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Blue Mercy

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  167 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A family murder mystery full of emotional twists and surprises


IRISH INDEPENDENT: “Ross has … ingeniously knitted a complex tale of betrayal, revenge, suspense, murder mystery — and surprise. One key event pounced on this cynical novel-reader utterly without warning… This is no mass-produced chick-lit. Wild, gamey… John McGahern meets Maeve Binchy.”

Kindle Edition, ebook, 222 pages
Published July 31st 2012 by Font Publications
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  167 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Debbie Young
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I hadn't known that Orna Ross also writes poetry, I'd have guessed it from the lyrical flow and language of this compelling contemporary novel. Breathtakingly powerful phrases pepper the pages, little puffs of magic whose brilliance takes you by surprise.

The novel's ambitious structure hops smoothly between timeframes, and between Ireland and the USA. Its interesting characters develop convincingly, all products of their family, their heritage and their time, no matter how much they try to sh
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
This book was very hard to put down. The relationship between mothers and daughters is complex, conflicted, and paradoxical to some degree or other no matter who those mothers and daughters are. In this book, it becomes intensified due to the nature of other relationships existing at the same time. This story was very intense and highly emotional but to me, it rang true all the way through. The honesty and integrity were always there for the reader, and if they were sometimes submerged between t ...more
R.J. Lynch
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was tempted to give this four stars because I know that readers can be suspicious of five. But, really, this may be the best book I read this year—it’s certainly up there with MaddAddam and Stone Mattress, both by Margaret Atwood, and I gave the full five stars to each of those. What makes my enjoyment of the book difficult to understand is that I detested each of the two women, the mother and daughter, on whom the story turns. Wonderfully written and wonderfully worked out.
Ruby Barnes
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pick a colour (my favourite is blue). Pick a fabric (okay, silk). Sprinkle it with your favourite fragrance (mine is Light Blue by D&G, no kidding!) Draw the material to you, inhale, clutch it to your face and neck. How does it make you feel? Good, isn't it? That's how I felt while reading Blue Mercy by Orna Ross.

I somehow ended up with this book on my kindle, one of a number I'd loaded up for the summer break. Within a few pages I was hooked. The story starts with heavy baggage. Three gener
Mar 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ok
This was definitely an intelligent book and I enjoyed some of it. However, the main characters (Mercy Mulcahy, her daughter Star and lover Zach) are a little too over the top. The relationship between mother and daughter is intense, fretful and downright tedious. Their inability to communicate just goes on and on and on. Zach actually becomes the lover of both women which is just too odd and unrealistic. The story jumps back and forth between time lines and places (Ireland & California) and ...more
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
Jul 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
I guess I am one of the few people who did not like this book. Too much jumping around and I hated the characters. The mother was a martyr and the daughter was awful. I kept waiting for some big secret that would explain the reason why Star was so angry with her mother. But there was nothing. Didn't like it at all.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a well-written book, subtle, withheld and working on the reader in a liminal way. The narrative starts with one idea, or event, which by the end is resolved (perhaps).
However, there are far too many (40+) errors of spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation, including one on the cover, which mars the book for the reader sensitive to good spelling, grammar and punctuation; for example: ‘Passchendale’ (p173), ‘a girl’s school’ (p150) and ‘11thth’ (p88). ‘Santa Paolo’ (passim) should be ‘Sa
Lorraine Devon Wilke
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was a fascinating read, with an original and deeply felt story, and characters fully realized and unique in their quirks, traits, and emotional proclivities. Orna Ross has a beautiful command of the language and a lovely way of rolling out a story, taking us places and introducing us to her characters with skillful, poetic prose.

Set in both Ireland and California, "place" is rich and tangibly created in all its sensorial detail (felt like I could literally smell the green surrounds of
Theodora Gotsis
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mother (Mercy) and daughter (Star) are not like many families but all they have are each other. When Mercy feels compelled to return to Ireland after running to America as a teenager, she finally has the time to comb through the wreckage of her life. As a writer, Mercy attempts to do the only thing that will tell her daughter the truth about her life and the many unanswered questions that form the pain that is eating at their lives.

Mostly through Mercy's first - person narrative, we wander throu
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was tempted to give Blue Mercy four stars owing to feeling unnecessarily frustrated at times by the jumps around in time (compounded for me by chapters being named as dates, at least two of which included the number '8'-- I've never been great with numbers!) I also found that I had to go back and re-read the opening few pages several times to work out who was who! However *don't let this put you off*. The quality of the writing is breathtaking, and Ross tackles hugely difficult themes and inne ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-books
A book about the relationship between a mother and daughter, and a mother and her father. Mercy gets away from Ireland as soon as she can, from under the authority of a stern and angry father. She has a baby while living with her boyfriend in a commune. Later they get married then divorce and she moves to California to raise her daughter. Her daughter, Star, is a troubled child, and mother and daughter have a contentious relationship. Mercy returns to Ireland to nurse her terminally ill father w ...more
T.A. Munroe
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved Mercy, and hated her, but always related to her. Same with Star. When I got to the twist, I said out loud, "That's a shocker." I never saw it coming. Well done!

This book had me thinking about my relationships with my mother and my daughter. How did my mother mess me up? How did I mess my daughter up? It made me regret somethings, rejoice in other things. Again, well done.

Some reviewers have noted they didn't like the jumping around in time. I don't usually, but I thought it was handled v
Jodie Downes
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
The editing isn't the greatest but once you accept it, and read it as it should have been written, the story pulls you in. Though the subject can be quite hard going at times, it was easy to read quickly and I was desperate to figure it out, which I didn't. At first I wasn't entirely sure I was enjoying it, but the last 40% of it, I devoured, unable to put it down.

