December 23, 2014

Little Mercies. Heather Gudenkauf

Book Cover
Little Mercies
Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Date: 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 366
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Own book
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Not for very long, just a few seconds.  But this simple moment of distraction has repercussions that threaten to shatter everything Ellen holds dear.

As a social worker, she has seen the worst side of humanity - the vilest acts a person can commit.  Now Ellen is trapped between the gears of the system she works in and her love for the child she cannot lose.

My thoughts banner
I was drawn in to reading Little Mercies by the many posts by bloggers earlier in the year about this book.  Everyone was very positive about it and I decided I wanted to read it.  No one gave away any spoilers - thank you, so the whole story was like a horror adventure into what in the flick of an eye can happen. 

By midway through the book I was so engrossed I finished it from there in, in one evening.  Yes, I wept for one younger character - Jenny, as the story closed.  I won't say whether they were tears of joy or sadness in case you haven't read the book, but if you have - you'll likely know.

Ellen is a hardworking social worker, mother and wife.  She is busy, juggles so much - knows she should be in more contact with her own mother and then... her world is turned upside down.  The unthinkable happens and she sees a side of life she never thought would happen to her.  Yet amongst the horror, there are little mercies to be gathered up, tasted and appreciated.  Life is seen through a whole new lens.

The book is beautifully written, there is a simplicity to it, yet it is very evocative and powerful.  Later reading the back section - a conversation with Heather Gudenkauf - I understood how she managed to write such details, she did her research so well, to see how her character might feel in a certain scene.

Like others I don't want to talk about the plot, if you are going to read this, go in 'cold'.  Be ready for surprises and shock.  Prepare to be right in there.

Reading a book like this gives the reader a view of life they may never experience themselves, but it helps you to open your heart in compassion to those who suffer, and also to admire the courageousness of those who are faced with difficult circumstances.  This is a book you will want to share and talk about.
4 stars


  1. Lovely review Kathryn. This was a favourite read for me this year. I love Heather Gudenkauf's writing, she has a gift for covering sensitive issues with compassion.

  2. So many of you read this and gave it such good reviews I had to try it. She has her own style of writing, I am always amazed at how an author's voice and style can be so much their own.

  3. Thank you for a review which got me hooked

  4. I enjoyed your review Kathryn. I read this book without knowing much about it ahead of time. I really enjoyed the book and was surprised.


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