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Mercy Snow

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,021 Ratings  ·  392 Reviews
In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake.

June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant n
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2014)
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Dec 20, 2013 rated it liked it
this book is a somewhat more women's fiction-y counterpart to russell banks' The Sweet Hereafter with a very slight sprinkling of magical realism for sparkle. like the banks, this begins with a school bus accident in the icy winter of a small northern town, and the way the accident's aftershocks ripple through the community.

baker captures the small new england town mentality perfectly. in this case, it is a town completely reliant upon their sole industry of the local paper mill, and indebted t
Dale Harcombe
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars
I became thoroughly immersed in the story of the small New Hampshire town of Titan Falls and the characters who inhabited it. A tragic bus accident that sees one young woman dead and the bus driver in a critical condition, starts rumours and suspicion flowing. These largely centre on Zeke Snow but his sister Mercy cannot believe he is responsible. The Snow family are considered losers by most of the tight knit community. Meanwhile June McAllister, wife of the paper mill owne
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was my first encounter with a Tiffany Baker book. I really enjoy novels set in New England and this one didn't disappoint. Regionally, individuals are true to themselves, and at the same time, they absorb a certain persona from the "speak" and the ways of their surroundings.

"It had been twenty-odd years since June had stood in the dizzying swirl of being two people at once, the one you let people see and the one you kept buttoned close to your chest."

And that is the fine thread that weaves
feel I've been on a very fortunate trip having just finished "Mercy Snow." It's one of those books that puts the heart back into reading. I felt such a loss of reading material that excited me over the holidays...and since that time, "Burial Rites" and "Mercy Snow" have both resurrected my belief in good books and fantastic authors. Tiffany Baker, in particular, is a gifted writer whose work is just captivating. I fell in love with her as an author when she wrote "The Gilly Salt Sisters," but I ...more
Feb 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Story about the fallout from a suspicious bus accident in a paper mill town in the northeast. The main character in this book is the town and the "culture" of living in a town dominated by a paper mill. The author goes on endlessly and repetitively about the family who owns the paper mill, the no good Snow family, and devotes too much ink to describing the murky river polluted by the mill and how murky it is, and oh, have we mentioned how polluted it is? (We get it. Move on).

I made it through ab
Diane S ☔
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Androscroggin River is a real waterway and the paper mills that lined its shore, the people that lived along its path all tell an important part of history. The author refers to this in her afterword and it served as a reminder to me that history takes many various shapes and forms.

The MacAllister's have owned and run the paper mill for ages, they are town royalty. The mill is in Titan Falls, New Hampshire and most of the people there owe their livelihoods to this family. This novel is the s
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
This is a book about what it is like to live on the wrong side of the tracks in a small town where one family, the mill owners, rule the roost.

It is probably a very good social commentary, but that is not what I was looking for when I picked this book to listen to.

A tragic bus accident is blamed on Zeke Snow, one of the family group living in poverty on the outskirts of town. It is quickly apparent who is actually to blame for the accident, and a lot of time is spent on how it is covered up. The
Ellen Gerstein
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I had to describe this book in two words, they would be QUIET and POWERFUL. It's the kind of story that stays with you long after you have finished it. It takes place in a New England town that after while you begin to inhabit, thanks to the wonderful prose from author Tiffany Baker. The characters are all deeply flawed, giving weight to the events in the story. Highly recommend.

(I received an advance copy of this book)

Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
A lot of readers seemed to really like this book, but I wasn't one. The characters had no depth or subtlety; the homespun vernacular used in both the dialogue and much of the POV exposition seemed unrealistic and overdone; and the rampant symbolism was as murky as the river running through the center of the story. Though I believe the time period of most of the action was meant to be about the mid-nineties, the old-fashioned scenes and settings seemed more like pre-WW2. Odd! Most egregious of al ...more
Listened to this one on audio during my commute. It was really slow-paced in the beginning, and I almost gave up on it. Glad I didn't though, the ending was good, if a bit draggy again. Overall a good story.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
Titan Falls is a mill town. The livelihoods of almost all the residents depend on the paper mill and the McAllister family has owned it for generations. Cal and his wife June are Titan Falls royalty for whom opinions are not voiced, lips are sealed and secrets are kept … generations of secrets. Everyone knew the Snows were good for nothing n’er-do-wells so the town breathed a collective sigh of relief when they thought the last of them had died. Soon enough a battered and rusty RV pulls into tow ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mercy Snow
Tiffany Baker



My " in a nutshell" summary...

