Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Preparing For Christmas Season In The Harried Book World: Book #12

“We understand what we want to understand.”

When this book came into the bookshop there was a tag in the computer that said, “Laura must read this book.” So Laura read this book. Laura doesn’t understand why she HAD to read it and Mr. Bossy Pants Boss Man can’t even remember now why he put this imperative in. He read a review or article sometime somewhere but doesn’t remember where or when.

It wasn’t bad. I can see people who loved Jennifer Donnelly’s Northern Lights liking this one. It’s not marketed as a young adult novel which I think is a mistake but probably not an imperative.

The story follows an only child from an incredibly wealthy family who has decided to go to a state college instead of an ivy league school she could have easily gotten into and more easily have afforded. She decides she wants a part-time job for her own spending money rather than relying on an already in effect allowance daddy-poo so she answers an ad on the bulletin board in her English department. There is a diary from a girl who was accused (and eventually hanged) during the Salem Witch Trials that an older lady wants translated to read in a more modern English format.

The story then starts to alternate between the modern day rich girl trying to find out who she is and the girl accused of being a witch in Salem. The Salem part of the story is incredibly vividly told, and amazingly well done. The modern story is a little tiresome. Not too bad, but I didn’t find the main character compelling or likable so it’s a lot of wishing on the reader’s part that the main character would just get over herself already.

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