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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Novel About Mercy
House of Mercy follows twenty-two year-old, Beth Borzoi through the trials of a lawsuit, a death, and a divided family. When the existence of the Blazing B--the Borzoi ranch that has been around for generations--is in danger, Beth decides to go on a journey through the mountains on horseback to find a grandpa she never knew. And if she didn't seem desperate enough, she...
Published on August 6, 2012 by Evan Morgan

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak ending and some characters mar otherwise decent writing
Beth is a young woman with a dream of becoming a vet. She has a love of animals, and as she works with injured animals, she begins to wonder if she has a gift of healing. Being a vet would allow her to work at her parent's ranch in a role that she would enjoy. However, in an attempt to help a nearby family, Beth causes a terrible accident. The consequences of her...
Published on September 3, 2012 by Jonathon D. Burns


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Novel About Mercy, August 6, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
House of Mercy follows twenty-two year-old, Beth Borzoi through the trials of a lawsuit, a death, and a divided family. When the existence of the Blazing B--the Borzoi ranch that has been around for generations--is in danger, Beth decides to go on a journey through the mountains on horseback to find a grandpa she never knew. And if she didn't seem desperate enough, she follows a wolf that may or may not be real.
This book is gripping and emotionally impactful. Readers will find themselves sympathizing with Beth as she learns about mercy and faces all the trials that come her way. They will also find themselves hating and even sympathizing with the book's antagonist. Healy has created a person who you hate to love, yet there is something about them that I am sure all of us can identify with. That is what makes this character so emotionally impactful as well. Are we willing to get lost in trying to gain the love, attention, and approval of those around us?
As with her past three solo novels, Healy has proved that she is a master at imagery. She describes the settings so well to the point where we can see it in our heads, and feel the sun caressing our faces as it rises. Instead of shooting facts at the reader about what she wants them to see, Healy weaves it into beautiful prose.
House of Mercy is a novel for readers who want more than just an entertaining story--which is definitely is. But the strength of the book is in its lesson; and if that is the kind of book you want to read, then go to your local bookstore and buy yourself a copy, and some more for your friends.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars House of Mercy, September 16, 2012
By 
Fitzysmom (Ozark Mountains, Missouri) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
Have you ever done something on impulse that wound up having repercussions that extend far beyond what you could have ever imagined? Have you ever struggled with how to undo what has already been done?

That is exactly the spot we find our lead character in when we meet her. She makes a decision against her better judgment that begins a downward spiral not only for herself but for those that she loves the most.

At one time if you would have asked me if I liked speculative fiction I would have said no...but then along came Erin Healy. This woman has such talent. She takes the seemingly implausible and turns it into something completely believable. I continually ask myself how she comes up with this stuff while I'm reading her work.

In House of Mercy, Erin gives us a peak at where the idea for this book came from. In the back of the book under the author's note section she shares about an extremely difficult time in her life. During a conversation with God, she felt like He was asking her, "Do you believe I'm good even when I don't give you what you think you need?" And that is where the storyline was born.

Throughout the story Beth calls out for God to have mercy. God continually tells her that He will show her mercy. But He also reminds her that His mercy doesn't exist because of who Beth is. It exists because of Who God is.

Towards the end of the book the message of mercy was so powerful that I literally had to put the book down and spend a moment of private praise and worship. You can't help but examine the mercy that has been shown to you in your life.

Five stars, two thumbs up, and all of that! Go get this book...you will not regret it!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure into a realm more real than the one we see., November 23, 2012
By 
Crease in the Page (Hills of Northern California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
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Wow! I had almost accepted that whenever I read a Christian book I will be reading a bland story of someone finding emotional healing with some help from a nice God. But this book rings more true with my personal experience of God--not just nice. God does what he will do, and to learn to follow him is to learn to trust not in God's blessings, but in God himself. The emotional healing we get from the real God is not a healing that allows us to live comfortably in this world, but rather a healing that allows us to be done with ourselves, dwelling in a higher kingdom while the physical world around us is always shifting. Thank you, Erin Healy, for sharing this transcendent truth in a captivating narrative.

Beth's world is quickly changing, falling apart around her, and a seemingly little crime she committed was the catalyst for all the catastrophes. But a mysterious creature with godlike qualities keeps intervening and offering Beth mercy; mercy that doesn't feel like mercy at all. And in the midst of it all, Beth begins to suspect that she has a supernatural gift.

Healy has a wonderful way with words, beautiful descriptions of the Colorado setting. The characters are not very dynamic, but plenty well-developed for the suspense genre--readers will identify with Beth. The story development is fast-paced and enthralling. I rarely find a book that keeps me up reading until all hours of the morning, but this one did.

