A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake

A Tangled Mercy

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 ...

Details A Tangled Mercy

TitleA Tangled Mercy
Release DateNov 1st, 2017
PublisherLake Union Publishing
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews A Tangled Mercy

  • Diane S ☔
    They say that the past is never really past, that it's tentacles often read into the present. No city is more indicative of this than Charleston. This city has a long, storied past, a beautiful city that for some was not always beautiful. A two thread story, one in the past, one in the present. The past story takes us back to the horrible issue of slavery, in particular 1822, and the Vessey slave revolt. This time in the novel focuses on a young,...
  • Deanne Patterson
    A haunting book, A Tangled Mercy held my attention gripped in it's claws from the first page. A time slip book it contains alternating chapters taking place in the modern time of 2015 and the past time of 1822. Based on true facts of what really happened in Charleston, South Carolina. The author has done an absolutely amazing job of research and presenting facts in this book.The writing though is not stiff and boring it flows and keeps you wantin...
  • Anne Bogel
    I've been excited about this one for a long time! The backstory of how this book came to be what it is is really incredible, and I hope Joy tells it publicly one day. The story itself is timely and engaging, and perfect for fans of historical fiction that flips back and forth in time, like you'd see in the works of Kate Morton or Susan Meissner.
  • Rita
    CharlestonWhen I first started this book I felt ambivalent about the way this book is written. Chapter by chapter, the story fluctuates between the years 1822 with the planning of the failed slave revolt and 2015 with Kate Drayton running back to Charleston after the death of her mother to find answers as to why her mother, Sarah Grace, ran away from Charleston many years ago. It may seem confusing at first, but soon I fell into the rhythm. The t...
  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    I am not a mystery reader, but found myself engaged with this novel from the start – likely because this is a hybrid of a story: it reads like a mystery, but also is a historical novel with a dual contemporary-commercial story running right alongside it.I adore historical fiction, and the southern setting and time period have a special place in my heart (as a research period and locale for my own work). I enjoyed the peek into the 1800s setting...
  • Stephanie
    The idea has so much potential- Kate returns to Charleston after her mother’s death, hoping to unlock family secrets via her research on the slave revolt of 1822. This, set against the backdrop of the 2015 real-life mass murder at the Emmanuel AME church. But the execution is so clumsy and simplistic. Everyone significant in the story, Kate just happens to bump into on the street on her first day in Charleston: obligatory love interest, check; ...
  • Cathy
    A Tangled Mercy is a historical fiction novel set in pre-Civil War and present day Charleston, South Carolina, with the real-moment-in-time Vesey slave uprising of 1822 centering the story. The historical setting and details in this novel are fascinating, and I did find the book to be reminiscient of Kate Morton's novels, which I love. However, I couldn't overcome a pervasive sense that the author was overreaching, stretching the story if you wil...
  • Beth Jackson-jordan
    I was captivated by this story from beginning to end. The characters in this story are not perfect - they struggle with courage, conviction and self-doubt - which makes them very relatable. The tragic history of slavery that still haunts our society in the form of institutionalized racism is addressed with honesty and insight. I was impressed by the depth of research on historical as well as contemporary events woven into this story. Having visit...
  • Kristina Reads - Books. Blogs. Memes.
    TL;DR: A compelling, gentle mystery with the spotlight on racism and racial inequality that could stand to do with more input from actual people of color.Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[lots of racism, pretty graphic description of the Charleston shooting by Dylann Roof and of executions of those involved with Denmark Vesey’s slave revolt of 1822, rape (hide spoiler)]I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.My ...
  • Linda Zagon
    MY REVIEW OF  "A TANGLED MERCY" by Joy Jordan-Lake "A Tangled Mercy" by Joy Jordan-Lake combines the genres of History with Fiction, and  Kudos to the author for the vivid descriptions of the charm, spirit, and architecture of Charleston, South Carolina. There are so many contrasts to Charleston in the past and in the present. The timeline of the novel is basically divided into two,  weaving the story of the 1822 slave uprising and the 2015 M...
  • Rhonda
    Another fantastic historical fiction novel! This one centering on Charleston SC and the story of the Denmark Vesey slave revolt and Tom Russell of 1822. Told in alternating chapters between 1822 characters , and present day 2015 characters centering on Kate Drayton whose searching for answers to secrets from her families past connections to history in Charleston following the death of her mother. It also incorporates the history of the landmark A...
  • Laura Simmons
    As stories by Southern women about Southern women are a staple in my literary diet, I expected to be entertained by this one. Boy, did I underestimate how it would make me feel. Most people say they could not put a good book down. I must confess that I kept putting this one down. Sometimes because I knew from history that the approaching scenes would be hard to read. But most often because I didn't want the beautiful prose to end. Every detail of...
  • Judy Collins
    A TANGLED MERCY by Joy Jordan-Lake interweaves the painful stories of two different time periods and two different sets of characters. A captivating tale. A place of contrasts. Pain and beauty. A city both vulnerable and resilient. A hauntingly beautiful story of dual-timelines— a moving Southern tale: 1822 dark family secrets of slavery, and present-day Charleston, SC. From the Denmark Vesey slave revolt, and those who courageously fought for...
