Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Book Review: Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Bergren/4 Stars
There are no second chances. Or are there?
Krista Mueller is in a good place. She’s got a successful career as a professor of history; she’s respected and well-liked; and she lives hundreds of miles from her hometown and the distant mother she could never please. It’s been more than a decade since Alzheimer’s disease first claimed Charlotte Mueller’s mind, but Krista has dutifully kept her mother in a first-class nursing home.
Now Charlotte is dying of heart failure and, surprised by her own emotions, Krista rushes to Taos, New Mexico, to sit at her estranged mother’s side as she slips away. Battling feelings of loss, abandonment, and relief, Krista is also unsettled by her proximity to Dane McConnell, director of the nursing home—and, once upon a time, her first love. Dane’s kind and gentle spirit—and a surprising discovery about her mother—make Krista wonder if she can at last close the distance between her and her mother … and open the part of her heart she thought was lost forever.
As far as contemporary novels go, Lisa Bergren has always been one of my favorite authors. I love her laid-back, yet interesting, style of writing that has just enough romantic tension to fulfill my occasional romance novel fix. Mercy Come Morning was such a book, and while it was originally released as Christmas Every Morning (a title I'd read long ago, but had forgotten), I was glad to have had the opportunity to reread it.
This is not a novel for everyone...let me just say that up front. The main character, Krista, has some deep emotional scars as a result of her relationship with her mother, and as her mother is reaching death's door after a long Alzheimer's illness, she struggles to find a way to set everything to rights before it's too late. If not for a book full of Christmas carols filled with hastily scratched notes from her mother, Krista might have never known why the relationship between her and her mother failed.
I found the imagery of "Christmas every morning" the perfect backdrop for this story. Sometimes, during the Christmas season, we hear so many of the same songs over and over again, but may not allow the words to penetrate our hearts. I know I'm certainly guilty of that. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Oh, Holy Night" now have a new meaning to me personally because of their inclusion in this story.
For those wanting to read Mercy Come Morning, be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Lisa penned some truly beautiful scenes between Krista and her mother that had me tearing up more than once. I have no doubt that this novel has ministered to many people both in the original release and the re-release--those dealing with a family member with Alzheimer's, or even those dealing with a recent death. It was a difficult story to begin, but one that has a bittersweet, yet joyous, conclusion.
**Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
**For more information about Lisa and her books, please visit http://lisatawnbergren.com/.
**To read an interview I did with Lisa, click here.