Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mercy Street || Book Review

Mercy Street

Author: Tess Evans
Release Date: 1st January, 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Source: Proof copy for Review
Buy the book: Book Depository

Mercy Street tells the heartwarming story of curmudgeonly old widowed pensioner, George - who for the most part lives in a world of memories of his dead wife, Pen, and dreams of the family they could have had - and Rory, the very real 'grubby little brat' who is dumped on him, much to his displeasure, by her unreliable mother, Angie. In his own inept way, George valiantly tries to rise to the challenge of caring for the tear-sodden, sullen little girl, but it's only when his bossy sister Shirl, his old mate Redgum, and his neighbours, the Nguyens, get involved, that gradually, little by little, an accidental family of sorts takes shape.

But then, years later, Angie reappears, and wants her daughter back, George, determined not to lose Rory, hatches an audacious plan and they take to the road ... But is it too late? Does anything trump a mother's need? And is love enough to make a family?

Oh man, I wish I could read this for the first time again.

Tess Evans' latest release, Mercy Street, is a story that is as heartfelt as it is sweet. The most appropriate word for this book really is simply charming. It was just such a beautifully written story of an elderly man who takes on the father-role to a boisterous young girl. Tess has a really easy-to-read writing style; I never felt like things were over explained (which is one of my greatest pet peeves in a novel) but I was confident that I understood the characters and how they were living.

I have a massive soft spot for George. Maybe it's because I am so close to my own grandfather, but I really empathised with him. Having a five year old dumped on you can't be as easy as he often made it seem. George was more than happy to continue his own retirement, but his unconditional love for Rory was definitely the highlight of this book - even though it took a while for them to bond. Their story is one that will make you appreciate your grandparents all the more. And maybe crave some ice cream.

I have mixed feelings towards Rory's mum, Angie. On the one hand, she was obviously ill-equipped to be a mother at all and I absolutely wanted her to be a great one. However some of her decisions, especially leaving a relative stranger to care for her daughter, were mind boggling. I truly believe that she is a good person, but it was hard to like her when I spent the entire novel rooting for a happy ending for George. I feel like this is a character that everyone will have their own opinion on, but that, in my mind, is 100% a positive thing.

Mercy Street is just one of those feel good novels. One of those books that you could read again and again and still love just as much as the first time. George and Rory were the unlikely dynamic duo and I loved reading about their life together. Tess Evans' is now an author that is firmly on my radar and I can't wait for more.