Monday, October 13, 2008

Review and Giveaway: The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

About the Book: Lauren Durough is a college student longing to break free of family expectations when she stumbles into a project for eighty year old Abigail Boyles—transcribing the journals of Mercy Hayworth, a seventeenth-century victim of the Massachusetts witch trials. Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with the mysterious Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to discovering the candid truth, Lauren must earnestly ask if she is playing the role of helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and recognize who she really is?
My Review: I started hearing buzz about this book a few months ago and instantly wanted to read it. I loved the title. A good title can really really draw me in. (It's amazing how many different things a book needs to get right...title, cover, blurb...sigh)
So when the book arrived just before I went on a plane trip, I popped it into my bag to take along. I was instantly drawn into the story. There's just something about the Salem Witch Trials that is so deeply fascinating in its horror. (I also love The Crucible...seeing that play was a very powerful experience) Additionally, Lauren's internal struggle was very interesting to me. Born into privilege she wanted to discover a little of what it meant to be outside of herself. And Mercy was absolutely loveable.
It was interesting to read the trials unfold from the first person viewpoint. It was horrifying to realize the things that would eventually condemn Mercy and be helpless to intervene and stop it. And as Lauren processed it all, so did I.
This book is a great story and a great look at the nature of the judgements we form. Riveting and page-turning, I cried, I reflected, and I devoured it. I highly recommend this book.

I have two copies to give away. Yay for you! If you would like to be entered to win, leave me a comment with a valid email address and tell me about your favorite book/film etc about the Salem Witch Trials. Open worldwide. I'll draw some winners and email them next week on October 19th. If you would like to triple your chances to win blog about this contest with a link back to this post and then leave me a comment telling me you've done so.

35 comments:

Smilingsal said...

I saw The Crucible as a play, and it became one of my favorites. I also enjoy reading about the Salem Witch Trials. What a horrible time in our history!
smilingsal55 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Sandra said...

I enjoyed reading Tituba of Salem Village by Ann Petry very much. Please enter me. Thank you.
sfuhringerATsympaticoDOTca

Susan B. Evans said...

The Crucible is one of my all-time favorites. I've also read everything about Samuel Sewall and the with trials that I could find at my library.
the[dot]red[dot]queen[at]hotmail[dot]com

S. Krishna said...

I'd love to be entered, and I'm going with The Crucible - but the play, NOT the movie!

skrishna [at] skrishnasbooks [dot] com

Serena said...

I read the crucible in Middle School and loved it. The adaptation of the play with Daniel Day-Lewis is one of my favorites. This sounds like another good read!

savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com

Alicia said...

This sounds like a great book! Please enter me :)

adw7984 (at) gmail (dot) com

Krista said...

They did the Crucible when I was in college. But sadly I don't really remember the story that much. I think my "favorite" book from that time is the Witch of Blackbird Pond.
teacherkrista at gmail dot com

Marcia said...

I read 'The Heretic's Daughter' by Kathleen Kent this summer and would say it's my favorite book about the Salem witch trials.

woodbear97 [at] Yahoo [dot] com

I've linked your giveaway at Up For Grabs on the October Giveaways page under today's date, 10/13

Meghan said...

I'd like to be entered! Since everyone else has mentioned The Crucible, I'll go with The Heretic's Daughter. I read it recently and really liked it.

meghankk at gmail dot com

Thanks Amy!

Ruby (Mouth) said...

Let's see. I have read The Crucible and I have heard The Heretic's Daughter and both were sooo good. I loved Acceptable Risk by Robin Cook. It was a very different look and a great book to read.

angelleslament @ gmail.com

CherryBlossomMJ said...

Such a great book!

Jessica said...

Okay, I have to say that my favorite depiction of the Salem witch trials is the movie version of The Crucible with Daniel Day Lewis. Who can forget that line "Because it is my NAME!"?

Florinda said...

I read an excerpt from this book via the DearReader.com E-mail Book Club not too long ago, and it piqued my interest, so please enter me in the giveaway...

although I may disqualify myself when I mention my favorite "Salem witch trials" book, because it's actually a modern story inspired by the IDEA of the trials rather than about the trials themselves: Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult.

nellistc said...

