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Publisher's Summary

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 academics. 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 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 noose and protect the woman he loves.

Kate's 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.

©2017 Joy Jordan-Lake (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    3

Performance

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    52
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    10
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    2
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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Couldn't finish. Seemed disjointed to me.

Maybe it is just me but I had a hard time following the storyline. It just didn't keep my attention. I do feel that there needed to be more background to the story at the first and the characters needed to be developed so you could relate to them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A good and hard story that inspires hope and change

I loved going on this journey to the past and the tie in to today and how time has assimilated and transformed the southern culture of today. Though some events may seem a little too convenient (like randomly meeting an unknown nephew on her first day in town), the story is compelling and believable. Well written with moments of great prose, this story takes the events of the past and today to help us all grow in compassion for our fellow human beings and to eliminate racism in our own hearts — even if and especially if we descend from a family who has a racist past. (Spoiler alert:) It does all tie up very neatly in the end, but with the nature and depth of the issues addressed, I for one was very glad to be left with hope to move forward!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story!

Historically and emotionally this great story unfolds with mystery that holds the attention. Really enjoyed the book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating...

I bought this book months ago but delayed reading it. I am glad I chose to listen instead. The narration held me captive, despite the overwhelming sadness of the context.... The author is truly gifted...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Charleston Blessed

A Tangled Mercy reminded me how Blessed I am to have lived in Charleston for several years. It is a beautiful city with a unique culture and history. Although I didn't experience the prejudice identified in the book, I did experience the unique way in which the people of the city regardless of race and religion embraced one another. Unlike New England, they also welcomed people from the outside to enjoy what the city has to offer. A Tangled Mercy somehow brought the “special” of Charleston out and made me feel like I was there again walking along with Kate as she solved the mystery of history.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good book, flawed by complexity

This mystery story of modern Charleston is interwoven with a historical, fictionalized account of a 1822 slave revolt in the city. Both narratives are absorbing, but it is nearly impossible to track all the characters and events. Simplification of stories, players and details would help this book read better, especially as an audible book.

The performance was quite well done. Charleston accents were reasonably good, with one annoying exception: pronunciations.

Beaufort, in South Carolina, is BYOO-fert, not BOW-fert, the North Carolina pronunciation. We pronounce the name Manigault, MAN-uh-go. And we certainly don’t say BAL-yew-strade, but rather BAL-uh-strade. There are several other distracting errors of this kind.

Such an obvious mistake is puzzling. Paying an English major to investigate and note pronunciations of regional and local terms would have precluded it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good

The book was hard to follow at times especially in the first few chapters. I had to go back and at times re-listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Tangled Mercy

The research explained was so enlightening. I did enjoy the going back and forth , from past to present, kept the attention of the reader.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding story, and superb writing, narration

I'm not a big novel person. I thought this was one of the better novels I've read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A story of hope

Extremely well written. The past intertwines seamlessly with the present. A heartwrenching story of my history and an account of the power of bravery, forgiveness and unity - Timely.