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The Miracle of Mercy Land: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

River Jordan
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $13.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $6.00 (43%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

What if you had the power to amend choices you made in the past? Would you do it even if it changed everything?
 
Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930s. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensible to old Doc Philips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn—it’s the biggest news story of her life, and she can’t print a word of it.
           
Doc has come into possession of a curious book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City—decisions they’ve made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages—Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she wants to fulfill the book’s strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy’s past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves—forever.
 
“A tremendously well-written tale. River Jordan is a truly gifted author. Highly recommended.” – Davis Bunn, best-selling author


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Jordan (Saints in Limbo) writes magical realism, and the result is pure magic. The titular Mercy Land is a girl "born in a bolt of lightning on the banks of Bittersweet Creek." The talented Mercy is nudged by her Aunt Ida to leave her backwater town for the bright lights of Bay City, where she comes to work for and with Doc Philips, owner of the local paper. Doc receives a mysterious secret book that somehow narrates the lives of people in the area. From there springs the rest of the action, involving things done and not done in the past and a movie-star handsome stranger summoned to town by Doc. Jordan is an imaginative writer, developing engaging characters and strong dialog. Things get a tad heavy with allegorical meaning toward the end, but the plot trajectory helps the story's credibility. Jordan's talent raises the bar in Christian fiction.

Review

Praise for The Miracle of Mercy Land

With words spoken like a gentle angel, River Jordan takes her reader deep into the human spirit. The Miracle of Mercy Land is a story about the past, the present, and the future all at once, not only altering the hearts of the characters in the novel, but also changing the heart of the reader. A triumph of beauty.” PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY, author of Losing the Moon, When Light Breaks, and the New York Times bestseller Driftwood Summer

“A tremendouslywell-written tale. River Jordan is a truly gifted author. Highly recommended.” —DAVIS BUNN, best-selling author of Gold of Kings and coauthor of the Acts of Faith series

“River Jordan takes us on a magical journey to the banks of Bittersweet Creek where the past is revisited and broken hearts aremended. A story told with equal parts Southern charm and supernatural fantasy, this one leaves you dreaming of a world where anything is possible. Jordan has cast her spell again!” —SUSAN GREGG GILMORE, author of The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove and Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

“River Jordan’s words are so delicious that I read them aloud just so I could taste them. In The Miracle of Mercy Land, she explores destiny and will, good and evil, power and powerlessness. If you find it difficult to find a breath of literary fresh air, I assure you, you won’t be disappointed in Jordan.” —KAYA MCLAREN, author of On the Divinity of Second
Chances
and Church of the Dog

“In The Miracle of Mercy Land, River Jordan once again brings us a world filled with magic and light. Her characters walk straight off the pages and into our hearts.These are people we wish we knew, individuals with fullmeasures of courage, love, devotion, faith, loyalty, and goodness. Jordan strikes...

Product Details

  • File Size: 400 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307457052
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (September 7, 2010)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EI2EBI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,835 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, but quickly fizzled out November 1, 2010
Format:Paperback
When I first got this book for review, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I had never heard of the author before, so I had no preconception as to what sort of books she wrote, or what sort of writer she was. But when I received the email asking if I would like to review the book, I jumped at the chance because it sounded interesting. I enjoy reading books with a supernatural twist now and again.

Set in the early 1930's on the Gulf shores of Alabama, The Miracle of Mercy Land tells the tale of Mercy, a young woman who moves from the backwoods of Bittersweet Creek to the nearby town of Bay City, where she soon becomes assistant to the editor of the local paper. After a few years on the job, her editor, Doc Phillips, is given possession of a curious book. Curious, because the book tells you what would have happened in a person's life had they chosen different paths than the one they took.

Doc shares his discovery with Mercy, and together the two keep the book a secret from others, while trying to unlock the mysteries of the book. Doc apparently wants to right a wrong, and Mercy seeks to fulfill the book's purpose. Soon, however, Doc brings a new young man into town under the pretenses of him taking over as editor of the newspaper since Doc wants to retire, and nothing is as it seems.

I must say that I enjoyed reading the book in the beginning. River Jordan is a gifted writer. However, the book fizzled out for me half way through. I was left scratching my head over many things, most noteably what The Book was. She never really develops the purpose of the supernatural book, and how it "worked." We just know that it was mysterious and Doc Phillips was consumed by it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars . . . A Backbone Full of Worthy September 7, 2010
Format:Paperback
In this, River Jordan's fourth novel, she introduces us to the lazy backwaters of Southern life, but refuses to let us get cozy. Jordan's writing breathes, filling its lungs with the bitter air of experience, but exhaling in gusts of sweet mercy and grace. Her main characters have a way of doing the same.

Our protagonist this time around is Mercy Land, a young single woman from Bittersweet Creek. She is the assistant to Doc, editor-in-chief of the local paper in Bay City, and she loves the sound of the news wire in the 1930s. Mercy and Doc give the town its news and chronicle its history. They also get an unprecedented gift--or is it a curse?--with the appearance of a mystical book, one that shows the tragedies and triumphs of people's lives. It's a solemn responsibility, and Mercy and Doc hold onto the secret, wondering how best to use it.

Mercy's world is turned upside down soon after, when Doc announces his retirement and hires a man from Atlanta to oversee the newspaper. Not only are Mercy's personal ambitions waylaid, but now she is faced with an attractive man who is also a dangerous one. His past will touch hers in ways she does not suspect, and Doc's decisions will turn out to be more calculated than assumed. Even as the book's purposes become clearer, the truths about those Mercy loves become more muddied than ever. She must rise above her own fears to deal with the consequences, and at one point she tells us: "I felt a new confidence in my own skin . . . with me looking my worst but seeing my best." Only as she finds this "backbone full of worthy" does she live up to her name and her birth, discovering pain and joy in the process.

