Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Book Review: The Crooked Heart of Mercy, Billie Livingston
When I came across the brief intro to this book through TLC Book Tours I was absolutely intrigued. Devastation, injuries, loss, addiction, family, mental health - all these things and more. Chaos. Emotions. Okay, so maybe all of that wasn't displayed in the introduction, but I certainly felt all that and more after reading The Crooked Heart of Mercy. (affiliate link)
Ben is in a psych ward after waking up in the hospital with a hole in his head. Kind of - sort of.
Maggie is heartbroken. She's in search of work, needs a job to live and function, and is struggling beyond words.
Maggie's brother Francis is an alcoholic priest in a whole lot of trouble with the law and the priesthood. His church is struggling. He's struggling. He also has some sexuality issues that are not helping him out any, either. I can't tell you more because I don't want to spoil the story too much here. He's not a primary character - and yet - you need to learn about him through the tale.
Ben's family is horrible. I mean. Goodness. The history there. The way he grew up. His relationship with his brother. His parents. Especially his father. The way things fall into place for us as readers, honestly? We're not fans of this group of people by any means.
I have seen some of the reviews of this book state that these are very unlikeable characters. I'll admit it - I wasn't always a fan of their actions - history - behaviors. The story brings us back to what was a very preventable accident and in doing so finds us struggling with the sympathy we have felt for Maggie and Ben. We're not sure what we think of them. We kind of hate them both a little. We also ache for them. Their loss. Their heartache. The way they're trying to function without one another, and yet - I don't know - we still want to know how it ends.
What happens? How does this wrap up? Does everything get fixed? If so, is it in a way that we - the reader - find favorable? Do we want it tied up in a pretty bow? Or do we prefer things remain as shattered as they appear to be?
I don't know.
I don't know what you'll expect as you're turning each page. What you'll want when you read this story. I just know it will stick with you. As with most books with extremely flawed characters, it's not easily digestible, but it is a really good read. So, if I've sold you on it, pick up a copy of The Crooked Heart of Mercy (affiliate link) today. At under 300 pages it's worth the investment. It's also not the kind of book you try to figure out if you want to continue. You're pulled in right away and need to know more. Even if you're not 100% sure what it is you want to see happen. So go on - pick it up. And then come by and let me know what you think.
* This book was provided to me in exchange for a review. I was not compensated and all opinions are completely my own. *