Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Quality of Mercy by Anna Fisher Kruse

My Experience: A
Synopsis:  As much as Mercy Patience Hawthorne wants to escape her name, she cannot help who she is. Mercy has taken care of other people since her childhood. Now, heiress to a fortune, she no longer has obligations to others, and is anxious to begin a new, exciting, and independent life. But fate intervenes when a carriage accident on the way to London forces her to rescue three small children. When she attempts to deliver them to their father, she discovers that they have been orphaned and will now be in the care of their stiff and duty bound-- but ever so handsome-- Uncle Phillip, newly the Earl of Standridge. 
Mercy's impetuous instincts to offer help whenever it is needed regardless of threats to her reputation, drive the proper Phillip mad, yet draw him to her warm generosity at the same time. As much as Phillip wants to consider his attentions to her merely his duty, he cannot escape his attraction. What will it take for them find a way to balance her impetuous compassion and his dutiful propriety?

I was nervous reading the sample pages, fearing I was in for a whiny heroine but the synopsis and writing persuaded me to risk an author new to me.  I am SO glad I did!

Excellent writing, superior pacing, well developed characters and believable conflicts.  The dialog was a treat, the details of life well attended to and not one of the children was over sweet or a brat. Secondary characters, always important to me, added to the story without stealing the limelight.  Miss Martin was so wonderful, finding her courage right along with Mercy finding her own way. The romance was not rushed, evolved believably and the misunderstandings were quickly resolved.  There was an epilogue but no book is perfect.

The Carmichael Heiress, Mercy Hawthorne is endearing, intrepid and not so sure of herself, only what she is determined her future will and won't be.  She doesn't regret tending her relatives but she's more than ready for her life to begin, except ... she really does take charge and take care without thought, only feelings.  I adored how she waded in to the world she thought she wanted, adjusting hems and curtains and leaving others bewildered by her sensible carrying on.  Of course she made mistakes and there were people with their feet out to trip her up further; but that makes for a good story and realistic heroine.With as much sense as intelligent, she reaches out to an older woman for guidance, one that is worth listening to.   I was also thrilled she was just pretty - not a raving beauty.  She didn't win the world over in one brilliant maneuver.  I enjoyed her struggle to find her way between her old life and the new one that isn't as easy as she'd imagined.

I liked Phillip Keith, Earl of Standridge from the beginning.  He loved his family, genuinely grieved them and confronted the mess of his inheritance with understandable flinches.  That the mess included his step mother and brother was as distressing as his grief.  He held on to duty and propriety because it was a solid pillar in his suddenly undulating world of inherited children, financial confusion, and step brother's greed.  I enjoyed how he defended Mercy's actions then stuck his foot in it trying to give her fair warning.  His stupidity over how children would be cared for under his step mother's watch was understandable, in character and rectified as soon as he was made aware.  He stood his ground when he needed to, held his honor no higher than Mercy's and was an absolute idiot when it came to understanding how a woman thinks.  I giggled over his confusion because he by golly Carried On.

The story progressed slice of life, awakening to each other gently, without overblown twists or complications.  The misunderstandings were a bit obvious to the reader but our characters were both new to the world they suddenly found themselves in and had distractions to enhance molehills to mountains.  Resolutions were a bit surprising and I liked that.  I was not tempted to skip ahead, the story flowed well enough to keep my interest all the way to the epilogue.  That's a first in a long, long time for this ferocious reader.  This was a completely charming story for my keeper files and I eagerly recommend The Quality of Mercy.

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