River Jordan's story sets a deep hook, then meanders a bit through Mercy's own thought processes, before reaching a stirring conclusion that is life-affirming without being trite. I love Jordan's voice throughout all her fiction, and here, once again, her storytelling conveys to us the miracle of mercy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow Down and Experience the Miracle June 22, 2012
Format:Paperback
Mercy Land is an ordinary girl from the unincorporated and mostly unrecognized community of hardy souls who live near Bittersweet Creek. They are, as Mercy puts it, "a knotty gathering of simple people" who live in a place that is "no more than a boot stomp". But all will change when Mercy heads off to the big town of Bay City.

Author River Jordan weaves a southern gothic story of discovery and mystery worthy of a title like, The Miracle of Mercy Land. Mercy moves to Bay City, Alabama in a time when innocence is about to be shattered by World War II. And there, through her association with Doc, his newspaper, and a strange book known to only the two of them, her innocence will not be allowed to wait another day.

The book is more a mystery than the mysteries it holds. In some unexplained way, it immerses Doc and Mercy in the lives of the people of Bay City who depend on Doc for news of the town and beyond. Each time one of them opens the book, they find themselves pulled along the pathways of other people's "should have beens" and "maybe wills".

Before long Mercy realizes, as a good a man as Doc is, he is using the book for a mostly noble yet somewhat selfish purpose. An oddly familiar yet too perfect man shows up in town, called there by Doc, for reasons Mercy can't understand. Though attracted to the man she is also untrusting and fearful of him. His presence is both what is right about the peaceful town of Bay City and what is wrong.

Characters and setting are River Jordan's strengths in this story that is labeled magical realism by some. Mercy's Aunt Ida is her north star, always reminding her of who she is and the stuff of which she's made.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that continually moves and characters that continue to develop
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The best word I can use to describe this is movement, change. Beginning with the title actually meaning something different than expected, the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by KFDP
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing!
This was quite an entertaining novel! I would recommend it to anyone who ponders the spiritual mysteries of life. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Luanne
2.0 out of 5 stars Have Mercy on Me
"The greatest story ever written" did not fall into my hands with this one.

I received Miracle of Mercy Land nearly a year ago, and I cannot bring myself to make it past... Read more
Published on February 11, 2012 by PieceofPae
3.0 out of 5 stars great read
Right away we find that Mercy Land is not like other young women of her time. Set in the early 1930's, a time in which a young woman is expected to marry and start a family, our... Read more
Published on August 16, 2011 by K. Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars Miracle of mercy land
As she works for Doc Phillips at the local paper, Mercy Land does what is necessary to become indispensable. Read more
Published on June 21, 2011 by Jettie
5.0 out of 5 stars Would you do things differently if you had a choice?
Mercy Land is just a girl in the 1930's when she moves from Bittersweet to Bay City. She has followed her Aunt Ida's advice and gone to the big city - at least big compared to... Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by K. Herbrand
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely writing; thin plot
FIRST SENTENCE: I was born in a bolt of lightning on the banks of Bittersweet Creek.

It is 1938, and Mercy Land, 27 years old, is an editorial assistant to Doc Philips,... Read more
Published on May 15, 2011 by Julie A. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, easy read, encaptured me!
I have never before read a book by River Jordan but after reading The Miracle of Mercy Land I am apt to find more by Jordan. Read more
Published on May 8, 2011 by S. Waugh
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite unexpected!
Reading the synopsis of this book, my expectations were high. I was looking forward to a scintillating story line and an investigation into the mystery. Read more
Published on May 1, 2011 by Baron Book Review
1.0 out of 5 stars Seemed Promising, but Left Too Many Questions
I had very high hopes for The Miracle of Mercy Land when I read the back of the book. However, I was sadly disappointed. Read more
Published on April 27, 2011 by Tabitha Steinbock
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More About the Author



River Jordan began her writing career as a playwright where her original works were produced, including Mama Jewels: Tales from Mullet Creek, Soul, Rhythm and Blues, and Virga. Ms. Jordan's first novel, The Gin Girl (Livingston Press, 2003), has garnered such high praise as "This author writes with a hard bitten confidence comparable to Ernest Hemingway. And yet, in the Southern tradition of William Faulkner, she can knit together sentences that can take your breath." Kirkus Reviews described her second novel, The Messenger of Magnolia Street, as "a beautifully written atmospheric tale." It was applauded as "a tale of wonder" by Southern Living, who chose the novel as their Selects feature for March 2006, and described by other reviewers as " a riveting, magical mystery" and "a remarkable book." Her third novel, Saints In Limbo has been painted by some of the finest fiction voices of today as "a lyrical and relentlessly beautiful book," and "a wise, funny, joyful and deadly serious book, written with a poet's multilayered sense of metaphor and meter and a page-turning sense of urgency," and reported by Paste Magazine as "a southern gothic masterpiece."
Her fourth novel, The Miracle of Mercy Land, arrives on September 7, 2010. Her first non-fiction work, Praying for Strangers, An Adventure of the Human Spirit will be published by Penguin/Berkley April 5, 2011.
Ms. Jordan teaches and speaks around the country on "The Power of Story", and produces and hosts the radio show Clearstory Radio from Nashville. When not traveling the back roads of America, River lives with her husband and their Great Pyrenees lap dog in Nashville, Tennessee.

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