Friday, January 26, 2018

Book Review: 'A Tangled Mercy' by Joy Jordan-Lake

A woman on the run from her future runs straight into a past that she hadn’t been expecting. Kate is fleeing the loss of her mother and searching out secrets that were kept from her. However, when she meets a little boy one morning, her world is turned upside down and the secrets kept for so long are about to come unraveled.
Time is a fluid thing and A Tangled Mercy proves this as the story weaves between the past and the present. Written in chapters alternating between present day Charleston, South Carolina and the same city in 1822, a terrible and beautiful story unfolds, bringing the two timelines together. At first, I was so confused, not able to understand how any of it might connect. However, the author is a master at dropping hints and giving clues that you don’t even realize you’ve picked up until it all comes together.
I loved Kate from the very beginning. It’s hard not to like her. She’s smart, she’s sweet, and she’s completely devoted to her family. Losing her mother shakes her world to its foundations and in a way, I think it brings her to herself. Her interactions with Gabe are the sweetest and most fun parts of the story.
Tom Russell’s story is heartbreaking. Unfortunately, this half of the story isn’t anything new or surprising as our history is filled with many such sad tales. However, I hadn’t ever heard about the failed slave revolt that the historical half of this novel focuses around. For me, it was interesting to learn about it in such a first-hand sort of way.
A Tangled Mercy is an informative and enjoyable trip through Charleston, South Carolina. The author paints an amazing picture of both timelines and doesn’t shy away from the less appealing parts of the narrative. The racism and horrors of life are equally represented in both timelines, making it an evocative and haunting story.

Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short ReviewsIt has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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