Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Shades of Mercy


Shades of Mercy, by Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivadeneira

Back Cover

…her father will see Mercy for the young woman she has become.
…Mercy and Mick can move their relationship out from the shadows.
…Mercy will leave Maine’s Northwoods for the world outside.

Although other parts of the country were changing, the Maliseets of Maine’s Northwoods were still relegated to shanties on the local garbage dump.  Those who found work were farmhands, not bosses.  And, of course, a Maliseet boy could never date the farmer’s daughter.  Not ever.

All of that began to change in 1954.  As racial tensions escalate, Mercy and her Maliseet boyfriend find it nearly impossible to hold on to their someday dream…then disaster strikes, looking surprisingly like the grace of God.


Shades of Mercy is set in a time not even a decade after World War II, where the world saw some of the worst evil man could ever be capable of with the attempt at the genocide of the Jews.  It was also a time of the beginning of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the days of Martin King Luther Jr., and when American was turned upside down (again) in a push for all men to be seen as equal.

But also during that time was a rising awareness of the harsh treatment of the Maliseet Indians of Maine.  This tribe lived in conditions not fit for any human being, and were forced to do menial labour for low wages.

It is within this setting that the story picks up, following a young farm girl, Mercy, as she navigates this minefield of human emotion and actions while she herself is on the cusp of adulthood.  She can’t completely understand why she and Mick, a Maliseet Indian, can’t openly be a couple.  To her, they were a boy and a girl who liked each other.  Why was it such a big deal?  But one thing leads to another, and soon Mercy finds herself having to fight her hardest to for her and Mick, and the future they want together.

A moving story, Shades of Mercy is a novel that packs a big punch.  Illustrating the suffering that is caused by racism – something that affects people of every race, whether they are rich or poor, young or old, single, married, etc. – it is, at times, a heartbreaking, yet sweet, story, of a budding, forbidden love between two young people. 

STAY TUNED: I will be hosting a giveaway for this novel.  More details to come!

River North provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

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