Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Title: Little Mercies
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: 24th June 2014
Pages: 320
Book Source: Harlequin Mira & NetGalley

Synopsis: Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity;the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.

My Thoughts: 
I've read all of Heather Gudenkauf's books and I love her writing. She has a gift for taking readers to an often uncomfortable place, immersing you in issues of sensitivity and judgement but with such compassion you're enlightened and enriched. I read Little Mercies until 3 am, it's just not a book you can put down.  
As a social worker Ellen sees unimaginable horrors inflicted on innocents. For Ellen and her family, a moment of distraction has devastating and life altering consequences. Consequences that felt so real to me, I kid you not I think my heart stopped ... such suffocating dread. What happened to Ellen could happen to anyone.

The contrast between abuse and neglect and a terrible mistake culminating in the same legal consequences was actually horrifying to read. On one hand you understand the absolute necessity of protecting children and on the other to have an accident 'judged' as abuse seems like perverse punishment on top of a punishment that's already incomprehensible. 

It's unimaginable isn't it? It makes my heart do unpleasant things just thinking about it ... how would you cope if what you loved most, everything you held dear was at risk? 

Told from the perspective of Ellen and 10 year old Jenny, the gutsy, vulnerable little girl separated from her father ... the dual storylines merge effortlessly, complimenting rather than competing. I adored Ellen's mother Maudene with her big heart and gentle, compassionate nature. 

My only complaint ... it ended before I was ready, tied up not too neatly but too quickly. But you know what, the emotion is still with me, days after finishing ... in my book that's deserving of 5 stars. 

A perfect bookclub read and fans of Amy Hatvany and Diane Chamberlain will love Heather Gudenkauf's latest. 


Little Lies, the prequel to Little Mercies was a really enjoyable short story and a good lead in to Little Mercies; not essential to the story but a nice bonus. 


Connect with Heather Gudenkauf
Website
Twitter





23 comments:

  1. I love that it's not a book you wanted to put down. Books like that are few and far between for me, lately. This sounds like a really emotional read and one that would be a good pick for my work book club. I'm excited to read this one! Love your review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely ... emotional, powerful and one that would definitely generate discussion ... ideal for a book club read! Can't wait to hear what you think!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. go on B ... you know you want to ;)

      Delete
  3. Love your review and can't wait to read this book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll be watching out for your thoughts Nise, hope you love it as much as I did.

      Delete
  4. Awesome! The best books always end to early so I get that complaint (not complaint) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have loved a few more pages Felicia lol but forgiven for the depth of emotion ;)

      Delete
  5. I haven't heard of the author or the book but I'm definitely interested! I love a book that just hooks you like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. me too Alise, it's not often I read til 3am ... definitely worth the lack of sleep!

      Delete
  6. I have never heard of this author! I liked the book trailer and the title of the book. I must look her up on Goodreads and try one of her books. I can't believe the amount of books being published on 24th June. I guess the USA summer brings it on as a good date!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathryn, Heather covers 'issues' similar to Emilie Richards and I know how much you enjoy her writing. My favourite's ... this one and These Things Hidden, hope you one a try :)

      Delete
    2. Will definitely try her out, this one sounds a little scary but I think I am up for it.

      Delete
    3. yes ... scary in the fact that it's a parent's worst nightmare and you can empathise :(

      Delete
    4. Absolutely - I guessed it was something like that. I'll toughen up and read it!

      Delete
  7. Oooh! I just got this book at BEA and wasn't sure if it was going to be for me, but now that I've read your review, I think I need to read it! Thanks!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love her writing and I am excited to be reviewing this one soon.... you made it even more exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This sounds like a heartbreaking novel. I haven't tried this author yet but your wonderful review put the title on my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I definitely want to read this one. I really liked One Breath Away.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, this one sounds sooo good, and, of course, it's on my list to buy this week. The social work aspect is going to really engage me, I know, because of my own experiences in that profession. And I can already imagine how this is going to go...yet I'm sure there will be plenty of surprises. Thanks for a great review.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for your great review. I am going to add this to my 'To Read' list and include it to consider as a book club selection for next month.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box