Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner


Susan Meissner

From early school-day projects to becoming editor of a local newspaper in Minnesota, Susan Meissner's love for writing has been apparent her entire life. The Shape of Mercy is her latest novel in a string of books that delve into the deeper issues of life. She is the author of nine novels and lives with her family in San Diego, California. Find out more about her at


“We understand what we want to understand.”

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?


I honestly didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book as I haven't read Susan Meissner's work before but I was surprised how quickly I was drawn in...and finished the book in 7 hours! Definitely one hard book to put down when it's time to go to bed!

"The Shape of Mercy" is about three women spanning 3 generations whose lives are so different yet sharing a similar story of faith, love, and struggle against life, expectations and judgment.

The story is a blend of contemporary and historical and the time difference is almost hard to distinguish as the story progresses. I found myself expectant and apprehensive as the trial for Mercy "the accused witch" was approaching. I felt hopeful that the townsfolk would see the truth beyond the lies/deception and trust in God's mercy and grace. Yet, I realized that Mercy was destined and it was something that God has allowed to happen for a greater purpose than she could've ever known.

I found the story engaging, haunting, and unsettling that I kept thinking about it long after I read the last page. It's a rare thing to find a story that's so oddly powerful, it's almost heartbreaking and you feel like not wanting to continue reading the story for fear of seeing the outcome unfolding before your very own eyes. But it's even rarer to find an author whose writing captures the moments of truth in history about good people falling victim to the uncongenial mores of society and still manages to pull out strings of insights and messages of love and redemption in a flare of hope.

Ms. Susan Meissner has penned a very interesting reality with standout characters whom I enjoyed getting to know. I look forward to the next book with pleasure.


"The Shape of Mercy" is perfect for readers who like emotional tales of faith, hope and love with a dash of mystery & intrigue and a dose of history & romance.

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
ISBN-10: 1400074568
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Release Date: September 16, 2008
$11.19 from

Purchase The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner HERE!!!

posted by Rachelle
at 11:36 PM