Title: Little Mercies
Author: Heather Gunderkauf (author website)
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (June 24, 2014)
About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)
In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences...
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends' couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.
A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together
About the Author:
Heather was born in Wagner, South Dakota, the youngest of six children. At one month of age, her family returned to the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota where her father was employed as a guidance counselor and her mother as a school nurse. At the age of three, her family moved to Iowa, where she grew up. Having been born with a profound unilateral hearing impairment (there were many evenings when Heather and her father made a trip to the bus barn to look around the school bus for her hearing aids that she often conveniently would forget on the seat beside her), Heather tended to use books as a retreat, would climb into the toy box that her father’s students from Rosebud made for the family with a pillow, blanket, and flashlight, close the lid, and escape the world around her. Heather became a voracious reader and the seed of becoming a writer was planted.
Heather Gudenkauf graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages and continues to work in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator.
Heather lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Maxine. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. She is currently working on her next novel.
My Review: I love ripped from the headlines type books. The beginning of Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf, hits a little close to home for this busy mom and overworked social worker. I have been a social worker for the last 20 years also working with children. Ellen is a veteran social worker and dedicated to the children she helps. It is a hard thing to balance motherhood and a career such as social work. Gudenkauf delves into the challenges of motherhood and being a social worker with great insight.
Ellen, while rushing to address an emergency on her caseload, makes a mistake that will have life altering consequences for her and her family. Little Mercies is the story of Ellen, but also the story of a young girl Jenny. Their stories eventually converge through some very skillful writing. I chose to read Little Mercies due to the storyline including a social worker. Little Mercies was the first book by Heather Gudenkauf, I have read. I was delight to discover she was originally from South Dakota, as I am. The characters are well developed and you instantly care about Ellen Moore and her family. The story of Jenny Briard was not as developed, but intriguing none the less.
Little Mercies is a chilling, emotional story about motherhood and justice. Little Mercies is an intriguing, fast – paces read. The story flows very nicely and hooks you right from the beginning. You will finish this book in short order.
My Rating: 4 – Little Mercies is a ripped of the headlines story that will hit home with a lot of mothers. Little Mercies is a fast-paced, intriguing read that you will be glad you devoured. Little Mercies would be great book for a book club discussion, especially for my book group as we are almost all social workers. If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult you will love Heather Gudenkauf’s book, Little Mercies.
My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing
**Disclosure – Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf was received from Harlequin MIRA in exchange for a fair review.