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Mercy Snow: A Novel Hardcover – January 14, 2014
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
A school bus accident causes the people in this small community not to join together but to gossip and sling accusations. In other words act as they usually do. This was such a sad scenario.
The author is skilled at portraying a bitter cold winter in a small town whose main industry is a paper mill slowly losing business.
I found several of the characters, Mercy, Harriet and Hannah to be the most interesting although 2 dimensional. June and Cal had important interactions but were not very likeable.
Two problems I had with the book was that the ambiance and descriptions kept making me think this was the early 1900’s or so and it was hard to orient myself. The second problem was that for pages the story never went anywhere and there is no mystery or suspense so while the characters go on with their days the storyline doesn’t move forward. Everything is wrapped up in the end but it wasn’t very fulfilling.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I went back and forth with this one, all the time never loving it. If you like a small-town/country novel with a mediocre sense of mystery, then this novel is for you ... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Zippee
This is a book from my book club, but I intend to buy one for my own library. It's one of the best I've ever read. The writing is lyrical, and the story is gripping. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JoAnna
This book retells the story of the classic Antigone myth (for those unfamiliar, the daughter of Oedipus), but you don't have to know anything about that to appreciate this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alexander Dolan
This was a super fun read but I truly just enjoyed the characters in this story. Each of them finding strength and purpose against unique odds. Great storytelling too.Published 3 months ago by Amy K Rohlfs
I once spent a week vacation in the Berlin area of NH. My son was dating a girl from the area and we were going to meet her parents. Read morePublished 3 months ago by suburban gal
There's something about a suspense novel set in the winter, when the season itself becomes a character, adding another delicious layer of tension to the story. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Book of Secrets
Gritty, engrossing novel... Surprising twists complete the story... A good read'Published 8 months ago by Christine E. Norris
My heart ached for Mercy, in her struggles with poverty and her fight to prove her brothers innocence. Read morePublished 8 months ago by amykay