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review 2017-11-02 04:17
A Tangled Mercy
A Tangled Mercy: A Novel - Joy Jordan-Lake

By: Joy Jordan-Lake 

ASIN: B01M7XPCYE

Publisher: Lake Union 

Publication Date: 11/1/2017 

Format: Kindle

My Rating: 5 Stars 

 

A TANGLED MERCY by Joy Jordan-Lake interweaves the painful stories of two different time periods and two different sets of characters. A captivating tale. A place of contrasts. Pain and beauty. A city both vulnerable and resilient. 

A hauntingly beautiful story of dual-timelines— a moving Southern tale: 1822 dark family secrets of slavery, and present-day Charleston, SC. From the Denmark Vesey slave revolt, and those who courageously fought for freedom. 

The strong and courageous characters who stood out to take a stand against slavery to the more recent tragic shooting at Emanuel AME in Charleston —of rage, injustice, discrimination, and violence. 

“A time for every season, you know —a time to mourn and a time to dance. Only here in the Low Country, we sometimes do both at the same time.”

Kate Drayton’s mother has passed and as a struggling Harvard grad student in New England, she decides to return to Charleston, SC — the place where her parents met. There are unanswered questions plus she needs to salvage her career in academia using her mom’s research.

Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites after horror and outrage. 

A well-researched meticulous blending of fact and fiction, the author eloquently outlines why this story is so important to her. Her passion shines through each word on the page. It is critical to be tuned into how the “past bleeds through the present at every corner.” 

As the author reiterates, it is her hope that this story of tragedy, brutality, beauty, and courage across two hundred years might be a least a small part of a conversation to have between our races. 

Where not talking is also dangerous. “Make some noise” on behalf of those whose voices aren’t being heard. Promote respectful conversations.

I appreciate the author’s specific notes how she loved American history and the South. I can envision her packing up her eight-month daughter and her adventurous husband and driving to Charleston where she fell in love with the city. There was a story to be told. And back again later with three children and a husband to finish her work. 

Engrossing! It is important to show the historical characters have changed the course of American history and why their message still matters today, particularly in a cultural moment in which people of common goodwill but different racial, ethnic and political backgrounds and perspectives are trying to be heard, and understood while attempting to move forward together. 

Astounding, the author began this journey some twenty years ago; however, rings true today in our complex world of understanding people, their roots, their past, and their hearts. 

 



As a reader, I find these components of fact and fiction make for a powerful and insightful read. The reason I myself find historical fiction so fascinating, you have a foundation of real people, vivid places, and experiences rich in history and character. 

The skill of the author is to be able to put themselves in the minds and hearts of their characters —portray which could have happened or their most intimate thoughts. Feel what they are feeling. 

Joy-Jordan Lake and her words will empower you. You cannot read this tale and not be moved in some way. A story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption. (have you read her bio)? Highly impressive. 

If you have grown up or spent time in the Low Country, you may know of its historical architecture, beauty, and charm today. 

However, as depicted in the novel, beneath the façade, there has been a turbulent history. Darkness and ugliness in contrast to the beauty. Even today in our world and cultural climate of today, we see the pain of racial injustice and a world of violence. We cannot read any news feed without devastation. 

As the author mentions her intent is not only to tell a story worth reading (which she does masterfully); but equally and more importantly to honor the memory of those in the nineteenth and twenty-first-century Charleston who have set an example of courage, conviction, and a spirit of love far stronger than hate. They need a voice. 

From outrage, pain, and horror to love, unity, forgiveness, and strength. A poignant and inspiring story of how people come together, even in their darkest hours. Crossing lines of race, income, social class, and religion. Seeking justice.

I loved the author’s reference to a foundation from a portion of the proceeds of the novel to go towards serving the families of victims, administered by Mother Emanuel.

Beyond the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, their lives redemption, freedom, and forgiveness. 

A highly recommended choice for book clubs and further discussions (Reading Group Questions Included). 

For fans of well-researched historical and Southern fiction and readers who enjoy Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Charles Martin, Karen White, Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner. (all favorites of mine). 

My first book by the author, and look forward to reading more (and her backlist of those I missed) from this talented and gifted writer! My Top Books of 2017 and my featured Top 20 Books for Nov. 

JDCMustReadBooks 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/10/04/Tangled-Mercy
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review 2017-09-26 19:26
Out Nov 1, 2017
A Tangled Web: Mata Hari: Dancer, Courtesan, Spy - Mary W. Craig

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

 

                Perhaps the first thing one learns about Mara Hari is that she was dancer and a slut.  Then, perhaps one learns she was a slut because she danced naked and slept with a great many men.  Then one hears that she was spy and was shot for it.  But the important thing that one is told is that she was very, very sexy.  In fact, she seems to be the spy that gets remembered not so much because of the doubt of her guilt, but because she was a sexpot.

