Review & Giveaway: Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira

February 10, 2014

Title: Shades of Mercy
Author: Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira
Publisher: River North
Pages: 260
ISBN: 978-0-8024-0968-3
Publication Date: August 20th, 2013

It's 1954 and the world-even the far Northwoods of Maine-is about to change. But that change can't happen soon enough for fourteen-year-old Mercy Millar. Long tired of being the "son" her father never had, Mercy's ready for the world to embrace her as the young woman she is-as well as embrace the forbidden love she feels.

When childhood playmates grow up and fall in love, the whole community celebrates. But in the case of Mercy and Mick, there would be no celebration. Instead their relationship must stay hidden. Good girls do not date young men from the Maliseet tribe. At least, not in Watsonville, Maine. When racial tensions escalate and Mick is thrown in jail under suspicion of murder, Mercy nearly loses all hope-in love, in her father, and in God himself.
Shades of Mercy was a very sweet and quiet coming of age story. The story follows Mercy, a fourteen year old girl, who believes she has her life planned out. In a few years, she and her long time friend and recent boyfriend Mick will go off to college together, then once finished with school, they can get married, and live happily ever after. However, Mercy dreams come crashing around her when a friend of hers and her boyfriend disappear. However, this isn't a normal young love runaway, at least in the eyes of the Mercy's friend's father. When he finds out that the girls boyfriend is from the local Maliseet tribe, his prejudices come to a boil and sets the whole town on edge. Mercy hopes that everything will be resolved soon and then things can go back to normal. Sadly, that isn't what happens when her boyfriend Mick, who is also Maliseet, is charged with a crime.

The struggles Mercy's deals with are presented in such a realistic way. She is innocent to the ways of prejudice and still young. Mercy is written in such a way that you feel for her. You watch as she holds out hope for her dream to still come true and for everything to blow through. It was refreshing to read about a real teenager that has respect for her parents and who was raised in a loving home, not a teenager that was full of angst. I enjoyed that about the book.

The one issue I had with the story was the pacing. The story dealt with a very heavy topic and handled it very nicely and not heavy-handed, but a lot didn't seem to happen in a part of the story. I did enjoy how the story focused on one part of Mercy's life, just one summer. The ending left it open for the series to continue on and to grow with Mercy.

It was an enjoyable story.
3.5 out of 5

About the Author:
Authentic. That’s the word heard over and over when women describe Anita. She is a popular speaker at women’s conferences and retreats, and an amazing communicator as co-host of the award winning Midday Connection radio broadcast. Her deep desire is to communicate freedom to women and help them nurture and care for their soul.

Anita is the co-author of “Come to Our Table: A Midday Connection Cookbook” and “Daily Seeds from Women Who Walk in Faith”, a Devotional for women.  Her first solo venture as an author releases in November, 2010, “What Women Tell Me: finding freedom from the secrets we keep.”
Anita and her husband, Mike Murphy, a pastor, along with her teenage son John live in the Chicago suburbs. When she’s not traveling or speaking, you can find her reading and drinking a venti hot tea at her local Starbucks.

 Caryn is a sought-after writer and speaker. She’s the author of four books—Shades of Mercy: A Maine Chronicle (River North, September 2013), Known & Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, April 2013), Grumble Hallelujah (Tyndale House, September 2011), and Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. (WaterBrook Press, March 2009)–and a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.Meneutics as well as columnist for Re:Frame Media’s ThinkChristian blog.

Caryn has written dozens of magazine article. Her work has appeared in such publications as Christianity Today, Relevant, FamilyLife, and Engineering and Mining Journal (you read that right).

I'm giving away 3 copies of Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira. 3 winners will be chosen at the end of the drawing! Thank you to River North for the books!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to River North, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I love the whole concept of this novel. I am Cherokee-Choctaw so the prejudice against Native Americans hits close to home. I need to read Shades of Mercy. I won it on a blog giveaway and it's been sitting in my bookshelf for a few weeks now. Must get to it. :)

  2. Alyssa, The concept was very interesting. You usually hear of the conflict in the south during this time, but things were happening all over the country. I understand what you mean, I'm part Cherokee. Can't wait to hear what you think!

  3. I just got done reading the book a Touch my Tears about the trail of tears. I'm not Indian, but I have always felt that their story is too often skipped in the history books.

  4. R Merr- Thanks for the book recommendation. I put Touch My Tears on my to-read list. :)

  5. It's a great read. I put up a review on it. Great stories of a courageous people!

  6. R Merr, Thanks for the book recommendations! I need to look into it. I agree, a lot of the Indian history is skipped in history. There is so much there that needs to be remembered.


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