I saw part of a miniseries with Kirstie Alley that was very good too. Unfortunately, it wasn't until I finished watching the first part, that I realised that it was a miniseries and not a movie and that there was a second part that I didn't record!

nellista [at] gmail [dot] com

Carrie K. said...

I loved The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, which I just recently read.

nnjmom at yahoo dot com

bookroomreviews said...

ooh pick me!! ha! I've seen you raving about this and you got me interested for sure:)
bookroomreviews@hotmail.com

Ladytink_534 said...

I can't remember if it was set in Salem or not but I really liked Eternity by Maggie Shayne.

Ladytink_534ATyahooDOT.com

Chelsea said...

This book sounds great! I read this one book about the Salem Witch Trials a while back called A Break with Charity by Ann Rinaldi, and really enjoyed it. It's been so long since I read it -- I'd love to reread it...

Anyway, thanks for the contest! :)

Chelsea
thepageflipper@yahoo.comm

Shelly Burns said...

Fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials! I also read the Crucible, in high school. I even did a history paper on the subject. I would love a copy of this book!
shelly dot burns at cfisd dot net

lisa said...

I remember reading about this in high school. Reading about it more extensively would refresh my memory. Please enter me in the contest!

Thank you!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Shelly Burns said...

I posted about your giveaway here:
http://writeforareader.edublogs.org/2008/10/13/very-hairy-bear/

Shana @ Literarily said...

Amy, no need to enter me, but this book does sound AMAZING! I think the only book I've ever read about the Salem witch trials is The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent, which was very, very good.

Kristina said...

I was fascinated about the witch trials in high school for about a month after we read The Crucible! I would love to win this!
luckistarr4 AT gmail DOT com

darbyscloset said...

Hi Amy,
Eeee, this book sounds goood!!! My favorite to date would have to be "The Crucible". Yet I am so very anxious to read "The Heretic's Daughter" and it may become my favorite....yet the crucible certaintly did leave an impression on my young mind!
Thanks!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Lindsey said...

This book looks so good! Please enter me in the giveaway!

Lindsey
ladyufshalott at yahoo.com

Jackie B. said...

Since I love Robin Cook, I am going with Acceptable Risk.

geebee said...

I'd love to read THE SHAPE OF MERCY --I think the Salem witch trials is a fascinating part of American history. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I've read a lot about it, but I think THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER by Kathleen Kent has to be my favorite. The characters will stay with me for a long time.
geebee.reads@gmail.com

Carole said...

This is not a subject I've wanted to read about or see in movies, so my choice would be a play that I actually saw in Salem, MA while visiting that city. It was well acted and told the whole story - and there was something almost "haunting" about seeing it in Salem. We spent a day touring the city, and I was very glad to leave!

I know that Susan's treatment of this horrible event in our history would be excellent. Thank you for the giveaway.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Carol said...

I'd love to read THE SHAPE OF MERCY. I've never read about the Salem witch trials. I would like to! The Heretic's Daughter is another book I would like to read.
mittens0831 AT aol DOT com

Alyce said...

I'll admit it, I haven't read a Salem witch trial book. I own Heretic's Daughter but haven't read it yet, so I can't state a real favorite. I would love to be entered to win this book though.

akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

Ruth said...

I'd like to win the book. I read The Witch of Blackbird Pond; I think it was about that time/place (but it was a long time ago)

Ruth
ruthjoec at aol dot com

mamakane said...

I haven't read any books recently about the Salem Witch Trials, but I want to check into some that have been listed here. Especially the Robin Cook book. Please include me in the drawing for The Shape of Mercy. I know I would enjoy reading it since it is by Susan Meissner, a favorite author of mine. mamakane at yahoo dot com

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

Let me in, let me in! Must read! ;)

Nancy said...

I'll admit it - I've never read or seen The Crucible! I know, *gasp* I didn't have to read it in school. I should add it to the TBR list under "classics."

So, the only book I've read that relates to witch trials is The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow, which isn't specifically about Salem but it's definitely about witch trials.

ntalanATgmailDOTcom

Lenore said...

Oh yeah! Wish list time!

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