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This Dark Road to Mercy

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  8,834 ratings  ·  1,396 reviews

The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as "a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird" (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters

Hardcover, 232 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by William Morrow (first published January 14th 2014)
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Sandra Absolutely! Just the right size and the characters have been developed to elicit quite a bit discussion.

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  8,834 ratings  ·  1,396 reviews

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Will Byrnes
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, fiction, baseball
There is a lot of used-to-be in Wiley Cash’s sophomore novel, This Dark Road to Mercy. Wade Chesterfield used to be a baseball player, used to be a husband and used to be a father. But he went oh-for three and now, as a guy who used to hang drywall and is on the run, he is mostly a crook.

Bobby Pruitt had been a ballplayer too, but his damaged youth led him in a dark direction, and now he is an enforcer for a local thug. He would like to apply his professional skills to Wade, not only in service
Wiley Cash is an author that for a very long time I have been meaning to read. But he always get pushed to the bottom of my pile. I was excited there was a Traveling Sisters read for this one and I jumped in immediately. After all that, it was just OK for me.

Twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are growing up in North Carolina and have a rough life. Their mother dies of a drug overdose and their father gave them up, signed those papers with no other thoughts. Now, they are in
Angela M (On a little break)
Wiley Cash has shown once again that he is a writer I will continue to follow. I have to admit that I didn't feel the grip of the writing quite as much as I did with A Land More Kind Than Home; this one was a little less edgy . But I was so taken with one of the narrators, 12 year Easter. It's impressive how Cash gets inside the head of this young girl. I fell in love with the precocious Easter and her sweet younger sister Ruby.

They've had sad little lives right from the beginning . It's heartb
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4.5 stars!

This was an addictive, quick and suspenseful read. I flew through this book! The storyline grabbed me immediately as I fell in love with the first narrator, 12-year-old Easter Quillby. She and her sister, 9-year-old Ruby Quillby, are living together in foster care after the death of their unstable mother. They have lived a rough and unsteady life up to this point with an unreliable mother, inappropriate father figures, dirty housing and insufficient nourishment. My heart immediately o
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, favorites
There is so much more going on inside this novel that the synopsis doesn't mention. I'm not talking about plot points, either. I'm talking about the nuances between our perceptions of certain kinds of people versus how they feel about themselves, especially after they're forced to deal with the consequences of their actions.

Easter and Ruby, 13 and 8 respectively, are stuck in the foster care system after their mother dies from an overdose. Their father has long since disappeared, having signed
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
Two young sisters are snatched from their foster home in the dead of night.  Throw in a washed up minor league pitcher, an ex-cop, and a man who has been nursing a grudge for years.  A duffel bag full of ill-gotten gains and a couple of baseball bats round out the roster.   Not as dark as this author's other two novels, but his storytelling skills are there, safe and sound.  I'll be on deck for Wiley Cash's next offering, no question about it. ...more
Feb 21, 2014 rated it really liked it

Twelve-year-old Easter Quilby and six-year-old Ruby Quilby have lived in a foster home in Gastonia, North Carolina since their mother died from a drug overdose.

Their father, Wade Chesterfield - an unsuccessful former minor league baseball player - had unwillingly given up parental rights and longs to get his daughters back.

So when Wade gets the chance he robs a gangster of money from an armored truck heist.

Wade then sneaks his daughters out of the foster home, and runs off with them.

The story
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars rounded up

I read this one in our Traveling Sister reading group.

This Dark Road To Mercy took us through a few emotions as we followed along with our three narrators. The story explores, vengeance, redemption and justice. Our favorite road was with wise, heart-broken 12-year Easter who’s wayward father Wade drags her and her sister on the run bringing danger to the sisters. The chase is on as Wade tries to outrun his past and his bad luck. He brings danger and love to the chase that lef
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was another excellent Traveling Sister read with Brenda, Lindsay, and PorshaJo. The Sister's blog with reviews to this and others can be found here:

