Invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense, the only thing Pony can do is guide the living to the truth. Her grief-stricken father, Titus, wants nothing more than retribution for his daughter's death, so when former police detective Jo ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Gallery Books
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For more details, read the Goodreads synopsis of The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels.

This book has so much to love: murder, mystery, ghosts, family secrets, and addiction recovery! I really liked seeing the plot from Pony's perspective (the ghost); JoBeth Dawson was a real kick in the pants protagonist, and the ending was quite the surprise! This was the author's debut novel and I look forward to reading more by her.

Go Cards! L1C4!!
Jan 27, 2011 Laura rated it did not like it
I shouldn't really mark this as "read" because it was a DNF. Mysteries are my preferred genre, like comfort food, and this one had such promise but the florid (is there a word for overly florid?) prose just did me in. Each paragraph had at least one analogy or purple passage in it - "Was it possible the tragedy collecting on her like green scum on dead water wasn't her fault?" is just one example.

If you like that kind of writing along with your mystery, go for it. I'll pass.
May 29, 2011 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Pony Jones was just twenty six years old when she was murdered. Pony had so much potential. She was one of the best rodeo riders. She could even out ride some of the men. Could this be the reason why Pony was murdered? Pony’s father, Titus knew the moment Pony was no longer on this Earth. He saw the signs and a wolf visited him.

Jo Beth Dawson used to be a good cop, until her drinking and a failed marriage got the best of her. Jo Beth would rather be left alone but when she found Pony’s body in
Apr 13, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully written. There was a certain poetic element to the way the author used words. For those people who like pretty or thoughtful quotes for their blogs or anywhere else they post things, this book had something worth quoting in nearly every page. I like the style in which the story unfolded, you get to read everyone's POV, including the newly dead main character whose murder is a mystery until the end. Well, really you can guess who killed her early on but because the story ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Terri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-books-read
I LOVED this book. It was a quick read and beautifully written. I love the Author's prose, the Native American folklore weaved into the story, and the characters are memorable. I would LOVE to see this made into a movie. It's that good.

This is the perfect kind of book IMO. It's got a great story, full-bodied characters that you come to love in spite of their deep flaws, a love story, and best of all it is magical--full of mysticism. Reminiscent of The Lovely Bones (without the searing pain)in i
Melanie Coombes
Apr 08, 2011 Melanie Coombes rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I thought this was a pretty good book. Part of the book is told from the point of view of Pony Jones, a 26 year old rodeo star who is found dead.
The other part of the book focuses on Pony's dad Titus and on Jo Beth Dawson, a former detective who now spends her days under the haze of alcohol.
Jo Beth uncovers Pony's dead body and finds herself compelled to investigate further. She begins to realize that she is much more connected to the spirit of Pony Jones then she could ever imagine.
The story is
May 21, 2011 Charlotte rated it liked it

The Tender Mercy of Roses was a great novel, along the same vein as The Lovely Bones. But this novel is set in a world known as the deep south, where the rodeo circuit is the real All American sport and Native American folklore is more common than fairy tales. The story is a haunting story that will capture your attention until the very last page. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, but only mildly surprised at who the real killer was.
Diane S ☔
Jun 17, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
3 1/2 but a delightful and interesting read. A little Lonely Bones crossed with Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen but much in it's own right also. Not quite as gloomy and loved the Cherokee Rose which ties together all the sub stories in the novel.
Feb 05, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: ARC
Reminscent of Sharyn McCrumb; Michaels pairs a modern mystery with plenty of Cherokee mountain mysticism. Spirits and strange events surround the death of rodeo rider Pony Jones and down-and-out ex-cop Jo Beth Dawson is caught in the middle.
Jun 04, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing
This was so touching and just so real and i loved the different perspective that the narrator came from. Loved it.
Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
Mar 29, 2011 Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, reviewed
This review first appeared on my blog:

FIRST SENTENCE: It don't take no high school education to figure out I'm in a pickle.

A wisp of a girl, with her tiny red cowboy boots - that was Pony Jones. Raised alone by her father Titus after her mother Morning Star, who was 1/2 Cherokee, died in childbirth, she was the first woman to ride the bulls in professional men's rodeo - and she won. Now, at 26, she finds herself dead somewhere on the TN/AL state lines, an
May 17, 2011 Samantha rated it really liked it
From Goodreads:

"While the body of rodeo star Pony Jones lies motionless in the northern Alabama woods, her spirit is on a mission to find her killer. Invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense, the only thing Pony can do is guide the living to the truth.

