Thursday, October 19, 2017

{Review} A TANGLED MERCY by Joy Jordan-Lake

ISBN #: 978-1477823668
Page Count: 462
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads Summary:

After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture—and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt—the subject of her mother’s own research.

Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves.

Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.

Mandy's Review:

A Tangled Mercy is a complex novel. Kate's mother has died leaving her bereft of family. Sarah Grace, Kate's mother, made it difficult for Kate to know her. Stuck in the past, Sarah Grace couldn't focus enough on the present with Kate to give her a solid foundation of love and happiness. After Sarah Grace's death, Kate decides to go where her mother was from, Charleston, and see if she could find some posthumous way to connect with Sarah Grace. Kate continues her mother's search into the attempted Denmark Vesey slave revolt of 1822 wondering how it connected to their family. What's finally revealed is both sad and happy.

The novel focuses mainly in the year 2015 and Kate's research but does flashback to 1822, allowing the reader to get to "know" the events of the attempted revolt. One of the main characters in 1822 Charleston is Tom Russell, the slave-blacksmith who fashioned the weapons of the revolt. My heart ached, as it always does, reading about slaves and everything they had to go through.

If I had an issue with this book it would be the scene with the photographer. First, I don't believe it was necessary to the story; the flashback Kate had from it could've been developed in a different way. Secondly, all the responsibility of what happened was laid at the feet of the white person. None of the responsibility was laid on Gabe, who should've been taught, or realized, two things: 1.) You don't get near or mess with a stranger's things no matter how curious, or what color, you are and 2.) Knowing the type of world you're being raised in, Gabe should've known better than to reach into his pocket for his toy. The fault of the situation should've been represented equally between the two sides and it wasn't.

Despite that, the novel was well-written and captivating. It didn't feel too lengthy as some novels do that are over 300 pages. I would recommend this to my history-loving fiction readers making sure to mention the one point of my discontent.

* An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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