This book was about a small town, a paper mill, a wealthy privileged owner, poverty, drinking and some very sad and unfortunate events. Sheep and a red hand knit mitten were key elements of this book.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This book is about a bus accident that occurs on the way home from a field trip. It affects lots of people. Secrets long hidden are uncovered when Mercy Snow tries to prove her brother was n
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. It was hard to put the book down, truly, and even though I am not immediately happy with the ending (it felt abrupt) the characters were well developed and the message was delightful. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys being drawn into the world of their books and left with a few stay bits to muse over after the final chapter is finished.
Nov 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked this story. I liked the characters. They were all trapped in their own class and they were terrified of change or of anything new that swam against the norm. For a small town, some suffered from the 'me and mine first'mentality. But it was balanced out by others who had a different outlook. Overall, I enjoyed this.
Apr 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The reflective nature of the prose elevates this novel to 5 stars. Characters and setting both come alive and haunt the reader even when not reading. Loved it.
Zuky the BookBum
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 4-stars
Also read my review here:

The real trick to holding two things together, June was coming to see, wasn’t how rightly they were bound but how well. Sometimes a loose thread was a saving grace.

This is more a review on the characters than the overall novel because the plot took a back step to the characters stories.

Beautiful writing style! It’s so elegant and well formed. Easy to read yet full of vivid imagery and scenery. Every character, no matter how sma
Larry H
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
The town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire is ruled by its paper mill. The mill has always been a powerful fixture in the town and it still employs most of the men. Its success or failure has a direct effect on the well-being of the town, and its byproducts have tainted the Androscoggin River for years, certainly leading to a number of deaths and illnesses.

One night a tragic bus accident rocks the town, holding two families in its sway—the McCallisters, who run the mill, and the ne'er-do-well Snows,
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Titan Halls, New Hampshire, is a small town ruled by the paper mill and its owners, the McAllisters. They are the "haves," while the "have-nots," like the Snow family, live on the fringes, dubbed as itinerant ne-er-do-wells and a blight on the community.

So when a tragic bus accident ends a life and seemingly destroys another, the McAllisters, like some others, are quick to place blame on young Zeke Snow, who has recently returned to town with his younger sisters, Mercy and Hannah.

But Cal and Jun
This is a very good book, a page-turner in fact, but its flaws keep it from being a literary contender. The story, Empire Falls meets Winter's Bone (minus the meth), tells the tale of Mercy Snow and her ne'er do well, hard-luck, dirt-poor family in a dying mill town facing hunger and corruption and drawing the ire of the town's matriarch, June, wife of the mill owner and town bully. The prose are earthy, the characters well-drawn and the story is quite good overall. What kept if from being great ...more
Sakes alive! This is one of those seemingly unassuming, contemporary character-driven novels of mystery and intrigue that sneak up and grab you in a captivating choke-hold. Tiffany Baker hits all the high marks: Hauntingly beautiful prose . . . multifaceted, well developed characters . . . rich clear detailing . . . complex story-line, multilayered and truth-revealing gritty.

