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The Miracle of Mercy Land: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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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)
  • Publication Date: September 7, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EI2EBI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,181,488 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Dyrholm on 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 By Eric Wilson on 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 By t.e. George on 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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