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Forgiveness Road: A Powerful Novel of Compelling Historical Fiction

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  510 ratings  ·  88 reviews
From the acclaimed author whose historical fiction has been compared to The Help, comes a powerful and ultimately uplifting novel that tells the story of three generations of women in 1970s Mississippi after their lives are thrown into upheaval when a dark secret is brutally exposed . . .

On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberatel
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by John Scognamiglio Book
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Suzy (Taking a break from reviews)
3.5 Stars!

I requested Forgiveness Road on a whim, as I’ve never read anything by this author. The synopsis sounded like something that would interest me and it did.

This is a bittersweet family saga set in the 1970’s. It centers around Cissy Pickering, who shoots and kills her father to protect her younger sisters. This book rustles up plenty of emotions while reading because there are some very sensitive subjects happening here. I was not a fan of Cissy’s mother, Caroline, but I was a fan of h
Cheryl James
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow, after reading this book I had to take a time out to just breathe. Some authors write books but this author wrote a story. A story that grasped my mind, heart and soul right from the beginning all the way to the end. This book is Amazing to the point where it never lost a word, a sentence, a paragraph and definitely not a meaning. The family dynamic in this story is so relevant to the current times that we live in today. The things that family will do for their children and or grandchildren ...more
Judy D Collins
What a beautifully written heartwarming and moving story! I adored (5 Stars) The Last Suppers (2017) and Mandy Mikulencak returns with an even more powerful and compelling tale of love, forgiveness, and redemption with FORGIVENESS ROAD.

Highly recommend the audiobook, narrated by Amy Landon (a beautiful voice for the characters). I enjoyed the digital copy from NetGalley (thank you) and Kensington, as well as the audio.

Ironically, I am reading ARC of (8/6/19) Susan Rebecca White's We Are All Go
Eldonna Edwards
​Forgiveness Road touches on all the right elements of a bittersweet family saga where love is not a given and healing sometimes comes at the expense of family bonds. Set in the 1970s south, this haunting ​novel features a bold Cissy Pickering who murders her father to protect her young sisters. Cissy has developed a form of OCD to assuage the pain inflicted by her father’s abuse and bring some control over her otherwise uncontrollable situation. When Cissy’s mother is unable to bear the truth o ...more
Kathryn in FL
Powerful Look at Family Secrets

Ms. Mikulencak immediately takes the reader to a shocking incident back in 1976 in Biloxi, that even today would make national headlines. A young girl of sixteen, Cissy, shoots her father as he leaves for work. At first those who know this naive and loving young woman think that she has plunged into a pot of crazy. However, slowly the adults come to know the secret she has kept hidden for years. Caroline, her mother is accusatory and clings to her denial regarding
Review to come, but what a beautiful, sad and poingnant story.
Carla Johnson-Hicks
4.5 Bittersweet Stars. This is a heartbreaking family saga set in the 1970’s, in Mississippi. It centers around Cissy Pickering, who shoots and kills her father to protect her younger sisters. Cissy had been assaulted by her father for years and when she realized that he was ready to move on to her younger sister, she did what she needed to in order to protect her. Cissy's grandmother, Janelle, steps up to help her when her mother Caroline does not believe her. Cissy ends up in a mental hospital ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is about three generations of women in the same family who have their lives spiral out of control one hot day in July. This event changes all of their futures and what they believe about their pasts.

On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back. In her mind it was completely justified - she was trying to save her younger sisters from the sexual abuse that her father had inflicted on her for her entire life. Her mot
Sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering would do anything to protect her little sisters—even if that meant shooting their father in the back. It was a scandal that rocked the town, estranging Cissy from her mother, Caroline, and her beloved sisters. Only Cissy's grandmother Janelle stands by her, and she needs her more than ever after further discoveries are made while Cissy is at the state psychiatric hospital. Determined to save her granddaughter at any cost, Janelle takes Cissy on a road trip that w ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

What an interesting book! The story is fascinating and the book just draws the reader in.