The townsfolk of Titan Falls and the banks of the chemical-laden Androscoggin River hold many pedestal-threatening secrets
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
this book was a very quick interesting tale of the tangled up but very separate social classes in a small manufacturing town. The entire town revolves around the paper mill and its owner, Mr. McAllister and his much secretly disliked wife, June. Yes, Cal cheats on June and his indiscretions end up causing a bus accident in which a mill worker's daughter is killed, but June is no sympathetic figure. She is well aware of what happened and constantly schemes to cover it up in one way or ...more
Book of Secrets
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
There's something about a suspense novel set in the winter, when the season itself becomes a character, adding another delicious layer of tension to the story. MERCY SNOW begins with a deadly bus accident just before Thanksgiving in the small New England mill town of Titan Falls, and the tragedy raises many questions for the people in this bleak place. The author's descriptions were so vibrant and detailed, that I could easily feel the chill of the air and smell the decay of the polluted Androsc ...more
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked this up because the setting is a (fictional) New Hampshire town on the Androscoggin River near Berlin, NH. and I did like the setting and descriptions of the river and the paper mill. The story itself was fairly interesting but could have been told much better. The characters were stereotypes, and some of the writing was pretty bad. I particularly disliked the overdone metaphors that just kept coming--for example: "Marriages cooled. Theirs strings loosened and stretched, like the saggin ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book as I have read the other 2 books by this author and enjoyed them both. Plus, this one sounded like an intriguing one. Sadly, I was not feeling this book hardly at all. I liked Mercy but that was about it. No one else really stood out in this book for me. I found everyone else to be all about themselves but boring at the same time. I spent probably about a third of the way into the story before I skimmed part of the middle for a few and finally I just jumped ahead the the en ...more
Dan Radovich
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tiffany Baker continues to impress me with her writing skills. She takes you right into the heart of small town and makes you a resident - in all three of the novels that she has created. MERCY SNOW brings you to New Hampshire paper mill country where a bus accident threatens to reveal secrets of the 'ruling family'. Young Mercy Snow is just as strong a character as Truly Plaice from Baker's wonderful debut, LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY. Fans of Baker will not be disappointed, and new readers ...more
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the wintery New Hampshire setting for this book. The images she creates of the Androscoggin River fouled by the logging industry and seemingly alive as it over-spreads its banks were vivid. The characters are intensely loyal and the siblings' struggle to care for each other is memorable. I would have liked more to have been written at the conclusion of the story. I felt chopped off from the emotions and experiences of the characters.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a long-standing feud between two families that comes to a head after a tragic bus accident. Mercy Snow's brother is blamed for the accident but she knows it isn't true. She's determined to clear his name. June McAllister knows who did cause the accident but she's determined to see Mercy's brother blamed and her whole family run out of town.
Full of long buried secrets and an unsolved mystery or two, this book is sure to please any mystery fan.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
In the mid-90’s in the tiny mill town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, located on the banks of the polluted Androscoggin River, there were pretty much two kinds of people – “the haves and the have-nots.” The, “haves” were the McAllister family who had run town’s paper mill operation for several generations. Like many other mills, with tougher environmental regulations and higher operating costs in general, the mill is struggling to stay afloat.

The McAllister family consists of Cal, who runs the mi
Jan 22, 2014 rated it liked it

The aptly named Mercy Snow is a young woman who’s never had a proper home. She and her family have always lived on the fringes, traveling from place to place, barely making enough to buy food and gas for their RV. She and her older brother Zeke, and 9 year old sister Hannah have recently lost their mother and moved back to the family homestead in rural New Hampshire on the outskirts of a one business town, Titan Falls. Unfortunately the Snows have never been welcome by the town’s folk
Dec 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mercy Snow is a somber, philosophical story. It's setting is in New Hampshire, along the Androscoggin River (Wikipedia), during the 1990's.

June McAllister thought she had everything she ever wanted. Her husband was the owner of the Titan Falls paper mill. The paper mill was central to the survival of almost everyone in this backwoods town. This made the McAllister's a very prominent family. Three extremely poor, orphaned, Snow children, Mercy, Zeke and Hannah, reclaim their nearby property and e
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Play Book Tag: Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker - 3 stars 1 9 Jun 23, 2016 05:09PM  
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Tiffany Baker is the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. She lives outside San Francisco with her husband, three children, and tiny hyperactive dog. Her new novel, The Gilly Salt Sisters, will be released from Grand Central Publishing in March 2012.
More about Tiffany Baker

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“To be a mother, after all, was to know the most perfect fullness on earth, followed by the most terrible emptiness.” 2 likes
“The instant of a great disaster, it is often said, is an elongated one. As if in witnessing its own demise the human mind is want to wind the moment out long and long still.” 1 likes
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