The Shape of Mercy is a rare and enjoyable combination: a book that is both warmly familiar and enticingly fresh. It is one of my new favorites.
*
The story begins with Lauren Durough, who has left a life of privilege to attend a state school and live in campus housing. Lauren answers a job post to help elderly librarian Abigail Boyles transcribe a family treasure – a 300-year-old diary written by Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.
*
The book intertwines the contemporary and historical stories. Author Susan Meissner deftly shifts between the stories, giving the focus just where you want. At first, Mercy’s story is much more intriguing. The journal accounts of the Puritan colonies brought me back to The Witch of Blackbird Pond – a book I haven’t read since middle school, when I loved it so much I read it several times over.

*
Lauren’s relationship with her parents is strained by her guilt over their affluence. She enjoys losing herself in Mercy’s life, which unfolds throughout the book. But just as Mercy’s story is ending, Lauren’s takes off and walking the journey with her is thrilling and enlightening. Lauren discovers Abigail may be keeping her own secrets; she can’t figure out her cousin’s friend Raul; and most of all, she discovered who she could be in the shape of Mercy. An oh-so-subtle theme emerges to make the story linger long in your mind.
*
This book is perfect for adult readers, but would also be appropriate for young adult and middle school audiences. I got it when it was offered free on Kindle. It’s now priced at $9.29.
*
Click here to purchase The Shape of Mercy