When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
For me, Ann Tatlock epitomizes the historical writer. Her novels are so rich with information of the era that’s she’s writing that oftentimes I feel like I took a time-travel trip. Sweet Mercy is no different as it indoctrinates you into the Great Depression/Prohibition era with the likes of Al Capone and other such criminal minds. Not only did I learn a lot, I enjoyed a good story as well. I found this novel to be thoroughly engaging and page-turning. I always wanted to know what happened next. I will say that Eve was a bit annoying to me as a character. At the same time, I understand that she had to be the way she was for you to truly see how things were. But (and maybe I’m jaded), I failed to be as concerned about prohibition as Eve was (could be because I know how the story ends). I did enjoy the romance though it took a backseat in the narrative and if I’m honest, I wanted her to end up with one of the other guys Eve got to know so well. Spiritually, mercy is a concept that is touted throughout the novel. And I love how it ends by showing that there is no sin that you can commit that God won’t forgive you for. But I think another point as well is that self-righteousness gets you nowhere but alone. Page-turning, fun, and recommended!
**I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**