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Mercy House

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,017 ratings  ·  603 reviews

A powerful debut novel of a refuge in Brooklyn for women in trouble—and the one woman who will risk all to protect them.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a

Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Alena That is such a good question. I have an idea of what happened next, but I'm going to leave it open so each reader can finish her own story. (OR, for a…moreThat is such a good question. I have an idea of what happened next, but I'm going to leave it open so each reader can finish her own story. (OR, for a sequel. OR for a second season of the TV series that was optioned by CBS All Access! The brilliant screenwriter has great ideas.)(less)

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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,017 ratings  ·  603 reviews

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Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
Compulsively Readable!

Mercy House is a powerful story about three nuns who run a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Nuns Sister Evelyn, Sister Josphine, and Sister Maria run Mercy House, a refuge for women who have suffered horrific physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at the hands of their partners, parents, and guardians. To help these women, the three nuns act in ways that go against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Sister Evelyn is at the forefront of this story. In her role as pr
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow! What an unconventional, soul crashing, vivid journey!

This is an incredible story about women’s unity and solidarity for fighting against abandonment, physical and mental abuse, harm, humiliation, neglecting. I enjoy the characters of this amazing house opening to their doors to those brave women suffered more than they could stand and who are adamant to leave their painful memories and wounded pasts behind, forming great friendships with each other.

I know that too many readers are ready to
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
4 stars!

Informative and eye-opening. Heart warming and heart breaking.

Mercy House is a women’s shelter in downtown Brooklyn run by three vivacious nuns. The shelter provides a safe place for victims of domestic abuse to flee their from their dangerous situations. Sister Evelyn, one of the founders of the shelter, is the main character of this story whose personality had me surprised and giggling in each chapter. Her no-nonsense, tell-it-how-it-is attitude helps her navigate the rough and rundo
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sister Evelyn runs Mercy House, a safe haven for abused women. She’s tough as nails for all appearances, but she has a warmth and heart of gold when it comes to women under her care.

Bishop Hawkins is scheduled to visit Mercy House, and the sisters are worried he may find out the extra ways they have helped the women, as in ways that are not allowed by the church.

Sister Evelyn is at the heart of Mercy House, and she will use all her might to protect and serve it. I loved her character. She was
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mercy House by Alena Dillon

What an amazing story and an amazing debut by Alena Dillon.

Jumping into this book, I was not sure I would be interested in reading about the Catholic Church and the religious cover up as part of its dark history. However, I was completely wrong. I loved the story of a renegade and badass nun unlike those I have had in my parochial school.

Sister Evelyn, our protagonist and once a nurse, runs the Mercy House, located in Brooklyn, a safe haven for the abused and mistrea
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

Ever since Evelyn entered the convent fifty years ago and was required to rise with the sun, she worshipped sleep like it was a false god.

She’d never been to Rome, she’d never met the current Pontiff, and she had virtually no desire to do so. Pope Benedict XVI wore red velvet capes with ermine fur trim. He commissioned his own cologne, which Evelyn called Pope-pourri. He was chauffeured around in a Mercedes… That lavish lifestyle bore little resemblance to her experience in Bedfo
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Evelyn was never wanted. Her father even bargained with God to bring his son home from the war, and he would put Evelyn in a convent. Evelyn's brother did come home, and she did go to the convent.

Her time in the convent wasn't pleasant. Evelyn saw and endured unpleasant things.

After a few years, she and a few of her fellow nuns opened a shelter in Brooklyn that housed girls suffering from domestic abuse and abandonment.

The red door with the angel knocker was a welcome refuge for these girls.

Mercy House, a women's shelter in Brooklyn, is run by three aging nuns. It opens its doors to all manner of woman, regardless of religion, race, or bias. It gives succor to women who have been abused, either mentally or emotionally by the very people who are supposed to love them...

Sister Evelyn - our protagonist, is sixty-nine years old. A nun for fifty years, she was essentially abandoned to the convent at a tender age by her Irish-American family. When still a novice, Evelyn suffered repeated
Mercy House

A wrenching but hopeful story of women seeking shelter from abuse and the unconventional nun that ministers to them.


