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The Mercy of Thin Air

A Novel
Narrated by: Rebecca Gayheart
Length: 6 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (59 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1920s New Orleans, Raziela Nolan's magnificent love affair is interrupted by her untimely and tragic death. Immediately after, she chooses to stay between a realm that exists after life and before whatever lies beyond it. From this remarkable vantage point, Razi narrates the story of her lost love as well as of the relationship of Amy and Scott, a young couple whose house she haunts seventy years later. It is their own troubled story that finally compels Razi to slowly unravel the mystery of what happened to her first and only passion, Andrew, and to confront a long-hidden secret.

The Mercy of Thin Air entwines two heartbreaking and redemptive love stories that echo across three generations and culminates in a finish that will leave readers breathless. It is a poignant and brilliant first novel that beautifully captures the nature of love and shows how it transcends all barriers, even death.

©2005 Ronlyn Domingue (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

Critic Reviews

"Luminous, wise, tender, passionate, and compassionate, this book is special. Razi is a rare character, and her story opens like the petals of a flower. She makes me understand, all over again, the redemptive power of love. One to treasure." (Posie Graeme-Evans)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • Bayside, NY, United States
  • 07-18-06

Thin Story

I didn't know this was abridged until I got to the end and it was announced; somehow I missed that in the book description -- still can't find it stated anywhere. This book didn't quite hold my interest throughout. It's sort of precious and bland and I kept on with it but often wished I hadn't started.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Why is this abridged?

The book is one of my favourite and I was so disappointed when I realised that the audiobook is not the full novel - why?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Frances
  • Webster, MA, United States
  • 11-08-18

Beautifully written, but...

Raziela Nolan is a beautiful, savvy, modern woman of the late 1920s whose life gets cut short by a slip on the edge of her lover's pool. Andrew, who adores her beyond words, arrives just moments after she drowns. Razi, however, decides not to "cross over" right away. It's seventy years later and she's still around, still trying to find out what happened to her beloved Andrew after her death.

An antique bookcase in an estate sale catches the eye of Amy and Scott, a young couple looking to add to their vintage furniture collection. The bookcase belonged to Andrew. Little do they know, when they take the bookcase home, they are taking an unseen visitor with them.

A ghost.

This compelling story is told from the prospective of a spirit - Razi - who is stuck "in between," as she refers to her state. When she takes up residence in Scott and Amy's home, she becomes witness to their love drama. Amy is haunted by her own past, having lost her true love in a car wreck, then losing their unborn child in the aftermath. She's never gotten over her first love, and Scott knows nothing of any of this.

Twin time periods, twin love stories. Ms. Dominigue has certainly taken on a big challenge. So many characters, though, who appear in more than one time period - often in the same chapter - tend to cause confusion. Is this Razi alive or is she already dead? Is Aunt Tollie young and Razi's best friend, or old and Amy's aging aunt? In the last chapters, the prose takes on an almost hallucinogenic quality. Where are we? When are we? Although the author's word craft is elegant, I'm not sure the delivery provides the most satisfying love story.

But it's told by a ghost. If you loved Anne Sebold's "The Lovely Bones," do give "The Mercy of Thin Air" a go.

I listened to the audiobook version of this title and the narrator, Rebecca Gayheart, provided an outstanding performance.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Southern Charm, Powerful Women, and Ghosts

Rebecca Gayheart's performance is sublime and her artistry is what kept me engaged with this piece. I chose this book because it is set (at least in part) in New Orleans. I had to re-start this story three times - I found it confusing at first. I am happy that I stuck with it. The writing is brilliant at times and all of the descriptions and Southern charm are expertly communicated. I think this could have been a much better story with a little more time, focus, and organization. I would recommend The Mercy of Thin Air to fans of Southern culture, feminism, history, and the notion of spirits trapped in time. I was unsatisfied with the conclusion, especially. I had questions which were not adequately answered. I would like to read more from this author - she obviously has a lot of talent.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

NOT THE REAL BOOK

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

This audiobook cuts out at least 5 hours worth of material from the actual book. There are entire characters and storylines removed. I met with the author this past week and had several questions about confusing aspects of the plot and when I told her I had listened to the audiobook she explained that much of my confusion would be resolved if I had read the physical book instead of listened to the abridged version. Ronlyn is an amazing author, and I feel like I can't even say that I actually read this book.

Would you be willing to try another book from Ronlyn Domingue? Why or why not?

Yes, Ronlyn is a great writer.

Would you be willing to try another one of Rebecca Gayheart’s performances?

Rebecca's voice was so incredibly annoying. It was a terrible southern drawl that does not match the dialogue of New Orleans.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Ehh...

Wonderful narration and beautiful writing. However, little plot what so ever in my opinion. Slow moving book.

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

This is what love is...

A journey that even death may not block. Love is a beautiful tragedy drowning one in loss and hope.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This was an equisite and beautiful book to read...

....Rebecca Gayheart portrayed the characters in such a way that I believed I was actually listening to Razi speak....that she was a real person. The romance in this book was perfect........there was just a touch of sex with much passion and love and tenderness that caused me to feel anticipation for the next time the lovers in the book would meet. It was a ghost story but in a fashion that was not scary but more that it needed to be told this way...with Razi being our guide thru both Andrew's and Amy's lives....There is a lot of sadness and anger from broken hearts that needs to be dealt with and the reader is drawn in to the point of almost feeling their heart breaking too. I found myself being pulled into the story each time I would start it up again and it was REALLY difficult for me to stop........I'm sure I would've finished this book in an afternoon if I would have had the opportunity. I loved how this book made me feel and think and wonder.......and how I could just sit and ponder on the beauty of a love that transends all time and worlds......It was a really amazing experience or me to read this book and one that I will fondly think about during the remainder of my reading years and beyond.

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

A beautiful love story.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Of course, it was an outstanding listen.

What other book might you compare The Mercy of Thin Air to and why?

Don't know. I a new listener, however, I have listened to approximately 20 books in 2011.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle
  • Blacksburg, VA, United States
  • 09-07-11

Incredible!

Amazing love story that will leave you breathless! Rebecca Gayheart does an amazing job and her voice goes beautifully with the story.