I loved the conclusion; Healy wraps up just enough loose ends to warm a reader's heart, but leaves enough loose ends to make the book like real-life--who knows what will happen next.

I'm so thankful to have found a Christian author who is a great storyteller and also has a real understanding of a huge God.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak ending and some characters mar otherwise decent writing, September 3, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
Beth is a young woman with a dream of becoming a vet. She has a love of animals, and as she works with injured animals, she begins to wonder if she has a gift of healing. Being a vet would allow her to work at her parent's ranch in a role that she would enjoy. However, in an attempt to help a nearby family, Beth causes a terrible accident. The consequences of her actions are more than her family can afford to pay. To save the ranch and atone for her mistake, Beth must find her grandfather, who she didn't even know was alive. Her guide: a wolf, which might not even be real.

House of Mercy is Erin Healy's fourth solo novel, and the third I have read. She also co-authored two books with Ted Dekker, Kiss and Burn. Once again, Healy brings some supernatural elements to her writing, though they appear much more subdued this time, most of the time being completely absent.

When I read Kiss, the first book Healy had worked on with Ted Dekker, I could feel a difference in the writing. While the story felt Dekker-ish, there seemed to be a smoothness to the writing that most Dekker books didn't have. When I started ready Healy's solo novels, I noticed this continue, even through House of Mercy. She can write fast paced stories while bringing a softer tone than what Dekker does.

The story itself was interesting, and generally kept my attention. I naturally gravitate towards thrillers and other stories with lots of action. I still enjoy a good dramatic tale though, as long as it has strong characters. Within House of Mercy I found a mish-mash of characters. Some of them, such as Beth and her father felt solid. However, other characters seemed light on characterization. Both the primary and secondary antagonist felt forced. Backstory was awkwardly delivered through memories or exposition. Beth's brother, who I consider the secondary antagonist, was particularly weak. His personality seemed like he was created to just be mean and rude, but I never got a good sense of him. Why was he the way he was? It felt like the story needed someone to get in Beth's way and the brother was the most convenient choice.

It was the end, however, that really got to me. Perhaps I missed something, but the story seemed completely unresolved. I can't say too much without spoiling the story, but the ending was quite disappointing. While there is closure in regards to the character relationships, there is no closure to the over-arching plot. The inciting incident, which sent Beth on her journey, was not fully addressed. Perhaps there will be a sequel, but I don't really see how that will work either.
While I enjoy Healy's writing style, the weak characterization of the antagonists and the poor ending made me disappointed in House of Mercy.

2/5 stars

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't wait for it to end (and not in a good way), December 21, 2012
By 
Sheepla (North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
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I'm really stunned by all of these 4 and 5 star reviews. I thought this book was bordering on terrible. There were so many things wrong with it that I hardly know where to begin. Agree with others that say there were too many characters to keep straight, many of whom contributed nothing to the plot and therefore were simply superfluous. In the first chapter, Beth, the main character, steals a saddle and rides a valuable horse that doesn't belong to her in the middle of the night. Maybe if there had been some character development up until that point, the reader might care a little what happened to her, but as written, I wasn't even slightly sympathetic to her plight. She is supposedly this great animal healer but the only animal healing she does is hose off a overheated horse. Um...

The reader is then supposed to believe that a multi-million dollar lawsuit makes it to court within just weeks. Don't even get me started on how little the author knows about litigation or collecting judgments.

At the same time, there was a parallel story running with Garner and Cat which was at least slightly more interesting than the Beth story, but again with too many superfluous characters.

I didn't mind the mystic surreal parts of this book though I didn't find them particularly compelling. It was the poor writing and story development that made me glad when it was over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had trouble keeping up with all the characters, December 15, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
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If I had not had such a frustrating, tooth grinding time with all the characters and all the twists and turns this story took, I might have given it 4 stars. It was emotional, and inspiring but I really had to work to get it out of it. It was not a quick read, that ends so fast ou don't realize the hours have passed and it is over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and bizarre, October 30, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
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I found "House of Mercy" to be a difficult read. I didn't like any of the characters at all. The plot is very slow and has very little suspense. One disaster piles on top of another, and the resolution at the end leaves the key issue (how will the hero pay the huge court fine) completely untouched. I forced myself to read all the way through, but it was a huge waste of my time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Theme, But the Characters Don't Live up to the Challenge, October 11, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
Beth Borzoi makes a mistake. She tries to help her friends get enough money to pay a vet to save their horse's eye by stealing a show saddle from one of the ranch hands. They decide to reward her by allowing her to ride a champion racehorse they don't own at night in a dark field. All goes well until a gray wolf attacks the horse. As a result of the attack, the horse has to be put down. The owner brings a lawsuit which threatens to ruin the Borzoi's and take their ranch. Beth prays for a miracle, but although she can apparently heal animals, her prayers seem less successful when trying to save her family.

