When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
I was eager to read another Ann Tatlock novel after having enjoyed Promises to Keep (https://campcostinak.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/book-review-promises-to-keep/). Sweet Mercy promised intrigue and excitement, but it took a very long time to get to that point. The story starts out slow and I kept waiting for things to pick up. When the plot did begin to move along, I felt I had to hang on tight as it moved almost too fast. I was wishing that more of the book was a good as the build-up to the ending.
Having said that, I did enjoy the story. The main character is sweet in her naivety, the cousin is heartbreakingly real and the visitors to the lodge are suspicious and intriguing. I enjoyed the setting of the lodge and found myself longing for such a place to escape to while reading. The simplicity of life was relaxing and Tatlock did a great job describing it in such a way that I could almost hear the water in the river and the band playing in the gazebo. Sweet Mercy is a great summer read if you’re looking for a slower paced story that can help you escape to a relaxed setting and enjoyable characters.
I give this book 4 stars out of 5.
I received this book free from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.