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Book Review: The Shape of Mercy

Lauren, a college student, helps Abigail Boyles, an 80-year-old recluse, transcribe the diary of Abigail's ancestral cousin, Mercy Hayworth--who was hanged for witchcraft. As secrets unfold, the extent to which the lives of these three women are connected comes to light, and both Lauren and Abigail find the very way they view the world irrevocably changed.

My Review

Finding a book that stirs reading in one setting is rare, but Susan Meissner has crafted one.

Three women, a tale of horrific events, and the moral question it inspires…What danger lurks in the judgement of another?

The Shape of Mercy is the story of a young woman hired to transcribe the diary of a girl who lived in Salem, during days of the witch trials. In possession of her ancestor’s journal, Abigail, hires Lauren to create a digital record of Mercy’s ancient entries. But as Mercy’s story unfolds, Lauren begins to recognize her own presuppositions and prejudices toward others.

There is an underlying moral lesson in this book, but it isn’t preachy, because we can identify with both perspectives—the one who judges, and the one being judged. The result from this unique blend of voices was educational for me. It reiterated the prudence of delaying a hastily formed opinion, or as the saying goes…“Don’t judge a book by its cover”.   


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