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Mercy Snow: A Novel Hardcover – January 14, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455512737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455512737
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In her captivating third novel (after The Gilly Salt Sisters, 2012), Baker vividly renders the small town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, and its denizens. The tiny burg has long been dominated by the fortunes of the paper mill that is its only industry and inundated by the stink of the Androscoggin River, which carries the factory runoff. At one end of the spectrum lies June McAllister, the well-off mill owner’s wife, who doggedly devotes herself to charitable causes, seeking to make her mark on the town for the sake of appearances. On the other end of town is orphan Mercy Snow and her two siblings. They have recently inherited the run-down property of their uncle and are grateful for it. When the locals, led by June, attempt to pin the blame for a school-bus accident on Mercy’s brother, she proves herself an adept advocate for his innocence and for their need to finally be able to call someplace home. Melding a rich atmosphere with vulnerable characters and an engrossing plot, Baker once again proves herself to be a first-rate storyteller. --Joanne Wilkinson


"Strength and quiet beauty mark Baker's writing. . . . Her style perfectly suits the mood, time and place of this tale. Though it tells an old story that extends back at least to Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," MERCY SNOW provides an authentic universe of damaged souls and a fantastical heroine."—Anita Shreve, Washington Post

"Tiffany Baker's raw and powerful writing almost reads like a screenplay in its simplicity, suspense and dialogue that jumps off the page...The town, the woods, the river, the blood of humans and beasts: they're all characters in Baker's novel, as important as any of its living women. That's what makes her writing so gripping. It's an experience that haunts long after the final page has been turned."—Toronto Star

"Tiffany Baker excels at creating offbeat characters with big hearts who live in difficult circumstances. Nineteen-year-old Mercy is unforgettable as she ekes out a living in the harshest of circumstances while caring for a young sister and battling the town's wrath. This third great novel, following "The Little Giant of Aberdeen County" and "The Gilly Salt Sisters," clinches Baker's place on the "must-read" list."—Judy Romanowich Smith, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"As the families' secrets come pouring out, Baker deftly balances personal grievances with broader concerns about pollution, economic justice and corporate responsibility in small-town America."—San Jose Mercury News

"Baker is masterful at creating elegantly flawed characters who are both believably ordinary and extraordinary."—Family Circle

"Appealing. . . Baker has managed to carve out her own niche in this rocky North Woods terrain, largely due to her deeply flawed but likable characters."—Kirkus Reviews

"Mercy Snow . . . limn[s] tensions between two disparate families in Titan Falls, NH, while adding the dark, gothic feel of a decades-old mystery."—Library Journal

"I was completely swept away in this gothic tale of three women linked by secrets, some long buried, some far more recent. From the opening scene to the final page, Tiffany Baker kept me entranced in a novel so richly atmospheric that when I closed the cover, I was sure I could smell the paper mill on my clothes and hair, and hear the churn of the filthy Androscoggin River outside my door. Mercy Snow is a testament to the dark power of secrets; a power that can bind us together, or drive us apart."—Jennifer McMahon, author of The One I Left Behind and Island of Lost Girls

"Hauntingly beautiful, wrapped in a lush, cold atmosphere, Mercy Snow is a ghostly, magical, psychological tale of redemption and, yes, mercy. I was spellbound. Tiffany Baker spirits us away."—Sarah Addison Allen, author of The Peach Keeper

Customer Reviews

The characters were very well developed.
Maybe it is me, maybe I become too invested in the characters, but by the end of the book, I find myself depressed.
The ending is very well done, and it was another of the book's big surprises.
Nathan Webster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on January 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Titan Falls is a town worthy of a Stephen King novel but without the extreme creepiness. The town, and more importantly the Androscoggin River, become characters in and of themselves. In a place where the air and water are as poisonous as the attitudes, Mercy Snow and her family become embroiled in a secret wrapped in a mystery. The close-minded, close-lipped nature of the townspeople was very realistic as was the “hide your dirty laundry” beliefs of most of the characters. In a place where loyalty is often replaced by self-preservation, the deception runs as deep and pollutes as completely as the river itself. The semi-religious allusions gave the novel a darkness that permeated the characters as well. The writing was beautiful although a bit overdone at times, and I became buried in figurative language. In fact, the novel seemed to drag some, and I found myself wanting to just get on with the storyline in the middle.
June was an interesting character; however, her martyr attitude became draining and frustrating. Her need to be the town paragon made her insipid to me, and while I enjoy omniscient POV most of the time, the switching narration was a bit confusing in the beginning as were the flashbacks. At one point, there was a flashback within a flashback, and I found myself wishing for a more linear progression. However, this novel is smart and slightly dark with a driving need that matches that of the characters and will keep you reading.

