Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: The Mercy

The Mercy. Beverly Lewis. 2011. Bethany House. 310 pages.

A solemn pallor covers the landscape of our lives since Bishop Aaron Petersheim was removed from his ministerial duties.

The Mercy concludes Beverly Lewis' The Rose Trilogy. The first two novels are The Thorn and The Judgment.

The good news? Well, I liked the two sisters Rose and Hen (Hannah). I liked the dual narration. I thought both stories--or perspectives--offered readers something.

The not-as-good news? Well, the story didn't hold my attention through all three novels. I'd have preferred one really great novel instead of three slow-moving ones. Lewis was giving her characters time to grow, time to change, time to adapt. Both Rose and Hannah are being challenged--though Hannah's challenge is perhaps more obvious.

Hannah's marriage is in trouble AND she's having an identity crisis. Hannah is worried about her little girl. And she's torn between her faith and her traditions and the modern world. On the one hand, she did marry an outsider. She wanted to escape for some reason, there was something appealing to her from the modern, contemporary world or culture. But on the other hand, she has a hard time fully letting go of her past. And what she wants is to feel safe and secure and comfortable. So she does long to return to the simplicity of her former life, the familiarity of it. As for her marriage, she has difficulty communicating with her husband. You might interpret that to he doesn't listen or he doesn't care or whatever. But I think she has a hard time listening to him too.

Rose. Well, I said her 'issue' was less obvious perhaps. Rose's "problem" is that she's single. Rose's problem is that she's expected to not be single. She's reached the age where almost everyone has found an attachment, someone to court, someone to marry, someone to start a family with. And Rose, well, Rose hasn't found that someone just yet. There have been a few guys--from the community, from the Amish faith, that have shown interest. But Rose hasn't been able to fully make a commitment to anyone. The one time she did, well, it didn't work out. He was in love with someone else. And she wasn't in love with him either. Rose's story was perhaps more frustrating to me as a reader because every love interest lacked character. That is, each love interest was under-developed. Rose didn't care, AND I, as a reader, didn't care. It was also annoying in that from the first or second chapter of the first book, readers could guess exactly who she was going to end up marrying. And when there are three books to read to get to that one happy ending, well, it feels SLOW.

So in the third book, readers know almost exactly what is going to happen to both sisters, but they still have to read the journey of how they got there.  These three books were certainly predictable--in a way--though I certainly didn't guess Brandon's accident and his blindness. But there are worse things for a book to be besides predictable.

I suppose I liked the series well enough. (It's not like I needed encouraging or prompting to read the second and third books.) I just felt tired with them after a while.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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