The story is narrated by 3 characters: Easter, Brady, and Pruitt. Easter and her sister Ruby are left wards of the state after their mother dies from a drug overdose. The girls quickly captured my heart. Wiley knocked it out of the ballpark with his characterization of Easter. She’s precocious and wise bey
This is my first book by Wiley Cash. I was engaged right away with Easter, twelve, and Ruby, six years old. They are caught up in the foster care program because their Dad disappeared three years ago and their Mother recently died. When Wade reappears in their lives, Easter refuses to call him “Dad.” What did he ever do to earn that title? Wade is the kind of character that just doesn’t get things right, whether it’s lack of motivation, dim-wittedness, or back luck? Whatever it is, it trails him ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Sometimes I feel like moanin', and I feel like moanin' tonight. Cuz when I'm moanin' the devil don't know what I'm talking about."*

This satisfying and memorable novel takes place in the summer of 1998, during which now-disgraced St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa chased the single-season homerun record of 61 homers set by Yankee Roger Maris in 1961.** Wade and his daughter Easter, the twelve-year-old protagonist whose mom recently died from a drug overdose, travel from t
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Wiley Cash channels Cormac McCarthy and Elmore Leonard to create the dark side of Bull Durham.

While tales of minor league baseball are a recognizable component of much Southern writing, Cash demonstrates that all that is baseball and southern is not always Susan Sarandon’s fetching smile and Kevin Costner waxing eloquent about in what he believes.

Cash had me at hello with his 2012 novel A Land More Kind Than Home; so much so that I immediately grabbed up this 2014 publication. Darker and more b
Diane S ☔
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
3.5 Wiley Cash has the enviable knack of writing about siblings needing to protect each other and he has created two sisters this time that find themselves in that same situation. Just the protecting because Easter and her little sister Ruby, are not in danger from their father Wade, but from a man who is after Wade for revenge.

I liked this book, liked outspoken and incredibly wise for her years, Easter and loved little Ruby who looks on so many things with wonder. Loved the baseball talk and th
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Having read two of this author’s books now, there were common features in both stories that I really liked. In both he creates a vivid Southern atmosphere, along with unforgettable characters, portraying the young and innocent in a way that tugs at your heart strings. Two young sisters are kidnapped from their foster home by their estranged father after the loss of their irresponsible mother. It was impossible not to care about these adorable sisters, Easter and Ruby as their safety was at risk. ...more
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I'll get my rant out of the way: I totally hate(d) the cover and the title of this book. Sure, the photo's beautiful, but what's it trying to convey? Bleak rural America? Wiley Cash's North Carolina? The Great Depression? There ain't no telling. And that pseudo-poetic title, This Dark Road to Mercy, so wordy, unspecific, and unmemorable, I'll be forever doomed to refer to this as "Wiley Cash's Second Novel" as there's no way my peabrain's gonna cull that title from the recesses of my addled brai
Ron Charles
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
‘Moderation in all things” is not bad advice, but Aristotle never wrote any good Southern gothic novels. In that macabre world, the last thing we want is moderation. Faulkner knew this. (Necrophilia? Check.) Ron Rash knows this. (Pet killer eagle? Check.) And in his first novel, “A Land More Kind Than Home,” Wiley Cash proved that he knew it, too. (Snake-handling preacher? Check.)

But now, in his second novel, the poetically titled “This Dark Road to Mercy,” Cash seems to have lost his nerve, whi
Cathrine ☯️
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it

It was a goodread. But not great. I loved his first novel so it is easy for me to say if you can only read one of Wiley Cash’s two books I recommend A Land More Kind Than Home. That said, this was not unworthy of my time.

The great: The narrative of Easter Quillby. Her character was so authentic and I loved the sections told from her POV.

The not so great: The sense of drama fell flat. Unlike his first novel, I never felt the sense of dread, danger, and edginess that was so well done and palpa
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My memory is not infallible....plots and characters get scrambled because I read too much (is this even possible?). Well, anyway, the opening scene of this book stuck with me 2.5 years because it was so powerful. I knew immediately where it was going when I reread it, and still I felt dread and admiration for the understated storytelling.

There is a lot to dread in this novel, but much more to admire and enjoy.
Originally read Feb 2014. Reread Aug 2016 for DCL book group.

While there is a darkness that is somewhat ever-present in this story, the flip side of that is a love story. A fairly messed-up love story, that adds even more darkness and craziness, but also more layers of the love that is just shown in just bits and pieces, tokens here and there in the beginning. Granted this is not your typical love story, but what true love story ever is?

Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow- I must've read this book in two sittings, once I started, I was hooked. Easter and Ruby Quillby are two sisters living in a foster home after losing their mother, relying on each other and making the best of a sad situation. Their father, Wade Chesterfield shows up and decides to take fate into his hands by taking the girls on a road trip that they will never forget. Mix in this family dynamic another side plot of money being stolen and Wade being on the run from a mob boss, seedy bar owner ...more
Connie Cox
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really looked forward to this after loving A Land More Kind Than Home and I was pleased to read another wonderful story from Mr. Cash.

I would say that this one does not smack you in the face quite as quickly as his first, but the tension builds slowly and the page turning becomes faster as you move along. Cash creates some characters who have suffered broken dreams, hard times and have not always made the best choices. Some of them are trying to pull themselves up (without much luck) while o
Jul 15, 2021 rated it liked it
3 Stars
Jessica J.
I think I am the only one so far who was very underwhelmed by this one.

It's the story of a pair of girls whose mother passes away suddenly and are shuffled into state custody. Their father, who signed away his rights a long time ago, shows up and decides he wants them back. When the officials balk at his request, he decides he's just going to take them. The problem is, Wade's made more than a few enemies and the court-appointed guardian is not the only person looking for him.

The book alternate
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, read-in-2015
First let me say how much I adore  stories  involving little  girls.  I cannot resist them.  Secondly, the three narrators on the audio version were just so good, I don't think I missed a word, which rarely happens.  Third, the story itself is simply irresistible.  So very fine.  Great Southern lit; a dad on the run from a particularly  bad fellow while at the same time trying to win the approval of the two girls, his estranged daughters, so they can be a family; and a very loveable ex-cop who i ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Having just finished the author's first book, A Land More Kind Than Home, I had really high expectations for this one, but This Dark Road to Mercy fell a little short. While I did enjoy the story - especially told from Easter's point of view, I found my mind wandering through the other two points of view at times. I loved the two sisters, and was even fond of their father who had kidnapped them. I even shed a few tears at the end. Part of my disappointment in the book could have been that this w ...more
Wow. To say this book is flat is an understatement.

Once I cracked the book open and saw how it was going to be, I couldn't finish it fast enough even though it's a short novel with little real substance to necessitate attentive reading.

The novel is set in 1998 Gastonia, NC and follows the story of two sisters, 12-year-old Easter and 6-year-old Ruby Quillby, who have been placed in an orphanage after their mother dies. Their father Wade Chesterfield, a hopelessly inept criminal who has no rights
Cathy DuPont
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sad, check.
Family, check.
Bad guys, check.
Baseball, check.
Good guys, check.
Motherhood, check.
Fatherhood, check.
Foster home, check.
Stolen money, check.
Stole my heart, check.
Great characters, check.
Fantastic storyline, check.

Read it and grateful I have because it might be the best book I'll read all year.
In "This Dark Road to Mercy" Wiley Cash spins a yarn that readers will not soon forget.

Young sisters Easter and Ruby Quilby have never met an adult they can trust. They've essentially raised themselves since their drug addicted mother offers no support, and their father, Wade, has long-since run out on the family. When their mother dies, the girls move into a foster home. Several months later, their Wade resurfaces, wanting to make a new life with the girls. When told that he had previously sign
Liz Barnsley
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coming January 2014 from Random House UK/Transworld Publishers

Thank you to the author and publisher for the netgalley review copy.

When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a town not far from the Appalachian mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor league baseball player whom they haven’t seen in years, suddenly appears and
Tom Mathews
A fairly light story of a wayward father reconnecting with his daughters by kidnapping them from their foster care facility. The events in the story occur during the summer of 1998 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were racing each other to be the first to surpass Roger Maris's record of 61 home runs in a single season. Any baseball fans old enough to remember those events will be quickly drawn back to when the question on everyone's lips was "Did they hit one today?" and everyone yearned for the ...more
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Wiley Cash is theNew York Times best selling author of The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy (William Morrow/HarperCollins). He currently serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters. Please visit wileycash.c ...more

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