Hearts of Mercy - Book Review

Hearts of Mercy

Author: Joan Donaldson
Genre: Romance - Suspense
Date Published: June 28, 2018
ISBN-10: 9781684330911
ISBN-13: 9781684330911

GoodReads Rating:

Book Review of :  Hearts of Mercy


Lavinia Walker, Viney, had experienced her share of tragedy in her young life. Her mother had died shortly after she was born. Her “daddy“ had abandoned her and her siblings. More recently, her sister’s fiancé had passed away, and her fiancé had broken off their engagement and moved away.

When Viney entered the parlor of the boardinghouse where her sister lived, a white-haired bearded man sat beside Lizzy. “Viney, meet our daddy.”

The old man had reentered his children’s lives with a simple request - to get to know them. He was in failing health and one of the sisters needed to temporarily move into his cabin in the Smokey Mountains. Viney had never forgiven that man and certainly wasn’t going to call him daddy.

Leaving her farm in the Cumberland Mountains, near the progressive town of Rugby, Viney couldn’t help but be impressed with the rolling ridges of the Smokies. Meeting her Uncle Abe and his family revealed that things might not be as serene as they first seemed in Wears Cove.

An unexpected attraction to her cousin, James, set in action a series of events that could very well bring danger to the quiet little cabin in the cove. As her father’s health waned and her feelings for James deepened, Viney had to face one threat after another from a dangerous clan known as the White Caps.

Author Joan Donaldson follows-up her first novel of historical fiction, On Viney’s Mountain, with a rousing tale of nineteenth-century life in the Tennessee Mountains. Hearts of Mercy continues the story of the unlikely heroine based on the life of Dicey Fletcher. Viney has grown into a strong woman who is still in search of her happy ending. How much tragedy must she go through before she finds true love?

Donaldson brings to light a dark part of American History when the White Caps ruled Sevier County, Tennessee. The supremacy group that disciplined women was comprised mostly of men who had fought in the Civil War some two decades earlier. Viney was an outsider to the community. Would she be able to spearhead an effort to stop the White Caps and bring justice and peace to the women of the cove?

Hearts of Mercy is the perfect book to cuddle up with on a rainy day. You will keep turning the pages; this is a well-written story that is an easy read. Well worth your time.

About Joan Donaldson


At age six, I wrote my first poem and in fourth grade, I bound my first collection of stories, plays, and poems. I consider any conflict, large or small, as a potential story. Because most of my books are based on true incidents, my characters such as in On Viney’s Mountain are gathered from historical records. Other times, family stories inspire a book, like in The Secret of the Red Shoes. I also love to name characters after my friends, as a way to honor them. While I try and write an hour almost every day, working on our organic blueberry farm with my husband, John, tending and preserving a large garden, making goat cheese and other homestead duties absorb much of my time. In the evenings, I play Scottish fiddle tunes on my folk harp, work on quilts and read, preferably with a cat on my lap. For many years, I have tutored or served as a mentor for students in our local elementary school.

On the professional side of life, in 2008, Spalding University awarded me a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing with a concentration in Creative Nonfiction. I earned my undergraduate degree in geology from Hope College. My latest novel, On Viney’s Mountain, won the 2010 Friends of American Writers Award for Outstanding Young Adult Novel, represented the State of Tennessee at the 2010 National Book Festival and appeared on the Bank Street List of the Best Books of 2010. In 2007, my essay Saint George and the Dragon, won the Hearst Prize for Excellence in Literary Nonfiction at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

In addition, my essays have appeared in, The Christian Science Monitor, Michigan History, Farm and Ranch Living, Victoria, Mary Jane’s Farm, Ideals, and Rosebud Magazines, plus the anthologies, Home in the Garden, and Home for Christmas. Each year, I write and record features about our farm for the local NPR affiliate, WMUK, and this year, I also read one of my narratives on Michigan Public Radio. For the past seven years, I have served on the workshop faculty at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, and am also a former board member for SCBWI-MI chapter.

Visit http://www.joandonaldson.com for more information on Joan Donaldson


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