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Mercy House

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  162 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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Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  268 ratings  ·  162 reviews

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Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
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
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
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 feistyfeminist 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 the
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
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 shame,
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.
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 ...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 ...more
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
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.
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
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I thought this was very good.
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 ...more
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 to
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.
Zoë ☆
This was such an interesting read about badass nuns! Unlike anything I’ve picked up before, but definitely worth the read ...more
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It was an ARC, due out in February. The story was believable, well paced and beautifully written. The characters and story lines felt real. Sister Evelyn was a crusader, human and flawed, but unshakable in her beliefs that she was doing the right thing for the women under her care despite church doctrine. I was not raised Catholic, but I feel that people like Evelyn (and I'm sure they do exist) embody the true meaning of their faith.
This is a powerful story of strength,
Victims and survivors! A stunning tribute!

Sister Evelyn runs a woman's shelter in Brooklyn along with her sister nuns. The work is challenging and often rewarding. Over the years Evelyn's concepts of Catholicism, her working faith have been confronted by the women's needs. This does lead her down a different path to that proscribed and opens up many questions. The crux however is that Sister Evelyn harbors a secret just as wretched as her charges. When the author of that secret, the vengeful
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In Bedford-Styvesant Brooklyn there is a house for abused women run by nuns. Mainly Sister Evelyn who is a force to reckon with. Evelyn holds secrets of her own . This seriously touches on sexual and physical abuse. As well as abuse in the Catholic church. This was emotional and thought provoking. I really liked Evelyn. Being raised Catholic she is unlike any nun I've ever met. I highly recommend this for book clubs. There are so many things in this to discuss. This is well written and ...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 stereotypewithin 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 a
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
Nancy Timmerman
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-giveaway
I did enjoy this book by Alena Dillon, but the topic in “Mercy House” was a little troublesome for me to read in the beginning. The author really used her words perfectly, though, to make you want to see what happens next. It is so heartbreaking to know that society “turns the other way” and allows men to be so controlling over women. The women in the story had to endure so much abuse it sometimes just had my emotions going unhinged from being sad to getting angry at “why” is this happening? The ...more
Julia (jaylamm.reads)
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank youWilliam Morrow for the free book. AndLibro.FM for the free audio book.

Mercy House by Alena Dillion #jaylammreads

A small group of nuns run Mercy House, a safe haven for those in their small community who need a place to stay and heal.

I couldn't put this book down. I alteredbetween the audio and the physical book becauseI was so swept up in the story. I really liked Sister Evelyn, she was an incredibly strong character. She is so soft hearted to those she meets in Mercy House, but she is
Crystal Zavala
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tlcbooktours, librofm
Mercy House is a safe house for domestic violence victims in Brooklyn. Evelyn and the sisters of the local Catholic parish operate Mercy House with kindness and openness. Sister Evelyn has made herself well-known in the community by wearing casual clothing, giving out muffins, and getting to know all those she meets in the streets.
Evelyn has a pretty dark past, her Irish father gave her to the convent as a small child after he made a promise to God that he would do so if her older brother came
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. She
Gina Maguire
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Received this ARC for free from the publisher for an honest review. All the opinions are my own!

Regardless of ones religion, growing up you may have been taught about its traditions, sacraments, and religious leaders. These are things you are taught to trust and trust without question. As you get older, you begin to learn that traditions and sacraments are not always good and these religious leaders you have trusted are human with fatal flaws. This book encapsulates this knowledge. Sister Evelyn
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mercy House by Alena Dillon is an interesting story about Mercy House, a safe house for battered women in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, and the nuns running it.

There had been much success in house's years of operation - aiding physically, mentally, and sexually abused women, most with little to no education or resources, to break the chains of abuse and become strong, healthy, educated independent women.

Despite this, the house becomes the subject of an inquisition style
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! Evelyn is such a beautiful, warm, loving, flawed, imperfectly perfect character. Very rich and descriptive writing and an unusual subject.
Kelly Long
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, arcs, netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was an intense book dealing with many of today's controversial issues regarding the Catholic church and women's reproductive rights. The author created very real characters with real conflicts although I feel some of the characters' situations did get a bit over the top. Overall, this is an engaging story.
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Download PDF/ePub eBook Mercy House: A Novel by Alena Dillon 1 1 Feb 12, 2020 10:18AM  

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Alena Dillon is the author of Mercy House, forthcoming from William Morrow in 2020, and the humor collection, "I Thought We Agreed to Pee in the Ocean." Alena lives with her family in the north shore of Boston.
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