3.5 stars
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leslie N. Patino on January 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Titan Falls, a small New England community, residents are distrustful of outsiders. Even with money, power and twenty years of marriage to the owner of the paper mill, non-native June McAllister knows she’s still not fully accepted. When the latest generation of Snows shows up in a ratty RV to live on the land of their estranged and deceased father, townspeople aren’t happy.

One night, a reckless driver causes a fatal accident. Just down the road, Zeke Snow’s old truck is crashed into a tree, and Zeke is nowhere to be found. What appears to be a clear crime becomes much, much more complicated, and past secrets abound.

Tiffany Baker is a talented writer who spins a complex plot as she gradually reveals the layered lives of characters who all have their share of imperfections and sins. She turns out beautifully crafted sentences that give larger meaning to simple actions. One example: “…silence fell over the room as the women took their needles, bent their heads, and began to stitch, their needles pricking, prying, and then just as quickly closing the little holes they were making in the fabric of one another’s lives.”

As I read, I wavered on the rating to give "Mercy Snow." The mystical aspects of the story reminded me of Latin American magical realism, but at times it got a little too out there for me. I anticipated some plot developments, although there were some good surprises. Finally, I couldn’t buy the ending for one character. But ultimately, I went with five stars because there is so much that I liked about the book, and when I finished the last page, I knew this was a novel that I won’t forget for a long time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By she treads softly on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Titan Falls, New Hampshire is home to the Titan Paper Mill on the banks of the Androscoggin River. The McAllister family owns the mill and most would say that they also own the town. The current McAllister's are Cal, his wife June, and their son Nate. Even though June is not from the area, Cal met her at college, she is the ruling grand dame of the town and, as a McAllister, she controls, or tries to control, the thoughts and actions of the citizens, most of whom are beholden to her husband for a job. The one exception to this has been the various members of the Snow family who have lived on a plot of land by the river for years.

When a school bus accident claims a victim and puts the bus driver in the hospital the coincidence of Zeke Snow's truck found crashed into a tree further down the road makes it clear to most that Zeke is likely the guilty party who forced the bus off the road, causing the fatal accident. Mercy and Hannah Snow, Zeke's sisters know he is innocent but it is nearly impossible to win the war of words and accusations that June has undertaken in the community. Zeke goes into hiding and his sister Mercy undertakes the nearly impossible task of clearing his name. But June has her own reasons to make sure Zeke is blamed for the accident.

Baker does an excellent job developing her characters. She describes them along with land and weather in Titan Falls with such a deft hand that they all, as well as the river, become characters in this giant-killing tale. For me Mercy Snow clearly shares more than a passing resemblance to a modern day folktale, with elements of a morality play.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Lyrical, heart wrenching, wonderfully descriptive - MERCY SNOW tells the tale of the small paper mill town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire. This is a small town with its sordid underbelly showing but it also has some positive aspects that make the story a joy to read.

The tale starts out with a tragic youth group bus accident and spirals into mysteries on top of mysteries.

Author Baker has a very real talent with character development, allowing the reader to see into the lives of many of her varied cast of misfits, reprobates and a few shining stars.

Rich, textured with a twisting plotline that contains enough surprises to keep readers on their toes, this is one of the best books I've read this year to date. Mystery, New England gothic, haunting, dark with a truly memorable protagonist, Mercy, I recommend this book highly.

I especially appreciated the epilogue and that the author gave the readers closure on the continuing lives of her characters.
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More About the Author

Tiffany Baker is the New York Times bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children, and holds a PhD in Victorian Literature and an MFA from UC-Irvine.

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