Cissy is a much misunderstood sixteen-year old girl. She talks to God. She counts things. Her very strict mother thinks there is something wrong with Cissy; she thinks her odd.

One day Cissy commits an irrevocable deed to protect her younger sisters. For this her mother hates her with all her being. But her maternal grandmother Janelle loves Cissy and tries very hard to protect her.

What follows is C
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you**

This story covers some pretty serious topics ranging from sexual abuse, mental health and racial boundaries in the 1970's. Naturally I had to read it.

I went through several emotions while reading this, disgust, pity, and sadness being some of the predominant ones. I felt disgust for what happened to Cissy and for the way her mother treated her when the truth came out. Pity fo
Apr 11, 2019 added it
My personal "star" rating system:
1 star: Could not finish the book
2 star: Had to force myself to finish the book, did not care for the book, and will not be seeking out this author in the future
3 star: Liked the book, but will not necessarily be seeking out this author in the future
4 star: Really liked the book and would read more of this author, but will not be re-reading this particular book again
5 star: Loved it so much that I will re-read this book in the future, and the author is going onto
Cathy Geha
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulencak

This book hit home and made me think of my mother, now deceased, and the story of abuse she revealed to me the day her father died. I was a freshman in college when she unburdened herself and did my best to absorb her pain. Her mother was not there for her but her grandmother was...and her grandmother had been in a mental institution so...there were definitely parallels in this book that made me think of not only my family but also of friends who told me of si
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
On a Mississippi July morning sometime in the 1970s, 16 year old Cissy Pickering empties a gun into her father’s back. She does not explain, saying only that she had to do it to protect her younger sisters. Her mother, Caroline, turns against her, but her grandmother Janelle takes Cissy’s side. Cissy is arrested, and eventually states that her father had been raping her since she was little. They had a deal: she would do whatever he wanted, provided he never touch her little sisters. And he was ...more
Quinn Ellory
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
On the surface, Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulenkac seems like traditional Southern gothic. A family suffers tragedy, secrets come to light, and transformation occurs as the members struggle with the aftermath. It is that. It is also much, much more.

The beautiful thing about this novel, set in Mississippi in 1976, is that it touches on so much more than tragedy. It also not about race or relationships centered on color disparity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those books, but they are
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Forgiveness Road is the first book I have read by Mandy Mikulencak and it will not be the last. I thought this one was great.

Five stars.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong character development and well written

A powerful story of 3 generations of women. I would have never picked up this book due to the subject matter if it wasn't for my book club picking it. I felt uncomfortable about the subject matter many times, but I loved the characters. I loved that the author wasn't graphic, but my mind went right there which is why I was uncomfortable.

This book was very well written with strong character development, something I really appreciate. I would have given
Stephanie Clarke
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Is courage the ability to speak on the unspeakable or to act upon it. Cissy is willing to guarantee the safety of her sisters, with no thought of the consequences she will face. The struggle of three generations of women at a time when the housekeeper was more of a mother to the children. How do you come together when you've always been an arm length away. Love can heal some wounds and bring us back together. ...more
Beverley Albright
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I won this book on the goodreads giveaway. I would give it a 3.5 if I could. It is not quite a 4, though it is very close. But that is just me putting my needs before the author's.

The book is a story simply told...straightforward with very little embellishments along the way. Having said that, it definitely is not a simple story.

The characters were the best part. What is stopping me from giving the full 4 rating, is that I would have liked to have seen a couple of the characters more fleshed out
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed...
Unique premises.....
Easy read
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern-fiction
This was an interesting read that drew me in. I didn't think it was a particularly good book in many ways. However, I was totally involved in the characters in spite of problems I had with the book. It starts intensely as 16-year-old Cissy follows her father out of the house and shoots him in the back as he is getting into his car. The why of this and the consequences of this act are the basis for the novel.