 

                She also wasn’t a very good spy.  She got caught after all.

 

                Mary W. Craig’s new book tries to present a more nuanced picture of Mata Hari, or at least as much as one can giving the problem of sources.

 

                Margrethe Zell was born in the Netherlands, where she lived until her marriage took her to the Dutch East Indies.  Her early life, Craig points out, was nice until her father suffered a major loss in business.  What then followed as an unclear life plan and, what today, we would consider at the very least statutory rape – an affair with an instructor.   Craig’s details about Hari’s early life -  her struggles after the family bankruptcy and her time spent with relatives are related in a matter of a fact way.  There is pity in Craig’s writing, but Craig isn’t turning the biography into a more sinned against than sinning story.  Hari isn’t portrayed as a victim, but as a woman who took control of her life.

 

                Or if she is, she is doing it by taking a brutally honest about Mata Hari.

 

                Nowhere is this more obviously in the discussion of Zell’s marriage with MacLeod.  It is a marriage that produced two children, possibly infected Zell with an STD, and was abusive.  While not excusing MacLeod’s behavior, Craig also places the man in context, in particular with his treatment of Hari after separation and divorce, noting that MacLeod’s actions had more to do with protecting his daughter than anything else.

 

                Hari was no saint, and in addition to her sexual activities (less shocking today than when Hari lived), Craig does closely examine and places Hari’s dancing in the times.  The discussion of whether Hari was lying or promoting a fantasy with her “Eastern” dancing.  How much of her dancing was imply an illusion that everyone brought into, like the body stocking she wore?  Craig can’t give a definite answer but she does truly address the issue, even reading books about Hari that were published during the height of her popularity.

 

                Craig, in part, is hampered by the self-serving purpose of some her sources (and she is clear about this) as well as a lack of sources.  Yet, despite these drawbacks, Craig does paint an interesting, more revealing portrait of a woman who is usually known simply for sex.

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review 2017-09-15 19:36
Tangled in Time, (Miss Main Street Book 1) - Angela Castillo,Angela Castillo

Tangled in Time, (Miss Main Street Book 1) by Angela Castillo
This book starts with Darcy as she arrived from LA after being notified she's her grandmothers beneficiary of her shop and everything in TX.
Kaley owned the bakery next door and was great friends with her gran. Darcy will take over where her gran left off and not sell it she'll run it herself.
She's not in a good space with her boyfriend, Jared in LA and he dictates where they go, what she will wear, etc. She's had it with him and prays to God to advise her.
Kaley next door also has man problems as she overhears a conversation. She hopes to comfort her.
Ramsey has stopped by, a boy from school and the neighborhood and he invites her to visit his parents for a meal soon.
Love mystery of the secret room as she get advice from contractors to come to the shop.
Love how the community shop owners welcome her to the area and are able to give her suggestions on how to be a hit.
Handmade items-traditional. Yorefest-I can just imagine people from 1860's showing their trades.
Like how she handles her ex and father showing up and also the new man in her life. Darcy has many episodes of remembering her grandmother and things she'd do, precious but heartbreaking at the same time.
Someone is out to get her and her business as they turn her shop to the inspectors. She wonders if the underground railroad is part of her secret room as the inspector notices some discrepancies.
Few characters and it's easy to keep track of them all. Love how the mysteries are solved and the outcome.
She prays to God often to help guide her. You wonder how she will survive on her own and without her grandmother but lots of help from others in the community. Excerpt from the next book in this series is included at the end.
Received a review copy of this book via Story Cartel and this is my honest review.

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review 2017-07-16 14:41
An unusual private investigator
TANGLED TRUTH: a gripping private investigator murder mystery - Diane M Dickson A fine novel by Diane Dickson. After serving time for a crime he did not commit, Simon Fulton exonerates himself and finds the real culprits. Subsequently he is called upon to help someone else in a similar situation. So begins his career as a private eye, but not one free from danger as it turns out. Unwilling to go to the police, he soon finds himself compromised with few places to turn.
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review 2017-07-01 01:54
TANGLED UP IN BREW by Joyce Tremel
Tangled Up in Brew - Joyce Tremel
  Max and Jake are in a brew and burger contest at the local beer festival. One of the judges is murdered and Jake is suspected. Max looks for clues as does her dad.

I did not figure it out until it was explained at the end. The story was good. I love the references to the different Pittsburgh neighborhoods. I enjoy these characters and look forward to reading more of them
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