Archive | The Shape of Mercy

And The Winners Are…

Here at She Reads, we LOVE to give stuff away. We love to hold contests. And we love to notify winners. Yet the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry (name that book!). Due to a rather persistent case of the flu, this blog administrator was unable to select the winners of last week’s giveaway on Wednesday, as planned.

But better late than never, I say! So without further ado, here are the winners of “The Great She Reads Giveaway!”

Grand Prize Winner – Rebecca Nichols (she is the recipient of the journal, pen, and copies of The Shape of Mercy and White Picket Fences)

Five more ladies will each receive copies of The Shape of Mercy and White Picket Fences, courtesy of Waterbrook Press. Let’s give a hearty round of applause to:

Latoya Mewborn Simpson

Lisa Noble

Susan Trull

Diana Chapel

Virginia Blakeslee

All six winners were selected at random by and have been notified via e-mail. We were delighted to have so many participants and we hope you’ll visit us again.

Congratulations and blessings to each winner. May Susan’s book bless you richly!

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The Latest and Greatest

Two of our featured She Reads authors are enjoying good news this week.

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

On Saturday, Susan Meissner won the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) “Book of the Year” award for her novel The Shape of Mercy. In March, The Shape of Mercy also won the ECPA (Evangelican Christian Publishers Association) “Book of the Year” award. Congratulations Susan on this much deserved award!

Eye of the God

Ariel Allison’s novel, Eye of the God, officially releases on October 1st, but the Smithsonian Institute is currently re-arranging the Hope Diamond display and the changes are creating a splash in the media. You can see what the Smithsonian staff is up to by clicking here.

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A Message From Susan Meissner

Dear Friend and Reader:

When I was in junior high school, I was in a one-act where I played the role of an innocent young woman accused of witchcraft. When my character realizes she can save herself by pretending to be bewitched, she begins to scream that one of the other girls in her prison cell †” a friend, actually †” is tormenting her. My character is led away to freedom and the woman she accused falsely is led away to her execution. I hated the way I felt inside being that person, first someone falsely accused, and then someone who accuses falsely.

My interest in the emotional and spiritual lessons of the Salem Witch Trials began with that play, 35 years ago. Like my character, the people who were executed in 1692 Salem were innocent. But unlike my character, they all died refusing to confess they were in partnership with Satan. They held onto truth to the point of death. That, to me, is incredibly inspiring.

In The Shape of Mercy, I explore the rocky path of making snap judgments, the unreliable and sometimes corrupt power of groupthink and the tragic results when we let fear dictate our choices. The three women in my story have three very basic things in common. They are all daughters of influential men, all raised as an only child, and each one must decide who they are. Are they women who stand for the truth even if they stand alone or do they let fear propel them to do what the crowd says to do, even if the crowd is wrong?

We have to train ourselves to see people the way God sees people. Having that kind of vision takes incredible discipline because our nature is not to see things like He does. I saw myself often in Lauren, the character in my book who transcribes the 300-year-old diary of a victim of the Salem Witch Trials, as the story revealed how she truly didn’t want to judge people but she did. She just did. We all do. We see a homeless man begging on the streets and we make all kinds of assumptions about how he got there and what he would do if we reached out to help him. Jumping to conclusions seems to permeate culture, regardless of the generation. Whatever the crowd says, we too easily believe. We need to fix our eyes on God, not the crowd.

The good news is when we embrace the virtue of mercy instead of judgment, we become ambassadors of hope. People with hope are attracted to the good they see in other people. My hope is this book reinforces that hope, that mercy has a shape and its shape is love. . .

Blessings upon you, over you and within in you,

Susan Meissner

Author of The Shape of Mercy, 2009 ECPA Fiction Book of the Year, RITA finalist, ACFW Book of the Year finalist, Publishers Weekly Top 100 Books for 2009.

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The Shape of Mercy Receives Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

Starred Review.

Meissner’s newest novel is potentially life-changing, the kind of inspirational fiction that prompts readers to call up old friends, lost loves or fallen-away family members to tell them that all is forgiven and that life is too short for holding grudges. Achingly romantic, the novel features the legacy of Mercy Hayworth–a young woman convicted during the Salem witch trials–whose words reach out from the past to forever transform the lives of two present-day women. These book lovers–Abigail Boyles, elderly, bitter and frail, and Lauren Lars Durough, wealthy, earnest and young–become unlikely friends, drawn together over the untimely death of Mercy, whose precious diary is all that remains of her too short life. And what a diary! Mercy’s words not only beguile but help Abigail and Lars together face life’s hardest struggles about where true meaning is found, which dreams are worth chasing and which only lead to emptiness, and why faith and hope are essential on life’s difficult path. Meissner’s prose is exquisite and she is a stunning storyteller. This is a novel to be shared with friends. (Sept. 16)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Fall 2009 Book Club Selection Number Two

She Reads is proud to present our second selection for Fall, 2009: The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner!

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with her family’s expectations and takes a part-time job from eighty-three-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles. The mysterious employer asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstitions. Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The secret of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant of the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

Susan Meissner believes that books take us to places we have perhaps only imagined and introduce us to intriguing people – both real and invented – whose lives inspire, teach and sometimes transform us. She knows that books entertain but they can also enlighten and educate; they can motivate us to attempt great things. That is her goal as a writer, that the stories she pens will always leave readers with a message of hope after they have read the last page.

Susan has penned eleven novels in addition to The Shape of Mercy (2009 ECPA Book of the Year winner). Some of her other works include: Blue Heart Blessed (2009 Inspirational Readers Choice Awards, winner for Long Contemporary Novel), White Picket Fences, and Why The Sky Is Blue.

Susan Meissner has been feeding her love of writing all her life. Her first novel, Why the Sky is Blue, was released in 2004, after she resigned her post as editor for a local newspaper in a rural Minnesota town. Since that time she has had several books published and moved to San Diego, where she lives with her family.

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