I love a story that surprises me. Ann Tatlock’s newest novel, Sweet Mercy, does just that. I didn’t expect the ending and the revelation elevates the book to the rank of memorable.
Set in the era of The Great Depression and Prohibition, the story follows Eve Marryat’s journey as she moves from her home in St. Paul, Minnesota to Mercy, Ohio. Her father has lost his job at the Ford Motor Company, can’t find new work, and decides to return to his roots, despite disagreements with the two brothers he left behind. One of them runs a lodge in Mercy and offers to let the family work for him in exchange for room and board.
Eve is happy about the change. In her mind Mercy is an idyllic place she remembers from her childhood, a little town where she can avoid bootleggers, murderers, and gangsters, people she witnessed in operation in St. Paul. Visitors to Mercy come to relax, spend time on the river, and dance to bands on weekends.
She meets her first boyfriend, receives her first kiss, and forms an unlikely friendship with a homeless man living in a camp along the river, totally ignorant of the business dealings of her uncle and his lodge.
Reality soon finds her and she is faced with a decision—expose her uncle for who he is and risk losing the position he has granted her father, or remain quiet and oppose the law. Her choice will keep readers on the edges of their seats.
Ann Tatlock lives with her family in North Carolina and is a recipient of the coveted Christy award, an honor given to authors who write compelling fiction from a Christian worldview. Sweet Mercy is her tenth novel and is available from Bethany House Publishers.