Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: A Tangled Mercy, by Joy Jordan-Lake

Guest review by: Erin Krajenke

Gripping her coffee and feeling her way through the mist that clung to the water and to the mansions beside it, Kate climbed the steps of the seawall. A thousand miles of asphalt had made her stiff and bleary-eyed, but this view, her first of Charleston Harbor since she'd left as a child, was nothing like she remembered. 

'Left', Kate thought. Or been dragged away - that was more like it.

Where she'd recalled sunshine that was searing and gold and houses in a paint box of pastels and roses that spilled in reds and yellows so bright they hurt the eyes, here was a haunted gray silence. Spanish moss swayed from long-armed live oaks that seemed to be reaching and reaching for something they could not quite touch. Brick crafted by slaves walled off the gardens, broken only by wrought iron gates and low-growing palmettos spiked upward like swords.

Kate looked out over the water, as dark here before dawn as her coffee. Beneath her, low waves hissed over a strip of pebbles and sand. And for the first time since she'd walked out so bravely on her life in New England - how stupid she'd been to think she was brave, how incredibly, terribly stupid - nausea and doubt rose together. A thousand miles south she'd driven, all afternoon and all night, thinking that finally, after so many years, she was on a journey to answers."

“The quarter hour of warning drums would be stopping soon, even here in the Neck, the norther part of the peninsula that housed scores of free blacks and slaves hired out for their skills by their owners. He'd been given permission two years ago to move from the quarters behind the Russell home and into a room in the Neck shared by four other artisan slaves. They were still watched and patrolled and told when to be in for the night and how many could congregate where. But it had been a small taste of freedom, a taste he knew better than to risk by ignoring curfew.

But he's just signed on for a rebellion that, if it went according to plan and fanned the spirit of liberty and hope, could sweep the Low Country - could free slaves across the South.

And if it failed...then being hauled into the workhouse for breaking curfew would be the least of his worries.

Tom lifted a hammer and brought it down in a shattering blow.

I always enjoy books that take place during this era in United States history. I find them informative and very moving, so I was excited to read another novel in this timeframe.

Official synopsis:
A Tangled Mercy book, by Joy Jordan-Lake
Told in alternating tales at once haunting and redemptive, A Tangled Mercy is a quintessentially American epic rooted in heartbreaking true events examining the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, and our enduring hope for freedom and forgiveness.

After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture - and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt - the subject of her mother's own research.

Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and a slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the nooses and protect the woman he loves.

Kate attempts to discover what drove her mother's dangerous obsession with Charleston's tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world. 

Unfortunately for me, this book fell short. While I enjoyed all of the characters, the setting, and the story itself, something about it didn’t hold my interest and it took me a long time to finish reading it… it was almost as if reading it was a chore. I think it had to do with the overly descriptive writing style. I felt like it was trying to be more poetic than actually telling a story. I think the book has a pacing issue because the ‘meat’ of the story could have been faster and more concise.

Also, I feel that the suspense the book was trying to build was not the surprise it made it out to be and every new discovery was pretty obvious. I have read other books in this era/genre and with some of the same individuals (as this story includes real people and events) that were more interesting and that I felt had more heart.

Star rating: 3 stars out of 5.

{click here to purchase}

Erin Krajenke is a chatty Virgo who has never passed a crack she didn’t trip over.


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of A Tangled Mercy!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, July 18th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

A Tangled Mercy book


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