Mercy House
by Dillon, Alena

&;Never underestimate the power of a group of women. Fierce, thoughtful and dramatic&;this is a story of true courage." &;Susan Wiggs, New York Times bestselling author

She would stop at nothing to protect the women under her care.

Inside a century-old row house in Brooklyn, renegade Sister Evelyn and her fellow nuns preside over a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Mercy House will be investigated by Bishop Hawkins, a man with whom she shares a dark history. In order to protect everything they&;ve built, the nuns must conceal many of their methods, which are forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Evelyn will go to great lengths to defend all that she loves. She confronts a gang member, defies the church, challenges her own beliefs, and faces her past. She is bolstered by the other nuns and the vibrant, diverse residents of the shelter&;Lucia, Mei-Li, Desiree, Esther, and Katrina&;whose differences are outweighed by what unites them: they&;ve all been broken by men but are determined to rebuild.

Amidst her fight, Evelyn discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.

Though Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is gentrifying, with trendy coffee shops and yoga studios seemingly sprouting up overnight, gang violence and a flourishing drug trade show no signs of abating. At Bed-Stuy's Mercy House, a group of renegade nuns run a home for abused and abandoned women. News of Mercy House's services spread quietly, as Sister Evelyn and her cohort know the troublingly limited options available to young women in Bed-Stuy and hope word of mouth will bring those hoping for a better future to their doorstep. A deeply compassionate story of women supporting others in their deepest time of need, working with and against their own hopes, resources, histories, and prejudices, Dillon's debut novel is heartwarming to its core. With a widely diverse cast of supporting characters, author Dillon brings Bed-Stuy to life. Realistic in scope and pious without being preachy, Mercy House will appeal to fans of Naomi Ragen's The Devil in Jerusalem (2015) and Autumn J. Bright's Lovely (2017). Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

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