By Grace
May 1, 2005 - 10:41:00 PM

The past taints every day of the Gerard sisters' lives.  Kat, the youngest, tackles the world head on, refusing to let anyone else matter too much, denying herself love.  Or any other weakness.  As a child, she was powerless to control her world, but no longer.  She makes the rules now, from her sense of fashion to the dynamics of her relationships.

Mona has the world by the tail.  She's not as abrasive as her younger sister, but she's focused on her career and proving herself to her father, who sent her and Kat to live with their grandmother when they were small.  The only person in her life whom Mona truly trusts now is her husband, Fitz.  Their marriage has been idyllic, two soul mates sharing a vision of their future, each pursuing greatness in their careers.  But Fitz has changed focus, and Mona's suddenly adrift at sea without her anchor.  Fitz's approval means everything to her, since she'll never earn her father's esteem.


Then there's Tansy.  Technically she's the eldest of the three, but a tragic event twenty years ago sent her spinning into a world of her own making.  She's a thirty-six year old child most of the time, the soul of innocence.  Twenty years ago, her twin brother was shot, his best friend sent to Attica for the murder.  Tansy disappeared as well that night.  After all this time, she's no closer to healing, regularly visiting her twin in the park, believing he's still alive.


Attica' s no place for a boy to become a man.  Lucas Walker found that out the hard way.  Now thirty-seven, he's paid his debt to society, and as soon as he makes sure Tansy's all right, he's leaving New York City forever.  The scene of the tragedy which in effect ended his life in the same instant his best friend was killed, there's nothing but pain for him here.  Lucas can't leave town though.  He promised Tansy's mother he'd watch over her, and he's got to make sure she's safe now from the monster who changed their lives forever twenty years ago.  Only then will he be free to leave.  For Juliette Gerard is the only soul who ever showed him MERCY, believing in his innocence, even after he was sentenced to Attica for a lifetime.


This is Ms. Brashear's first single title, and she's made the transition from long category with style.  Fans of her Superromances may have some trouble bridging the content gap (as I did because the content and language are harsher) but fans of mainstream romance will find this novel dazzling.  I was caught up in the story from beginning to end.


She delivers the same level of sophistication in her imagery and use of language as she does in her previous work.  These stirring, intertwined stories provide an insightful glimpse into the Gerard family's past and present, and the struggles Lucas experiences adjusting to civilian life and living up to Juliette's expectations. 


Ms. Brashear's use of language and plot evoke a distinct mood in each of the three stories.  For example, Kat's story is very gritty, as brash as Kat is.  Three points of view are used throughout most of the book: Kat's, Mona's, and Luke's.  Tansy's story is told through their eyes, as she is viewed as a mysterious, lost soul.  One short, very effective scene near the end of the book is in her point of view.


In keeping with Ms. Brashear's past few Superromances, particularly A REAL HERO and COMING HOME, this engaging novel addresses controversial subjects with caring and tact, without judgment.  In every way, MERCY is a success!

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