Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock - Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway!

Sweet Mercy

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition
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.
Eve can't wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be "good people," not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a "safe haven," Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle's lodge is anything but what it seems.
When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?

My Review:
5 Stars!
The book starts off with Eve taking her ten year old grandson to the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge. She sits down with her Grandson to tell him about her time there at the lodge back in 1931.
In 1931, and the Ford Motor Company in St Paul Minnesota just closed down, leaving her father out of work. Eve did not like where she lived anyway because there were to many gangsters and she witnessed a murder. They get a call from relative in Ohio who owns and runs the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge telling them if they want work to move there and they can work at the Lodge. The decision was made. Eve was very happy.
It is in Ohio that Eve, at seventeen, learns that what is right in life doesn't always follow the law. Her naive eyes are opened wide to a lot of things that happen, but life happens. People need to make money, and people come from many different backgrounds, too. Sometimes breaking the law, such as during this era of Prohibition is the only way for families to put food on their table. She knew there were bad things that went on, such as when they lived in St Paul, Minnesota, where she was so glad they moved away from but it was different here and she believed nothing like Minnesota. Although, here in Ohio she had her eyes opened by so many different types of things. 
Prohibition played a central role in Eve's story. At first what she thought was going to float down the river, like Castor Oil, was so strange until she finds out it was moonshine. She knew she could not report it to the authorities, yet she was challenged to, but did not or else her whole family would be broken up. This is where she starts learning that life and living life can be two separate things, but not necessarily wrong after all. Sometimes you have to do whatever you can to survive. Her naive eyes started to open.
This book was a very enjoyable Christian Historical Fiction story. You could relate to the characters very well. It depicted that era of time exactly as it was. (I happen to have photos of my own Grandfather, other family members, and friends drinking  moonshine and being drunker than a skunk. They are seen drinking out of the same, clear, large bottles without labels, and most of them were passed out every which way, some with their faces planted right on the floor.) Moonshine was the only way in which to put food on the table, or, when found, it was grabbed up because of the no liquor laws.) Were the men who had to do this proud? No, but it worked and they made a lot of money. It was something they 'had to do' and was not talked about because of the law. People turned their heads. Eve's family was not the only family doing it, either, little does she know. It was called survival and there was great demand for it.
I believe Eve would have come to understand the 'why' of things over the time of her naivety. 
I received this book for FREE from Bethany House Publisher in conjunction with Book Blast Promotions in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book nor to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255,
Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


From Chapter 8:

Jones pushed his hat back a notch and looked over his shoulder after the two boats. “The Little Miami meets up with the Ohio River not too far from here,” he said. “That’s probably where they’re headed.”
“Funny that they’re taking a bunch of castor oil down the Ohio River.”
Jones turned again to look at me. I couldn’t see his eyes but somehow I sensed they held amusement. My suspicions were confirmed when he shook his head and laughed. “Castor oil, nothing,” he muttered. “They’re hauling moonshine.”
For a moment I was speechless. I frowned and wondered whether I had heard him right. “Moonshine?”
“Sure. People like them are up and down this river all the time.”
It can’t be, I thought. This was Ohio, after all, birthplace of the Temperance Movement. I knew; I had done the research; I had won first place in the essay contest. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure.”
“Don’t they know moonshine is illegal?”
Jones laughed again, louder this time. “You’re kidding, right?”
“I’m not kidding, Jones. I can’t believe they’re hauling that stuff right out here in the open. They could be arrested and go to prison. They should be arrested.”
“Yeah? And who’s going to turn them in? You?”

Ann Tatlock
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association "Book of the Year" in fiction for both All the Way Home and I'll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her "one of Christian fiction's better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories." Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a copy of 3 of Ann's Books

Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep

Open to US & Canada Only

Ends 5/21/13

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Laurie, when I click on the Sweet Mercy link to add it to my good reads shelf I get an error message.


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