  • Suzanne Robertson
    These characters are so well-drawn that weeks after finishing the book I am still catching myself wondering how Kate, Gabe, Rose and the others are getting along. Jordan-Lake's quiet descriptions -- eyes the color of a gray glint of a blade; like a whispered apology; the (beautiful) sky was such a liar -- are so real and subtle you are placed in the moment without even realizing it. Clues are hidden throughout like Easter eggs -- an old leather g...
  • Pam Lehman
    This is a wonderful book that kept me engrossed right from the beginning. I had to find out what happened to Kate Drayton and what her mother hadn't told her about her past life in Charleston, South Carolina.I love the city of Charleston. It is a city with a wonderful, rich history, a history that unfortunately included slavery. I know the basic history of that terrible era but like many of you I was never aware of the Denmark Vesey Revolt of 182...
  • Karen
    Nope nope NOPE. The subject matter...the Vesey Revolt...is compelling. But I can’t get past the portraits the author paints of Charlestonians current and in the past. The dialogue is rife with idioms in a way that detracts from the story and it draws a picture of the people that is like a caricature. It’s overblown to the point of insulting.
  • PinkAmy loves 💕 books📖, cats😻 and naps🛏
    DNF I tried for a week, but couldn’t get into it.
  • Amy Yingling
    A wonderful book that fits under the historical fiction and contemporary genres, because it flip-flops back and forth between the present and the past as Kate journeys to a place that used to be home to her but became something of an illusion to her after her and her mom fled Charleston and her father. Kate is on a mission to find out what shaped her mother into who she was after they left Charleston and not everybody is happy that she's roaming ...
  • Alan Zabel
    "A Tangled Mercy" sounds good. Actual historical events almost 200 years apart. How will the characters be connected? I did learn a little about a slave revolt in Charleston, South Carolina in 1822. But I never did experience a page turning frenzy trying to find out what happens next. The characters didn't seem to come alive and I basically knew where the story was heading. So, I just slogged through it. All the details were tied together nicely ...
  • M.K.
    A must-read novel for today. Weaving the story of a slave uprising in 1822 Charleston with one set during the 2015 massacre at Charleston’s AME Church, A Tangled Mercy reminds us of yesterday’s atrocities and today’s ongoing racial travesties. Throughout the novel, author Joy Jordan-Lake offers readers compelling characters, evocative writing, and an engrossing and appalling look at time past and time present. This important story will help...
  • Mellarkey
    I have to to toss in the towel on page 75. I started reading this book over a week ago and that fact that I still haven't reached 100 pages says a lot. There is nothing compelling me to take my Kindle out of my bag and when I finally did this morning, I felt myself skimming over things, which doesn't bode well with 400 or so pages left to go.
  • Crystal
    What an extraordinary novel. I smiled and cried right along with Kate throughout the entire story and the climax really does just leave one speechless.
  • Sharyn Dowd
    Jordan-Lake's new novel is a gripping story of relationships, loyalty, betrayal, terror and triumph of spirit set in Charleston, South Carolina. The characters are two groups of Charlestonians. One set of characters are those involved in and touched by the slave rebellion planned by Denmark Vesey in 1822 but aborted when terrified associates leaked the plan to the white men of the city. The other group of characters lived in the Charleston of 201...
  • Brenda Bradley
    A captivating mix of history and mystery, Joy Jordan-Lake's latest book, A Tangled Mercy, is a magnificent work of art about the potentially transformative, healing, and unifying power of secrets uncovered. In her background on the writing of this book, Jordan-Lake says that the racial landscape of America is "painful, often raw, yet also living proof of real transformation and hope and a hard-fought, still-in-progress unity." With superb charact...
  • Cyndi Pollard
    A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan Lake is a fascinating story that engulfs you from beginning to end. The Story is set in Charleston almost 200 years apart going back to 1822 and forward to 2015. It’s so well written each Chapter leaves you wanting more as your go between the two eras seeing small flickers of connections that bring you from brutality of slavery and darkness into the light of freedom and hope for us all. This is applicable today tha...
  • Donna Lewis
    This book started slowly for me, and I was tempted to quit after some 60 pages. But, since so many Goodreads readers rated this book with five stars, I decided to refocus and continue reading. I was happily rewarded with an intriguing interwoven story that got better and better. Lots of history, an interesting story, good characters, and well worth the read.
  • Megan Privett
    I couldn't even make it through 2 chapters.... too much description about nothing for me.
  • Sydney Major
    Told from alternating 1822 and 2015, this book will tug at the heartstrings. Kate has within the last year lost her mother and her father and decided to travel back to Charleston to face secrets and an unknown past. Each bit she discovers seems to only bring more questions about her mysterious mother who was plagued with sadness. In 1822, a slave revolt is being planned and Tom Russell, local blacksmith, is sure he wants nothing to do with it, ex...
  • Audrey
    This book was my October 2017 Prime Reads freebie. A little slow to start, but I eventually found myself drawn into the intertwining stories from 1800s Charlston, where a slave revolt is being planned, and 2015 Charleston, where racial tensions remain relevant. The 'mystery' of the main character's mother's sudden departure from Charleston is woven throughout and I thought the threads came to a satisfying conclusion. A lot of heartbreaking pieces...