In the midst of the racial tensions of the 1950’s, Mercy Millar takes a front row seat as the daughter of a white farmer in love with Mick, a member of the Maliseet Indian tribe. Their secret relationship is complicated when Marjorie and Glenn, a similar couple, runs off to New York City to get married and begin their life together. Marjorie’s father, a business owner and respected member of their town, is angry and eager for revenge. When Mick is accused of a crime, he is jailed and the entire town is forced to confront their feelings about the Maliseet Indians. When everything looks darkest for Mercy and Mick, is it possible that God’s mercy will prevail?
This is my second reading of the book, and I liked it even more this time. When I first read it, I was so focused on what will happen to Mercy and Mick’s relationship that I missed a lot of the beauty in Lustrea and Rivadeneira’s writing. Knowing what happens in the end of the book gave me a peace to focus more on the powerful messages of the book. Mercy learns from her parents to always treat people fairly, even when others do not. For example, her father always pays the Maliseet farm workers fairly, even when other farmers they work for do not. Even more importantly, her parents provide role models for judging people on their works and character and not on their race. In fact, the only concern her father voices when he learns of their relationship is of Mick’s beliefs and not of his race.
Another strong message in this book is about hope. How much easier is it to have hope in the future when you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and a chance at the future? These are the questions Mick has for Mercy. Can we have hope for a future without faith?
On a historical note, I really enjoyed learning about an Indian tribe that is not as well-known, at least not in the area where I live. It was also interesting to read about how the civil rights movement affected a different group of people. So much focus is given to the civil rights movement in the South, it was interesting to read about it from a different perspective in a different part of the country.
This is truly a beautiful story, even better the second time around. If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. If you live in the Northeast, or were alive during the 1950’s, you will probably enjoy this book even more.
Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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