Her grief-stricken father, Titus, wants nothing more than retribution for his daughter's death, so when former police detective Jo Beth Dawson comes to town, something compels him to seek out her help.

But when Jo Beth and Titus team up to tr
The Tender Mercy of Roses is the debut novel of Anna Michaels and a novel of Fiction from Gallery Books.

Book Blurb:

At twenty-six, Pony Jones is a record-breaking legend of the rodeo circuit, a beloved young star. And when her body is discovered in the northern Alabama woods, it is Pony’s spirit - invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense - that helps reveal clues to her murder.

Pulled together in a whirlwind mystery of intense emotion and unexpected encounters are her grief-stricken father,
May 30, 2011 Doreen rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I don't usually read a debut novel then speculate about the author's future writing career, but in this instance I felt I had to. Anna Michaels has an amazing talent, but this book is so uneven that I'm hoping she takes her time with her sophomore work and delivers something really extraordinary.

Ostensibly a mystery novel regarding the death of rodeo star Pony Jones, the book's main weakness is in its utter lack of suspense. The killer's identity is telegraphed fairly early, and Titus' and Jo Be
May 23, 2011 April rated it really liked it
RATING: 4.5) THE TENDER MERCY OF ROSES by Anna Michaels is an amazing crime fiction with paranormal tendencies.This is a debut novel by this author.This story begins in the Northern Alabama woods where the body of a young rising rodeo star is found dead in the bushes. The dead girl's name is Pony,while her soul is very much alive,even if her body is not she is confused,can still see her family,the killer and will eventually found peace.This story is filled with Native American myths,the scent of ...more
May 10, 2011 Yvonne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad, sweet and suspenseful, The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels is an enjoyable, touching story of family loyalty. It’s also a cautionary tales of what bad things can happen when people take that type of loyalty way too far.

Anna Michaels is a pseudonym for Peggy Webb, author of the Southern Cousins Mystery series. She paint a beautiful landscape with her words and carries the reader along smoothly through this unusual crime thriller. But Ms. Michaels used, what I felt was, an excess of me
Mary (BookHounds)
May 25, 2011 Mary (BookHounds) rated it really liked it
Pony Jones, a rodeo star, lays dead in the Alabama woods, but her spirit lingers in order to find her killer. Her father Titus, bent on revenge, teams up with a disgraced ex-police detective, Jo Beth, who feels a connection with the body and becomes determined to find the perpetrator. The scent of Cherokee roses and Native American magic permeates the story as they try to find the murderer. Jo Beth seems somewhat mysterious at first until her background is made clear and her friend Maggie cheers ...more
Linda Martin
Apr 10, 2011 Linda Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received The Tender Mercy of Roses through the Goodreads First-Read program. When I received it, the cover won me over right away. Most people say you can't judge a book by its cover---true. But you would be surprised how many new authors' books are sold due to the cover. This cover is beautiful and so is the story inside. Good mystery with very believable plot and characters. I didn't figure out who murdered Pony Jones until page 293. As a Tennessean, I am always looking to read books about m ...more
Hope Sherman
Jun 24, 2011 Hope Sherman rated it really liked it
I won this advance copy of the book in a Goodreads drawing, and was quite excited to read it. The story is interesting, exciting, and provocative. I currently live in the south so enjoyed the many local southern references to places and characters, and in particular like the rodeo and native American sequences.

For me the real highlight of this story is the character of Pony Jones and her father Titus. I enjoyed reading about them so much, I'd encourage the author to write a "prequel" so we could
Alice Dinizo
Jun 16, 2011 Alice Dinizo rated it it was amazing
"The Tender Mercy of Roses" is a brilliant book that will create a lasting impression on the reader. Pony Jones, a talented female rodeo star, is found murdered, but strangely, her body blanketed with white Cherokee roses. Her grief-stricken father, Titus, is bent on revenge and must deal with main character, Jo Beth Dawson, once a brilliant police detective, now a drunken mess of a woman trying to climb her way back to life. Jo Beth's former police partner, Sam Donovan,deals with Pony's murder ...more
Apr 08, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I could have read this book in one sitting if my time hadn't been so limited this week. I found myself thinking about the characters and the mystery, even when I wasn't reading. Anna Michaels writes beautifully, as well. I got caught up in her use of words, which lent a southern flavoring and poetry to the story.