MERCY HOUSE is story about Sister Evelyn, a feisty feminist nun who runs a shelter for abused women in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. When the Vatican sends Bishop Robert Hawkins to investigate American religious sisters as part of the Apostolic Visitation, convinced they are breaking Catholic doctrine, Sister Evelyn is distressed. When t
Mercy House by Alena Dillon is not what I expected. The three nuns who run Mercy House are spunky and untraditional especially Sister Evelyn. I like that they are helping abused women. They work with the women to help them regain their confidence and begin a new life away from their abusers. The residents of Mercy House are diverse and colorful. Sister Evelyn is the primary narrator of the story with chapters featuring each of the girls living at Mercy House. Sister Evelyn is sixty-nine years ol ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Mercy house was place of refuge, a place of healing for broken girls. I saw an inside glimpse of the faithful ministry of nuns. They had gone through years of change and were committed to staying the course helping anyone who came to their door. They were brave, determined and not perfect. It was refreshing. It was also brutal and unfair. Life is like that isn’t it?
Some people will think this book is about the Catholic Church, but it was about abuse to women. And it also was about
Karen M
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know of someone who started to read the same ebook and she chose not to continue to read because she said she could see where the book was going, bashing the Catholic Church. I don’t feel the same and I wish she had finished the book.

I think this a book that each person who reads it will have a range of reactions and emotions because this is a story of tragedy and hope, secrets and how they damage those who hold them, how mistakes follow you through life and continue to affect you. It is also
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Digital arc via Edelweiss.

I was really excited about this book’s potential, and it started out really strong. However, about halfway through, it started to feel like too many things were being tossed in the mix, and it started to get feel crowded. I appreciated the ending and will have plenty of people to recommend it to. However, I needed the plotline to be thinned just a bit for a full 5-star rating.
Inkish Kingdoms
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review coming soon on my blog! So visit me at: Book Blog / Instagram

I contacted the author so that I could thank her for such an incredible book!!! I simply love it and since I want to provide a valid and convincing review, I will do it shortly.

If you read this looking for guidance whereas to read this or not, let me tell you this: YES! DO IT! DON'T HESITATE! And don't trust any review saying otherwise xD

By far this will be in my top 5 of the year!!!!

A few words come to mind when de
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This book was one that I could not put down. As another reviewer put it, "it was compulsively readable". Once I started reading about Sister Evelyn and the residents of Mercy House, I wanted to know what was going to happen to these ladies.

Mercy House is a women's shelter in Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, It is run by three aging nuns, Sister Evelyn, Sister Maria and Sister Josephine, each of them bringing something different to the operation of the Home. It is a shelter that acce
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This compassionate novel is about a group of nuns who start a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence. We get a look into the lives of the residents as well as the nuns who run the house. Much of the story is told by Sister Evelyn who has been a nun for over 50 years. She is a strong and compassionate woman who wants to protect everyone - the residents, her neighbors and her friends. She is feisty and will stand up to anyone - muggers, drug dealers or anyone who tries to take adva ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I have conflicting feelings about this book. As a reader, I like most of the characters, though I feel some of them are a little unnecessarily extreme. I like the humorous situations thrown in with the serious business of running this much-needed home. It has a good storyline. However, as a lifelong Catholic, I find the fictionalizing of many of the controversies in the church hard to swallow, even though many controversies do exist, and many are swept under the rug. I'm sure things like this ha ...more
Amanda Selvam
Nov 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was initially really excited to read this book after seeing the description.  Once I got into the book, it was quickly evident that the author has an ax to grind with the Catholic Church and every negative cliche and stereotype within the Church was milked to its full extent.  It is a somewhat heartwarming story wrapped in so many errors and gross misinterpretations of the Catholic Church and Religious Life. I was
Donna Hines
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, netgalley
Dealing with abused & abandoned women and the mercy of faith...WOW!
A Catholic community based program known as Mercy House is being spearheaded by some amazing women and sisters who share a strong desire to help others in need.
That's until they get word that the Bishop wants to investigate their desires to help women; forbidden by the church.
Sister Evelyn is one tough cookie and stops at nothing to save the house and the women they are attempting to save.
It's a story of grace, of dignity, of cou
mindful.librarian ☀️
DNF the audiobook (free review copy from at approximately 20% due to multiple graphic depictions of rape and sexual assault. I am not faulting the book or author for this but I have learned that I can’t listen to this content and can disassociate more easily when I experience it via text. I may try this book on paper when it releases.
Schizanthus Nerd
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Two eighty-four Chauncey Street. It’s the one with the angel doorknocker. Arrive any time. Day or night. You can be safe.”
Sisters Evelyn, Josephine and Maria have run Mercy House for twenty five years, providing a safe place for women who are escaping violence. Although they are undoubtably effective in their mission, they don’t always play by the strict rules of the Catholic Church.
“It’s what we’ve feared,” Josephine said. “It’s him.”
Bishop Hawkins is coming to visit Mercy House. His vi
Feb 23, 2020 added it
DNF at approximately 30%. No Rating.

