Erin's Reviews > The Shape of Mercy

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
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's review
Feb 20, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: christian-fiction, tear-jerkers

Lauren Durough has never lacked for money her entire life. Although she's been set on the path to inherit the lucrative family business, she wants to make her own way in the world. Rather than attending Stanford like her cousins, Lauren decides to attend a state college and do all sorts of unconventional things, such as pursue an English degree and get a job. Answering an ad on a bulletin board for someone to work on transcribing a seventeenth century journal, Lauren embarks on an adventure to uncover the past and impact the future.

The journal was written by Mercy Hayworth, a young woman who was tried and convicted in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Life was peaceful and calm for Mercy and she had a bright future ahead until things go sideways in Salem Village. Meissner does an excellent job crafting this side of the story, and readers are drawn to find out what happened to Mercy, her family, and her friends.

Lauren and the owner of the journal, Abigail, forge a unique friendship. Meissner draws a connection between the three women: two have dealt and one is still dealing with cultural stigma in one form or another. For Mercy, the accusations of witchcraft. For Abigail, an old wound which never healed. For Lauren, the struggle to deal with the idea that not everything in the world is about money.

Once I got halfway through this novel I could not put it down. I wanted to know what happened to Mercy and then what happened to Lauren after she finished transcribing the journal. It's a race to the finish. The theme of understanding what we want to understand comes up over and over. How do you look at the world? Will you let love of God and love for others help you understand those around you? This book covered both the contemporary and historic genres well and I applaud Meissner for being able to so beautifully intertwine the two.

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