Thursday, December 18, 2008

Love in the Time of Persecution

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

I can't remember if I heard about this on another blog, or if it was from an e-mail from Barnes and Noble, but the premise sounded interesting enough for me to add to my wishlist for later. I didn't realize that it was considered Christian fiction until I just looked at the bottom of the Amazon page, although that would explain why my list of recommendations lately has been including more religious reading.

That said, I don't feel like I was getting Christianity preached to me in this novel. There was one point when Abigail asked Lauren if she "talked to God" but since they didn't dwell on it, it wasn't a huge defining moment of the book. To me, at least.

The overall premise is that Lauren is a college sophomore from a priviledged background trying to do her own thing. In an effort to show some independence, she takes a job with Abigail to transcribe the diary of Mercy, a young woman that died during the Salem Witch Trials. The best parts of the novel were the inserts from the diary, describing the paranoia and fear that took over the town of Salem. While I also enjoyed the modern day parts, Abigail was a more interesting character to me than Lauren. Lauren actually kind of annoyed me at times with her whole rich guilt issues. It was just a little overdone. Still, she was a sympathetic character if just overly earnest and judgmental. Also, I thought it was very ironic how she kept feeling bad about her priviledge but doesn't even think twice about picking up the hundred + year old version of Robinson Crusoe, probably worth thousands of dollars, and reading it rather than getting a paperback copy at the store.

I read the book in just about one sitting since I had a long bus trip this week, and this novel worked very well for that. They also discussed books in the novel, and I always tend to enjoy books about books or stories (such as The Thirteenth Tale - I think that's the reason I got this, I thought it might be kind of similar).

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