Book Review: The Shape of Mercy

Guest Blogger, Laurie Borden reviews The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

I enjoyed this book.  It definitely held my attention and kept my interest with interesting twists of the plot, which kept me turning the pages.  Throughout the book, the author dropped little hints in a subtle way so as TSoM_bookcovernot to ruin the storyline, but still keep you wondering what the twist was going to be.  Some authors give such huge clues that it gives away what the twist is going to be.  At least for me, that was not the case in this book.  Each time a new twist was revealed, I was surprised.

The book contains three separate story lines, which actually have much in common, as the author develops throughout the book.   Sometimes when I read books that switch back and forth between story lines, I am confused which is which, but in this book, the author followed a set pattern of introducing the one storyline in italicized type and diary format at the beginning of a new chapter.  Then, she switched to regular font and format for the other stories.  This was very helpful and I did not find that I had any difficulty keeping the stories separated. 

I did particularly take note that since this story was written in the first person point of view of only one of the characters, we could only view the story from her perspective.  Consequently, we were given insight into her thoughts, but not the thoughts of the other characters.  As I read, I certainly found myself wishing I had some insight into the character’s thoughts, as I am sure the author intended for me to wish.  Developing the story in this fashion allowed the reader to understand how the main character, Lauren, was feeling as she worked her way through the story.  We were left wondering about others’ thoughts, motives, and intentions along with her. 

I appreciated the moral theme of the book, which was evident in all three story lines and obviously in the end as the author brings it all together.  One of the main characters’ names is Mercy, thus the title, but that is also a play on words, because the “shape of mercy” in her relationships is actually what the main character is realizing throughout the storyline.  Also, the book is based on true historical events, so if one enjoys that type of reading, this book gives a fresh perspective on a well-known event in history.

Altogether I found the book to be wholesome, educational, and enjoyable reading with a little romance thrown into the mix of the rest of the plot.

Expected to gracefully embrace a life of privilege, a young woman cuts the purse strings that bind her to plot a new life course.  But startling self-realization challenges everything she knows as she begins to study the tragic life of a seventeenth-century victim of the Salem witch trials.

Author Bio:
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.  Find out more about her at

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