The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner - Book Review

The Shape of Mercy tells the story of how three lives intermingle when Lauren, a wealthy college student seeking independence and validation, takes a job transcribing a Salem witch trials diary penned by a young woman named Mercy. As Lauren uncovers secrets held within the diaries pages, she also uncovers the secrets of the diary’s elderly owner, Abigail. The three form an unlikely multigenerational kinship.

The author does an excellent job meshing three diverse generations while illustrating the universality of love and its depths. Though each young woman walks a unique path, each will make choices that affect the whole of her life. The story is well written with insight into human emotions and relationships. The diary passages make up a large portion of the novel and create a story-within-a-story without a break in the narrative’s flow. The characters are a likeable bunch with Abigail being the most secretive and, therefore, the most intriguing. Her story is a lesson on the pains and regrets of love while Mercy’s is the story of supreme sacrifice. Lauren, like the reader, has much to learn from these two women.

Although I am an avid historical fiction devotee, I have not read anything billed as Christian fiction. After reading The Shape of Mercy, I was surprised to see that it had been labeled as such. I even reread to look for any overt religious tones. There are none. This is interesting for me as I would never have picked up a book that had been labeled "Christian Fiction.” And it would have been my loss.

Recommended for those who enjoy coming of age tales, female relationship stories or historical fiction.

Buy The Shape of Mercy HERE

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