The Miracle of Mercy Land: A Novel by River Jordan (WaterBrook, September 7, 2010), 352 pages
Mercy Land’s life is settled, and she’s content. She lives at Miss Perry’s boarding house, she’s Doc’s go-to girl at the Bay City newspaper (the Banner), and she visits her family every weekend on nearby Bittersweet Creek. She loves her job, as well as Bay City and her roots. She knows who she is. But then a very strange book shows up at the newspaper office in the middle of the night. The book reveals the lives of the people in Bay City.
I was really looking forward to this book, since I read River Jordan’s Saints in Limbo [my review] last year and fell in love. So, yes, my expectations going into The Miracle of Mercy Land were very high.
I’m happy to say those expectations were fully met! I loved this book. I can’t say at this point whether I loved this one or Saints in Limbo more.
The writing thrilled me, right from the beginning.
“The events that lay before us as a nation were a large, uncharted territory, watery in their shifting possibilities. The only thing certain was that the future would have to reveal itself in due time, and most likely it would be different from anything we had expected. In the meantime we went through our daily routine with a type of laughter we hoped would stave off impending enemies and allow our sacred routines to remain a part of our carefully plotted lives. For the moment the edges of our existence played out sweetly, simply, and untouched by the things we knew were happening beyond the borders of our existence. There was a whole ocean between us and trouble. It seemed like an ocean should be enough.”
The setting (coastal smalltown Alabama) is beautifully depicted; it lives. (Speaking of, this book is set in the 1930s, but for the most part the time period isn’t all that relevant.) The characters are flawed but clearly drawn and sympathetic. The story itself is grand. Is that high enough praise?
I will probably read every book Jordan writes.
Other than Saints in Limbo and The Miracle of Mercy Land (both published by WaterBrook), Jordan is also the author of:
- The Messenger of Magnolia Street (HarperOne),
- The Gin Girl (Livingston Press), and
- a memoir, due out April 5, 2011 Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit (Berkley).
About the author
River Jordan (@RealRiverJordan) teaches and speaks across the country on the power of story. She and her husband and their Great Pyrenees, Titan, live in Nashville. She began her writing career as a playwright and spent over 10 years with the Loblolly Theatre group, where her original works were produced, including Mama Jewels: Tales from Mullet Creek, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, and Virga.
I hope to have an interview with the author to post soon!
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