Traces of Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley


The story is gripping. I was into it by the end of the first page. However...

Sticklers for Civil War era history won't be satisfied, because there isn't much history in it. It also revolves around a young woman who has lost her memory. Great premise.

She remembers how to speak very proper English, but she has not clue what fork to use at a fancy dinner. She is comfortable in homespun clothes, but almost as comfortable in fancy clothes. You get numerous clues to how she was raised, but there are also numerous contradictions to that raising. Quite confusing, but still compelling.

Then you read about her falling in love with a man... with few real reasons why she fell in love with him. He is in love because she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. The character is written to be superficial and that part of the story works very well.

I also like how various characters are developed and they act and react to situations in tune with how they are developed. This is very good, and fairly rare these days, too. But...

This woman called Mercy by the nuns she lives with is a very stupid woman. I hate stupid women. She is developed as a person who is intelligent, full of humor, loves horses and has a way with them that surpasses any other handler, and she is person savvy. She understands what motivates people, why they act in certain ways, and seems to accurately predict reactions of other characters in the book. Then she does something so incredibly stupid that I was sorry I read to the very end (for that is where this thing happens).

This is the first in a series. At the end of this book she still has no memory of where she came from or why she had the uniform of a Confederate sergeant on when she was found quite senseless. But, she's headed off to find her roots at the end of the book. Good luck with that, little Mercy. The South is huge. It is torn up with reformation, carpet baggers, and scallywags. She had no clue where to start looking, but she's determined to do it by riding through a Union state with bounty hunters on her trail.

So beware if you purchase this book. In fact, don't even read the last chapter because it makes no sense with a Union captain deserting his post to try to find a stupid female. The authors should have stopped the book before the last chapter. I'm thinking I won't read the next one. I have no patience for lack of historical research, no patience for lack of adherence to the most simple laws and rules of the land and organizations, and no patience for orchestrated tension designed to make the reader want to buy the next book, but instead makes me want to run the other way.

I give it 2 out of 5 stars. Good writing, but bad plotting at the end.

At the war’s end, a young woman suffers an accident that leaves her unconscious and alone. Waking with amnesia, she takes the name Mercy and wants more than anything to find out the truth of her past. But then a handsome stranger arrives, who may hold the key to everything she has forgotten. What he knows could devastate her future, and even end her life. Written by two proven storytellers, Traces of Mercy is perfect for anyone who loves historical fiction, prairie-based tales, or just a good romance.

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