The theme of this book is excellent. God does listen, but he chooses how he will respond to our prayers. Sometimes the miracles that happen aren't what we expect, and we find them difficult to understand and deal with. The is an excellent message. However, I found the characters poorly conceived to carry off the strength of the theme. Beth is twenty-two years old. She's lived on a ranch all her life, is an excellent horse woman, and wants to become a vet. The idea that someone with this background would leap on a strange racehorse in the dead of night in a field she is unfamiliar with is not only strange, it's unbelievable. On top of that, I found it amazing that she would steal a saddle and give it to some supposed friends who haven't been taking care of their horse the way they should have. Throughout the book, I found this unbelievable quality in the characters. Rose, Beth's mother, seems to be unusually harsh not only with her daughter, but in the way she treated her father. Some of the minor characters, like Wally who loves to dig holes, were delightful, but the main characters simply didn't ring true.

I found the book hard to enjoy because the characters were so jarring in relation to an excellent message. I also felt that the book left too many things up in the air at the end, possibly because the author had no good way to tie up the threads of the plot. To avoid spoilers, I won't go into specifics, but everything seems to turn out well for Beth while leaving the main issue of how the family would save the ranch completely up in the air. I can recommend the book for it's message, but the poorly drawn characters detract from it.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercy Shows Itself in a Unique Way, October 10, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
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"How? I can't control this gift.

The answer was whispered into her heart with a voice so full of love that it could do no wounding. My mercy doesn't exist because of who you are, but because of who I am.

Then why do you need me to do it?"

Beth Borzoi is the daughter of a fifth generation Colorado rancher and wants to be a vet. But a choice to take a midnight ride on a thoroughbred horse that ends in death for the horse puts the future of the ranch and Beth's family at stake.

How will she, and her family, and their ranch, survive? Where is mercy, God's mercy in all of this?

In Erin Healy's newest novel, House of Mercy, we follow the falling apart, and the coming together of Borzoi family in the rugged beauty of southern Colorado. Published by Thomas Nelson, House of Mercy is a story about secrets, conflict, pain, hope, loss, death and ultimately, mercy.

Written in a narrative style that flows back and forth between first person and third person narrative, Healy weaves a story about the tremendous loss one can experience when a choice that turns fatal takes place. And just when you think that nothing good is coming down the road for Beth and her family her gift of healing is put to use toward a person who nearly tries to kill her and her grandfather.

But it is also about unresolved conflict and un-addressed loss.

Beth's choice threatens her family with the loss of their beloved ranch. But there are other losses too, the loss of trust between Beth and her brother Levi, and the loss of trust within herself. And yet along the way in a very mysterious fashion, the opportunity to be shown mercy through a unique animal who truly shows anything but mercy is presented to Beth forcing her to choice either to trust in this mercy or reject it.

In the end, with the future still uncertain, a healing mercy takes root in Beth and various members of her family. One that many, if not most readers, can relate to.

I liked this book because of the various twists and turns Healy takes as the plot unfolds and truly then thickens as one story line intertwines with another story line.

I rate this book a 'great' read

Note: I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine review program in exchange for a review of it. I was not required to write a positive review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed: House of Mercy, October 4, 2012
This review is from: House of Mercy (Paperback)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've read Erin Healy's previous novels and enjoyed them. As I began this review, I searched for adequate words to describe her writing style. I settled on two words, vivid and elegant.

In Erin Healy's newest novel, House of Mercy, the author uses vivid imagery and elegant descriptive style to explore attempts to understand events where we truly want to do what is right in the face of devastating events but some consequences cannot avoided.

This story is about a young woman named Beth who makes a bad choice and then another as she attempts to help a friend. The consequence of these choices, even though her motives were pure, is a lawsuit that may cost her family's ranch.

Beth bears the guilt of this and prays for mercy from God. When her father dies, Beth sets out in search of her grandfather. Beth has the gift of healing but is puzzled when she cannot command the gift at will. She could not heal her father. If she cannot use this gift, why does she have it?

Questions, lots of questions. Still, Beth prays for mercy and receives an answer that mercy will come, but not in the way she expects. It's in the midst of all this turmoil, both legally and within her family, that Beth is forced to trust.

A truly enjoyable read. If you are looking for a book that explores the mystery of what mercy truly is, pick this one up.

Reviewed by: Keiki Hendrix
Reviewed for: The Vessel Project
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House of Mercy
House of Mercy by Erin Healy (Paperback - August 7, 2012)
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