Just Okay...

Sarah Rupp

3 Stars

December 28, 2011

"You are an adult now, Krista. You can fight off your own predators. But the biggest one you face is inside you. You know that, don't you?"

Krista Mueller returns to her home in New Mexico around Christmastime to visit her dying mother who was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s twelve years ago, which was the last time she saw her mother when she admitted her to Cimarron Care Center.

She carries around the ghosts of what her mother used to be, all the bad memories and blocks out the good. She’s afraid to love and forgive.

While there, she re-meets her high school sweetheart, Dane McConnell, a doctor there, who reminds her of what it means to love with mercy and grace.

The first thing I noticed is that Mercy Come Morning has incredibly long chapters. Of 222 pages, it only has 15 chapters. I found myself often stopping in the middle of scenes due to lack of time to read instead of being able to find a good stopping point within the next few pages.

It takes a while for this book to progress. It’s about ¾ of the way through before the plot begins to go anywhere. There is way too much backstory and New Mexico history thrown at you during the first half of the book. Enter page-skimming. Because of this, I felt like I was being told a story instead of living the story as it happened to the characters. Like a huge part of the story happened before I joined.

If I weren’t reviewing this book I would have put it down and started another book before I was even halfway through. But once you get past all the history, history, and more history, a great story begins to unfold. Author Lisa Tawn Bergren weaves in the magic of Christmas with the miracle of giving second chances.

Needless to say, Dane and Krista fall in love and Krista finds reconciliation with her mother and loves her enough to let her go. Although it was a little weird for me to read a story about people falling in love who are old enough to be my parents, judging by the dates and age she was during that time, Krista would now be in her late forties (though at the end of the book I realized this story took place almost a decade ago).

I had a little trouble connecting with the actual character of Krista, she sometimes seems inconsistent in character. I was, however, able to connect with her struggle to forgive her mother; in that way she was very real.

Dane seems a bit unrealistic. Of course I would like to think there are men this perfect, Dane is a little too much. The struggle of the story is more of Krista’s internal struggle to let go and love, both her mother and Dane. The relationship struggle is between her and her mother instead of her and Dane, which is probably why this is classified as Fiction/General/Contemporary on the back cover of the book instead of Romance.

Overall, I would give this book 3 stars. Just okay. Not horrible, but not great.

Decide for yourself! Read the first Chapter here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.