Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Shape of Mercy - Susan Meissner

the shape of mercy
susan meissner
c. 2008
305 pages
completed 4/27/2009

read for: read your own books challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Lauren Durough, a 20 year old heiress to a prominent Southern California family, tries to dance to the beat of her own drum. Instead of going to the prestigious Stanford, she chooses a local state school. Instead of living in a family paid apartment, she chooses to live in the dorms with her roommate Clarissa. And instead of spending her time working for her father, she chooses to find her own job. The job she finds is in the home of the elderly Miss Abigail Boyles, transcribing a diary written during the time of the Salem Witch Trials by Mercy Hayworth, a distant relative of Abigail's who was tried and convicted of witchcraft. It is during the transcription of this diary and the discovery of some of the secrets of Abigail's past that Lauren learns the problems with her preconceived notions.

It's been a while since I've read a book that I just felt I could not put it down. There have been books recently that I've enjoyed, but this one just held my attention and wouldn't let go. Which is sometimes frustrating when I'm at work!

This period of history terrifies me. I haven't read too much about it because of that. It's definitely interesting thinking about what could possibly be the reason these events started, but it's also horrifying reading about the lives that were destroyed. I don't like to read about it too much. So it was nice that this book was broken up with the stories of Lauren and Abigail as well as Mercy.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. I liked the way all of Lauren's snap judgments and preconceived notions were my same thoughts. After the description of his outfit, I totally thought Raul was part of the catering staff. I was also sure the Mercy was executed and that what came between Abigail and Tom, the gardener's son, was money. But no. All wrong! I also really liked Lauren's father. He was an interesting character. Not quite the stereotypical old money patriarch that Lauren led us to believe. And he had one of the best lines (though I don't have the book in front of me so I'm going to have to paraphrase). When Lauren told him she tries so hard to judge people by their actions and not on their circumstances, he says, 'yeah, that would be better, except you're still judging them.' Quite a revelation for Lauren.

The only thing I didn't really like was the relationship between Lauren and Raul. The beginning wasn't that believable. I don't understand how he fell for her.


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