The novel touches on many themes - sexual and domestic abuse, mental illness, family secr
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What do you do when killing someone is the only way to protect the people you love? If you are Cissy Pickering, you don't hesitate or stop to reconsider. You put a bullet in your father's brain one morning and blow everyone's world apart. And, if you are reading this book, you understand why.

Noone should suffer what Cissy suffers at the hands of the man who should shield and protect her. The inevitable splintering of her mind, like the splintering of her family, is also justifiable. But this isn
Kelly (Simply Kelina) C.
This story follows a family in the 70’s around an issue no family ever wants to face: sexual abuse. Your heart will break from the first few pages to the very end. This does have triggers for cutting, sexual abuse, mental health, family tensions, and more.

Your heart will literally break for Cissy and what she is going through. This is a very raw look into sexual abuse by a family member and the way it can effect a child even after that person is no longer in their life. Some of the issues Cissy
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Only our minds keep those dark moments alive and breathing, and only our minds can put them to rest."
A heartbreaking, yet amazing journey of a young girl, named Cissy.
She has secrets that nobody should bare and yet a strong constitution and a delightful soul that will save her from hatred and allow her to someday love and once more trust.
This novel is set in the 1970's in Mississippi. Cissy finds herself in a psychiatric facility for murder. Her biggest and only advocate is her grandmother who
Kevin Gates
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was excited to obtain an advanced copy of this new book, coming out in March! Once again, this author delivers a multi-layered, multi-generational story, a page turner that traverses a myriad of complex, seemingly unbearable situations,made bearable to the reader with her deft and astute writing style. Get ready because this one hits the ground running. I was hooked by page 10. The story explores how three generations of Southern Women come to terms with very heavy, very real issues. The chara ...more
Norma Jean
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ms. Mikulencak has written a compelling story of a sixteen year old girl, Cissy Pickering, who does the unthinkable. She kills her father by shooting him in the back. She is arrested and shows no remorse during questioning. All she will say is, “I had to do it to protect my little sisters.” Her mother turns on her, blaming her for ruining her life, but her grandmother, Janelle, does all that she can to protect Cissy. She hires an attorney who convinces the judge to send Cissy to a mental hospita ...more
Sydney Cooley
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I was surprised at how much sweetness and healing was there within the sadness and trauma. I loved how 3 generations were able to start to heal their wounds among each other.
The part where Grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter were laying in bed hugging each other and saying goodnight to Cissy brought tears to my eyes. Cissy is a strong, smart, and optimistic character. All the characters were believable and the behavior and coping mechanisms seemed to accurately reflect w
Sonya Loyer
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won this Advanced Reader's Cooy in a Goodreads Giveaway and it will be released February 26th.
To be honest, my heart sank when my eyes saw the word incest but it happens before we enter the story. It's a rich, bittersweet, multilayered story of 3 generations. It's also a beautiful story of the love of a grandmother for her granddaughter and the lengths she will go for that love. OK, now I'm crying...
I try to save 5 star ratings for books that I want to keep and reread. I'll be keeping this on
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first time reading this author, the blurb sounded interesting and I’m really pleased I chose to read this book. This is a story that is heartbreaking and yet it’s one that needed to be written. The author doesn’t just concentrate on the physical abuse that Cissy endures, she also goes into how this abuse outwardly manifested itself as Cissy struggles to gain some control over herself, her life. This is a riveting story that had me fervently reading page after page with an innate need ...more
Gloria Zak
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
Loved the book.

Thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this book through the goodreads giveaway program.

I am normally a mystery reader, but this book had enough mystery to satisfy this mystery lover. There are sinners and heroes throughout this story and those who are both! Cissy is certainly a hero!

And the story cannot end like this. It certainly needs a sequel!

Cudos to the. Author!
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Mandy Mikulencak has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist, then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband. Her historical novel, THE LAST SUPPERS, was released by Kensington Publishing in late 2017. Her next book, FORGIVENESS ROAD, comes out in March 2019.

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