April 28, 2014

Traces of Mercy, A Novel, by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley

Though I am not typically a reader of historical fiction, Traces of Mercy grabbed me from the first page and kept me intrigued to the last (and beyond). Familiar with their previous work on the Janette Oke "Love Comes Softly" films, and because of their work on Hallmark Channel’s phenomenal new TV series "When Calls The Heart," I expected a book by Michael Landon Jr and Cindy Kelley to be a heart-tugging, faith-friendly drama full of compelling characters. I was not disappointed.

Traces of Mercy begins with a gripping scene that sets a tone for the rest of the book—one of faith, love, fierce loyalty, riveting conflict, and one of the most breathtaking displays of mercy I’ve ever seen or read.

A beginning full of twists soon delivers an intriguing heroine who can’t remember who she is. Between wanting to know why she was found wearing men’s clothing, and hoping her mysterious past would not to interfere with her new-found joy, Mercy’s finds herself living her own personal “Civil War.” She must discover her identity and past without the help of memories, a name, or anyone who knows her. But with time, Mercy isn’t sure she wants to know who she was. 

This well-written story flows like an action/adventure/romance film filled with a cast of well-rounded, compelling characters including a wise, big-hearted nun and a fiercely loyal servant boy.

Set against the backdrop of post-Civil War St. Louis, we feel the aftermath and sad irony that a “civilized society just came through a bloody war [simply] because a way of life was threatened.” The lingering national unrest and mistrust sets the background for this story as Mercy seeks the answers she needs and the love she dares to hope for.

This heart-tugging story is part of an ongoing story, the first in a series. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in the Mercy Medallion series!

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I've published five novels and 2 novellas (more about those on my website.) I've been writing all my life, but decided in 2007 to get serious about being published.

I love action movies and Jane Austen. (she’s dead, I know. I found that out when I tried to get her to endorse my novel)

They let me play Bass guitar and sing in a worship band.

I can produce 4 dozen homemade cinnamon rolls in a flash for a crowd of drooling young adults. Or publishing house editors.

I used to have a Harley. Now we have six (going on seven) grandkiddos. Decent trade, really.

I am a proud Grammy. Don't even think about taking candy from my babies.

I hate shopping (Yes, I'm aware that I'm a girl)

I've lived in Oregon all my life, spent time in Eugene (Go DUCKS!), Springfield, Reedsport, and Smith River. Which is not really a town, but a river, about 70 miles long, a tributary of the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon.

Although it's not a town, it is a community with a strong sense of pioneer history. It's cool to say you've lived there, especially if you lived there during the days when you had to take a boat to school. No joke! The old farmhouse my grandfather and my mother grew up in still stands, nestled into a narrow, pasture carpeted valley, complete with a swimmin' hole and its own 'crick'. It may turn up in one of my novels.

There's a rumor that my ancestors had a connection with the Mafia back in Sicily. I used to fantasize as a kid about a big black limo with tinted windows pulling up and whisking me away from school. Ahhh. So THAT'S why I'm having so much trouble conjugating my dangling participles now.

NOT RANDOM: I am challenged by the truth and amazed by the grace of God. And it's either in spite of or because of that grace that I hold a PhD in Learning Stuff the Hard Way.