What if you had the power to amend choices you made in the past? Would you do it even if it changed everything?
Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensible to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn—it’s the biggest news story of her life, and she can’t print a word of it.
Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City—decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages—Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves—forever.
Beautiful, lyrical, and full of hope, The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan is an unforgettable book. While classified as Christian fiction it does not read like a traditional Christian fiction book in the sense that an element of magic is used throughout the story. Mercy is born in the backwater town of Bittersweet, Alabama and is raised by her preacher father and heavily influenced by her Aunt Ida. She leaves Bittersweet for Bay City where she ends up working at a local paper and learns her boss has the biggest secret of all. Doc Philips has a book mapping out the choices of every person to live in Bay City, yet what can Mercy and Doc do with this knowledge? Jordan asks the reader to look deep within themselves as well as her characters, to look at how every choice made, influences the path currently being taken and begs the question of whether or not it is possible to reverse a poor choice. The Miracle of Mercy Land is an exquisitely written story filled with well-developed and realistic characters and vivid descriptions of life both in Bittersweet and Bay City, and while this magical quality was not one I was particularly fond of, it managed to get across the author’s intentions and in so doing works well in this novel. I would recommend The Miracle of Mercy Land to any reader who is looking for a delightful afternoon of some introspective literary prose. I believe this would make a lively discussion group choice, especially for Christian groups, and the book gives some good discussion topics at the end to help lead off a lively discussion.
River Jordan is a critically acclaimed novelist and playwright. Her books include The Miracle of Mercy Land, Saints In Limbo and The Messenger of Magnolia Street. She speaks around the country on the “Power of Story” and produces and hosts the radio series, Clearstory from Nashville, Tennessee where she makes her home.
I received a complimentary copy of The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan from KBK Public Relations to review. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.