Told from mother and daughters point of view, there is a bit of repetition, but the insight it brings makes it worthwhile. A typical
J.F. Penn
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
This is literary fiction with a mystery at its heart. Mercy Mulcahy's father asks her to help him die when he is already dying a painful death. He just wants it over with. Assisted dying is a cause that needs highlighting - our sick animals can die peacefully in the arms of those who love them, but not our sick people. But in Ireland, as in the rest of the world, this is considered murder and she is accused of it, standing trial and watched by her daughter and lover.

But this is not the main thru
Jennifer Withers
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had mixed reactions to this book. Although very well-written, with one superb plot twist later on in the book, I found myself mostly disliking both Mercy, and her daughter, Star. The story is a most disturbing one of a dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship, one which highlights both characters' supreme flaws and weaknesses. Although I always like flawed characters in fiction, these two left me open-mouthed at times, unable to identify at all with the reasons behind their behaviour and ...more
Kate Millin
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
At his story jumps timelines a few times - which I found did not help me get into the book to start off. As it developed, though, the story began to grip me. There are 2 main protagonists - Star and her mother, Mercy who is writing/ has written a book for her explaining about her history. It includes a twist about Zack which I had guessed before it happens. It is set in Ireland and America and explores the effect your upbringing has on your later relationships, and the fact that even when things ...more
Tom Evans
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Clever, clever, clever. There's not many fiction books I've read where I just had to read the first few chapters again to really understand the book. I remember having to replay bits of Sixth Sense in a similar way to check on Bruce Willis.

The intertwined timelines and interweaved lives of the protagonists make this book such a joy to read. It's a modern day masterpiece and deserves a wide readership.

To explain any of the plot would be giving to much away. Read it, get absorbed by the rich tapes
Mary Glass
Star crossed family

The family dynamics are a bit far fetched to me. A plucky Irish lass leaves behind her overbearing dad to pursue love and freedom in the U.S.. She has a daughter and the fella takes off to be drunk without nagging or responsibility. What a noble gal, often helped by friends who hardly warrant a mention. The daughter grows to a fat and surly. Long suffering mom finds new love with a young pup of a boy. He is nobly dropped to focus on daughter. Which only makes the daughter wors
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reading
I have twice tried to write a review, each time when I pressed 'save' it obliterated what I had written! One more try:
This was a fascinating story. It goes between Ireland and the USA (California) and covers many of the stages of feminism and New Age beliefs of the 1960's to now.
If I have a criticism it is that the time-frame shifts were confusing and using aKindle it was hard to flip back and forth - indeed it was impossible (my kindle is old) so I felt I was losing clues to how the mystery was
Linda Hall
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club, literary
If there were six stars to give, I would give Ross's Blue Mercy, six stars. Seldom have I been so engrossed in a book from start to finish that all I wanted to do was read it, that I thought about it when I wasn't reading it and was sad when it was over. This is one of the best novels I have read in years, and the fact that it is Indie published, makes me smile. I will be recommending this book to my book club - and that's a good thing, because I'll get to read it again.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book had somewhat of a jarring format as it jumped around and was occasionally hard to follow. Once I got the rhythm of the writing, I enjoyed the story. I thought the relationship between the mother and daughter was intense and ugly at times, but it made it a compelling read. Not an easy read and may leave the reader somewhat dissatisfied with the conclusion.
Carolann Copland
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book grasps the senses on every level. Mercy's pained relationship with her daughter Star pulls at your heart strings and Ross writes of Californian and Irish landscapes as though you were sitting alongside the characters viewing it for yourself. The plot is compelling and the ending, whilst not a happy ever after, is wholly satisfying. A fulfilling read.
Rena Searles
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
A complex murder mystery, intertwined with a dysfunctional family history. Although the author has great writing skills, the back and forth of the puzzle pieces was rather confusing and tended to defuse the momentum of the storyline, in my opinion . I was still left with unanswered questions and found it difficult to feel sympathy for the two main characters.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
I enjoyed this book. There were times I wanted to shake each character and slap others on the back of the head Gibbs-style (NCIS), especially Star. But I laughed and was mad and cried with all of them. I didn't know anything about this book or author and was pleasantly surprised.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mystical and relatable

Poetic writing in a surprisingly strong voice- the story moves along quickly and includes a surprise plot. Thought provoking and wise in parts and enjoyable even beyond the ending!
Jan 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
It began and ended choppy and confusing, but held me rapt in the middle. The mother-daughter relationship in this story reminded me at times of my own. I never saw the love triangle relationship twist coming.
Linda Rollins
Only fair reading

Fairly interesting. Plot was slow. At times disinterested in reading. I never not finish a book but I did almost put this one Down. Just was not an interesting story for me. Was glad when it was finished.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a book that explores the complexity of relationships. At the core, the story speaks to the mother/daughter dynamic and how a mother who was never truly parented herself can love and give too much.
S.M. Spencer
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I thought it would be tricky, flicking forward and back in time as it does, but it isn't tricky at all ... It simply flows--beautifully. Well written with complex characters that your heart goes out to. Well done Orna Ross.
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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Reviews for the L...: Review of Blue Mercy by Orna Ross 2 13 Sep 09, 2012 03:15PM  

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Orna Ross is an indie author who inspires and motivates others towards creative living, through her novels, poems and creativist tools and teachings.

Her website is:

Orna is also founder and Director of ALLi, (pronounced "ally", not ALLee), the Alliance of Independent Authors, a global, nonprofit association of writers focussed on ethics and excellence in self-publishing.

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“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say, but what if you are the beauty? Then, it's the look in a man's eye coming at you, telling you know more than you want to know. It's the dislike they deal you for desiring you. Beauty doesn't write the book or raise the child or learn the knowledge. It's for the beholder, not the holder.” 3 likes
“A mother's place is in the wrong.” 1 likes
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