Review of The Shape of Mercy

4:11 AM

by Susan Meissner

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400074568
ISBN-13: 978-1400074563

Description (Publisher Website)

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?


I was completely blown away by this book! Every once in a while you read a book that you have to tell everyone about and that's what this one is. It starts out as such a simple story, but you can't put it down. You're pulled further and further into this incredible story. It's such a unique story first of all. As Lauren reads further and further into the diary, the reader starts seeing how the events of 400 years ago parallel many of the issues in Laurens life. I couldn't put this book down. I was mesmerized with the story of Mercy and her life. With every twist and turn I was on the edge of my seat. This is a great book and I'd recommend it over and over.

I was so moved by this book. For myself, the depiction of the people and events surrounding the Salem Witch Trials was presented in a way that gave a lot more depth to what happened. I've read about it before, but was affected much more with this book. As further pages in Mercy's diary are revealed we experience first hand the terror of the times, the fear of losing loved ones, and the strength and courage it took to keep your faith in God during those trying times.

If you're looking for a Christian book where there is a clear message presented, this isn't the book. If you're looking for a love-at-first-sight story, you'll be disappointed. But if you want to read a wonderfully written, compelling story that will stay with you for days...this is the one to pick up.

Read an excerpt here

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Every year we lose more people to AIDS. It hasn't disappeared and it's not going away anytime soon. I urge you to seek out and support your local AIDS Organizations. Encourage everyone you know to practice safe sex and to get tested once a year. Even if you don't think you are at risk, get tested. I didn't think I was at risk either, and I almost died before I was diagnosed.


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