Although this story involves a murder mystery, I felt that it wasn't morbid at all. The rodeo setting didn't overwhelm the rest of the story. The ethereal Native American element gave it
Nov 05, 2015 Kath rated it it was amazing
Loved the story and the characters. Pony and Jo Beth had no idea they were related till Pony was murdered at age 26. Jo had been a police officer in Alabama but left on bad terms and became an alcoholic. When she returns to Alabama and she's the one to find Ponys body, Pony is talking to her and guiding her to the man who killed her - Jo's uncle. Pony was 1/2 Cherokee and uncle resented the fact that his brother was Ponys grandfather. Lot of lies and secrets are unearthed and Jo finds peace in h ...more
Carla Hostetter
Apr 09, 2013 Carla Hostetter rated it really liked it
Not really a mystery as the murderer and the Romeo and Juliette romance are easy to figure out, but rather a mystical tale full of magical realism. The strongest voice of the story is Pony Jones, alredy dead when we meet her. A successful female bull rider,Pony isn't about to leave this earth without revealing her killer. Jo Beth Dawson, a failed alcoholic cop, finds her grave and is drawn into detective work again against her will. She will run up against Pony's anguished father out for revenge ...more
Patricia Hight
Well, I never received this book. I went to the sender site and thought that I entered "never received". Instead, I hit "received". I did not know how to edit, so I left it as it was. Needless to say that I was new to everything and screwed it all up. I put it on my list to read though, and will give my review after I buy it.

UPDATE: Thanks to the publishers, I finally got this book. It was well worth the wait. I haven't been reading who done its lately, but that will be changing now. I was hooke
Dec 14, 2012 John rated it liked it
In The Tender Mercy of Roses, Pony Jones has made her mark in the rodeo circuit where she has taken the coveted prize by riding a bull better than any of her male competitors. Sadly, Pony turns up dead and it is up to her father (Titus Jones) and Joe Beth Dawson (former detective who has taken to the bottle) to solve the mystery. Although Pony is dead, her spirit remains very much alive and cannot proceed to the afterlife until her murderer is tracked down and the case is closed.

Family secrets,
I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway ARC. It is the uncorrected copy which,unfortunately, did not arrive until last week. That said, it is a light read which I completed in 1-2 days.

Pony Jones, a Native American rodeo rider, is found dead at the age of 26. She was the first woman's champion bull rider. Her body is found by Jo Beth Dawson, an ex-cop, with an alcohol problem. The alcohol does little to eliminate the ghosts of those that Jo Beth could not save. Pony's spirit joins Jo Beth's gall
Georgiann Hennelly
Pony Jones was murdered when she was 26 years old she was a rodeo star. And when her body is found in the Northern Alabama woods- it is her spirit that helps reveal clues to her murder. this is a whirlwind of mystery , intense emotion and unexpected inconunters with her grief stricken father, Titus is bent on retribution, and Jo Beth Dawson is a hard drinking former det, plagued by a failed marraige and bad memeories
Jo feels a connection to Pony and a compulsion to discover the truth of Ponys mu
Apr 11, 2011 Erin rated it did not like it
This was the first book I'd won through Goodreads First Reads., I was so excited to receive it, but what a bummer. The author really tries to inject a spunky voice for the young Pony Jones and a gloomy troubled one for the guilt-ridden Jo Beth, ex-cop, but that's all these ladies are. The trouble is that there's no dimension to them, so as a reader I was shoved into these overly forced traits. As in, "Hey, this is the Young and Fun Character, and this is the dismal counterpart, okay?" ...more
Beth Huber
Jan 01, 2016 Beth Huber rated it it was ok
I tried to like this book. I ended up having to renew it from the library because I was reading it so slow. Today I decided to just not finish it. I rarely ever make this choice. I just could not get into it. I think Anna Michaels is a good storyteller, but I just think the whole seeing spirits, wolves, and roses was too abstract for me to handle. Happy with my decision to stop reading and looking forward to finding a book that I can't put down!
S. S.
May 30, 2011 S. S. rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. My friend, Sonya, sent me an e-mail & said that this book is really good. It was written by another friend of hers (that I also know) who writes romances and funny mysteries under another name. Knowing that, I didn't really expect to like this book because I'm not a big fan of romance, but I was wrong. Sonya predicted that it will be a best seller, and I agree. It would be a shame to miss such a great story.
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Anna Michaels lives in an enchanted cottage in Mississippi where she grows the roses that served as inspiration for her debut novel, The Tender Mercy of Roses. Her gardens are also filled with cardinals, warblers and mocking birds that swing on a suspended dragon outside her office window and entertain her while she writes.

Her love affair with words started when Anna was a child. She used to read
More about Anna Michaels...

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