Monday, October 25, 2010

Miracle of Mercy Land

When I received my copy of The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan I was not sure quite what to expect. Fiction is not my preferred genre of books. When you tie a new story to a particular time period, such as pre-WWII, and the book tends to get knocked down a rung on my reading priority list. I'll be honest – the reason I read the book was because this book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

As a young woman, Mercy Land moves from the backwoods of Bittersweet Creek where she grew up to Bay City, a nearby small town. Here she lands a job as being #2 in charge at the town newspaper. For Mercy, moving to a town of any size, be it a population of 500 or 50,000, would be a major change, having grown up along Bittersweet Creek. Suddenly Doc Phillips, the owner/editor in chief of The Banner, one night finds himself keeper of a book. Not an ordinary book, mind you. It's a book that can tell you what might have happened in a person's life, had he or she made different decisions. Why him? Why this book? And what is he supposed to do about the information he sees in it? He shares the book with Mercy, and the two of them decide to keep the book a secret from anyone else. But not before Doc orchestrates the arrival of a strangely familiar man - a man whose life could be made right by what was revealed in this mysterious book.

What I liked: The story was clearly written, and unmuddled by too many characters. Although the time period was the early 1940's, you'd never know it, except for a few references to pre-WWII headlines.

What I didn't like: Even though the book was easy to read, the characters easy to distinguish, and the story on the whole easy to follow, I never quite grasped the purpose of the supernatural book. Somehow I think the same story could have been written substituting an abandoned briefcase of hundred dollar bills and appealed to the same audience.

Would I recommend this book to a friend? Frankly, I wouldn't rate The Miracle of Mercy Land as a “must read.” This is a book that I would give to a fiction-reading friend on the condition that, after she reads it, she pass it along to someone else to enjoy.

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