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A Tangled Mercy

A Novel
Narrated by: JD Jackson, Angela Dawe
Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Told in alternating tales at once haunting and redemptive, A Tangled Mercy is a quintessentially American epic rooted in heartbreaking true events examining the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, and our enduring hope for freedom and forgiveness.

After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture - and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academics. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt - the subject of her mother's own research.

Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves.

Kate's attempts to discover what drove her mother's dangerous obsession with Charleston's tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.

©2017 Joy Jordan-Lake (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-01-2019

A little slow but worth the read

Kate Drayton is reeling from the sudden death of her mother. There are so many things she doesn't understand about her and why she left Charleston never to return. On an impulse and driven by grief Kate abandons her classes at Harvard and runs off to Charleston to find out what she can about her mother's past. Unfortunately no one, not the cute kid Gabe, the powerful matriarch Rose, or the obnoxious lawyer Putt, will help her find any clues to her mother's past even though clearly some of them know something.
I really enjoyed this book. With a two caviots....First, It was slow going in the beginning and Second the big reveal at the end honestly could have been revealed the first day Kate was in Charleston. It felt like that piece of the story was dragged on needlessly just to time the incident at the Church at the end of the novel.
However there was so much that was done right. The characters were interesting and well developed. I loved Kate and how she was trying to deal with her mother's death. She was spunky and yet reserved. It was an interesting combination. I also thought some of the things she did were over the top and a bit crazy but they were also funny. The storyline was interesting and engaging. Honestly my favorite parts of the story was all the history that I got to learn. Unfortunately the historical characters didn't seem to pop off the pages as much as Kate, Gabe, and Rose. However I got to learn about a slave revolt in Charleston, gulla, and southern abolitionists. These were all things I had never learned of before.

PG - 13 hangings, baby birth, implied rape,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pam Pearson
  • 07-06-2018

Charleston Blessed

A Tangled Mercy reminded me how Blessed I am to have lived in Charleston for several years. It is a beautiful city with a unique culture and history. Although I didn't experience the prejudice identified in the book, I did experience the unique way in which the people of the city regardless of race and religion embraced one another. Unlike New England, they also welcomed people from the outside to enjoy what the city has to offer. A Tangled Mercy somehow brought the “special” of Charleston out and made me feel like I was there again walking along with Kate as she solved the mystery of history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jerrybrn
  • 17-05-2018

Good book, flawed by complexity

This mystery story of modern Charleston is interwoven with a historical, fictionalized account of a 1822 slave revolt in the city. Both narratives are absorbing, but it is nearly impossible to track all the characters and events. Simplification of stories, players and details would help this book read better, especially as an audible book.

The performance was quite well done. Charleston accents were reasonably good, with one annoying exception: pronunciations.

Beaufort, in South Carolina, is BYOO-fert, not BOW-fert, the North Carolina pronunciation. We pronounce the name Manigault, MAN-uh-go. And we certainly don’t say BAL-yew-strade, but rather BAL-uh-strade. There are several other distracting errors of this kind.

Such an obvious mistake is puzzling. Paying an English major to investigate and note pronunciations of regional and local terms would have precluded it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim Styer
  • 23-04-2018

outstanding story, and superb writing, narration

I'm not a big novel person. I thought this was one of the better novels I've read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rona Branson
  • 15-12-2017

A good and hard story that inspires hope and change

I loved going on this journey to the past and the tie in to today and how time has assimilated and transformed the southern culture of today. Though some events may seem a little too convenient (like randomly meeting an unknown nephew on her first day in town), the story is compelling and believable. Well written with moments of great prose, this story takes the events of the past and today to help us all grow in compassion for our fellow human beings and to eliminate racism in our own hearts — even if and especially if we descend from a family who has a racist past. (Spoiler alert:) It does all tie up very neatly in the end, but with the nature and depth of the issues addressed, I for one was very glad to be left with hope to move forward!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • mlfarr
  • 14-12-2017

Couldn't finish. Seemed disjointed to me.

Maybe it is just me but I had a hard time following the storyline. It just didn't keep my attention. I do feel that there needed to be more background to the story at the first and the characters needed to be developed so you could relate to them.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • NMwritergal
  • 05-11-2017

A tangled mess...

…that unravels far too slowly.

Five hours in to listening, I think only about 5 hours had passed in the book—granted it does go back and forth between 1822 (shorter chapters) and 2015—but not much happens. I’m 10 hours in, now listening on 1.5 speed and am still pretty bored. The writing is good, characters interesting enough but the story just drags along at a turtle's pace.

Kate shows up in Charleston trying to understand the past—both that of her estranged father (dead within the last year) and mother (dead within the past 3 weeks). She’s also looking into an 1822 slave revolt for her PhD program, which she thinks has something to do with her family. The first person she meets is a little kid who’s portrayed more like an eccentric adult with a very articulate and unusual way of speaking. As that scene went on and on, I wasn’t even sure if the boy was real or not. He is and is important to her finding the answers she needs.

In fact, in the first day Kate serendipitously (for the most part) runs into just about every person she needs to who can tell her about her parents. Only they won’t talk. The lawyer has legal reasons, the rest…who knows. It just seems annoying. Most of the people she meets can also help her with her research, because of course the old woman she meets in a coffee shop has a diary from her ancestor 200 years ago that isn’t in historical archives, and so on.

Also tiresome, is that Kate is always saying the wrong thing, the one thing that causes a person to stop talking. Because of course they have no intention of talking but seem to slip into some sort of reverie, starting to spill the first bit of some big secret but Kate says something to shut them up.

If I were reading on the page, I'd be skimming to get to the end to solve the various mysteries.

Re the narration: both audio narrators elevate the story.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-05-2019

Review of A TangledMercy

Started out a little slow but picked up steam pretty quickly. It entangled all your emotions and did not let go. I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to read a book. It has something to offer to everybody. It is full of compassion and grace.

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  • A
  • 12-11-2018

His Mercy Endures Forever

What a mesmerizing historically sound rendering with compassion and the complexities of the Slavery Era coming full circle in today’s national events and people. This book should be a must historic reading novel for high school and college students alike across the USA. Because you can never understand where you are going until you understand where you’ve been! A story that makes you laugh and cry yet find peace.

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  • Megan Mar
  • 03-11-2018

Better at the end

The protagonist comes across as whiny at first and too little details are left out to truly engage the reader until they reach the midpoint of the book. If I was one to abandon books I would have this one, but in the end it was worth the initial bore.