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Under The Mercy Trees (2011)

by Heather Newton(Favorite Author)
3.45 of 5 Votes: 5
0062001345 (ISBN13: 9780062001344)
Harper Perennial
review 1: Heather Newton has written a remarkable novel that plunges deep into the hearts and souls of a family as they struggle to deal with the disappearance of one of their own. Leon Owensby lived alone in the dilapidated home-place, a hard, taciturn man, like his father before him, with no apparent ambition other than to be left alone. But it hadn't always been so. Leon had once burned with a secret desire that had almost torn the family apart. And the ghost of that desire threatens the family once again now that Leon is missing and presumed dead. Like all great Southern stories, real or imagined, this one is filled with longing, regret, and the stifling pressure of a culture that prevents its victims from being their true selves.I was struck by the authenticity of the character... mores Newton portrays; if you grew up in the South, especially in the southern Appalachians, you will recognize these people, trapped in a shared reality of poverty and ignorance that few escape. Even those that do manage to leave the fold, like Martin Owensby, Leon's younger brother who went away to college, can never truly recover from the scars of his raising.Newton does a masterful job of drawing you into the family, slowly revealing the secrets of the story in alternating chapters from each character's point of view. Each of the characters is a fully-realized human being, and the relationships between them are both discordant and unbreakable. Read this book for the people that fill it, accompany them on their journey as they struggle to find a new equilibrium after the disappearance of one of their own. I highly recommend Under the Mercy Trees to anyone who enjoys compelling, character-based fiction.
review 2: just started this one.Merged review:You can either love this book or completely despise it. I admire the insight of each character because most authors don't do that. However the suspense of the story isn't exactly thrilling, it's more painstaking because the activity that transpires in-between doesn't feel important. All in all the story opened my mind to different issues in life and It's a good book to discuss with fellow colleagues and/or classmates. less
Reviews (see all)
Good. Read it for the book club. Looking forward to the discussion and hearing other opinions.
Good read, but it did get a little tiresome in the middle. Good story line.
Well written and good characterization.
I like the book.
Good easy read
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