This was too political for me. Although I was intrigued, this book was too much about the Catholic Church and had an obvious message.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I thought this was very good. 🎤
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Mercy House was a safe haven for victims of domestic violence, founded and operated by Sister Evelyn, Sister Josephine, and Sister Maria...Their row house in Brooklyn was almost always at capacity...Good for business, bad for humanity."

I am not sure what I was expecting when I selected this and started reading but I got so much more than anticipated. This was really a remarkable story about courage and resilience not only that of the women who came there to escape horrible situations, but also
Kristen Doyle
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As reviewed on

This is one of those books that is not for everyone and is definitely controversial, but I found it to be a compelling and thought-provoking read. (As a Catholic myself, a warning if you are easily offended even by works of fiction, this is not the book for you). It's also a book where the audio narration absolutely added to the story.

Sister Evelyn has experienced repeated sexual abuse at the hands of a well-respected priest...yet she is forced to stay quiet. Sh
Basic B's Guide
Jan 21, 2020 added it
Shelves: dnf
Dnf at 18%. This book took a very unfortunate turn that will only perpetuate stereotypes within the church. I’m disappointed as I had high hopes.
With Mercy House, Alena Dillon has crafted a poignant story that will touch many with an unforgettable feisty, flawed big-hearted character, Sister Evie, at the center of it all. It’s already predicted to be a book club top pick.

(Side note: Many of my Goodreads pals are fellow lovers of Christian, inspirational, and clean fiction. This is not that.)

There is much to applaud about a story that celebrates heroines in their late 60s. These ladies have spent their entire adult lives protecting the
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The house on Chauncey Street with the angel knocker is a safe haven for abused women. Here at Mercy House, the women are nursed back to life by nuns. Sister Evelyn leads the pack, but she’s got secrets of her own. ⁣

This book is incredibly controversial and I absolutely cannot wait for everyone to read it so we can discuss! This is going to be a fantastic book club choice because there’s SO much to pick apart. People are going to fall into two camps- they are going to love it or they are going t
Zoë ☆
This was such an interesting read about badass nuns! Unlike anything I’ve picked up before, but definitely worth the read 🙌🏻
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
best of amazon 02/2020 and Newburyport Book Festival 2020

It rare that we get a book set in a convent in modern day literature. This convent, also known as Mercy House, is in Brooklyn and run by a small number of older nuns. They take in girls, usually young who are in need of care and hiding from the abuse of men in their lives. The characters, both the nuns and the residents are fantastic and the dialog is heartfelt and funny. Then along comes the Bishop who has a previous connection with Siste
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Alena Dillon is the author of Mercy House and The Happiest Girl in the World, forthcoming from William Morrow April 2021. Alena lives with her family on the north shore of Boston.

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