Monday, May 6, 2013

Blog Tour: Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock

Sweet Mercy

Stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition.

When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.

Eve can’t wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people,” not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is anything but what it seems.

When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?

Meet the Lawmen

J. Edgar Hoover – Named director of the Bureau of Investigation (later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation) in 1924, J. Edgar Hoover held the top position in the FBI for 48 years. It was under his administration that FBI agents arrested or killed a number of the most famous outlaws of the day, including John Dillinger, "Baby Face" Nelson, Kate "Ma" Barker, Alvin "Creepy" Karpis, and George "Machine Gun" Kelly

Melvin Purvis Jr. – A law enforcement official and an FBI agent, Melvin Purvis is famous for capturing more public enemies than any other man in FBI history. He led the manhunts that brought down such criminals as “Baby Face” Nelson, “Pretty Boy” Floyd and John Dillinger. According to a number of Purvis’s biographies, including one written by his son, J. Edgar was jealous of Purvis after Dillinger’s death and had him demoted. Purvis retired from the FBI in 1935 and opened a private law practice.

Eliot Ness – Everyone knows Eliot Ness from the book, TV series and movie, “The Untouchables.” Ness did indeed lead The Untouchables, a small, elite group of U.S. federal law enforcement agents whose bravery and integrity earned them their nickname. A special unit of the Bureau of Prohibition, Ness and his men worked from 1929-1931 to bring down Al Capone and his infamous Chicago Outfit. Their efforts led to Capone’s arrest and eventual imprisonment in Alcatraz.

Izzy and Moe – Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith were a team of U.S. Prohibition Agents who became famous for their use of disguises in bringing down breakers of the liquor laws. They entered speakeasies dressed like sweaty construction workers or athletes or some other similar duo in need of something to wet their whistle. When those drinks were served, Izzy and Moe swiftly slapped on the cuffs and made the arrest. Between 1920 and 1925, they made 4,932 arrests, 95% of which gained conviction. 

We meet Eve in the Prologue. She's back at the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge with her grandson looking for something she stored in the attic before the Lodge gets torn down. She then tells him about her 17th summer...

She left Minnesota with her parents and they went to Mercy, Ohio. Her parents didn't want to go but her dad got laid off due to the poor economy and there wasn't any other work to be found. His brother, Cyrus, called him to come live and work at the Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge so that's where they were heading.

She becomes friends with Marlene, who warns her about the red-eyed devil, who she meets later and is surprised she wasn't already told about him. Marlene has a serious boyfriend, Jimmy, and she sets Eve up with his friend, Marcus. She enjoys his company and they quickly become an item. She also becomes friends with the handsome homeless guy, Link, who is just currently down on his luck. Then there's her wild sister, Cassandra, who is now married with two children and they come to visit later in the summer. The two sisters have never gotten along very well so will they be able to mend their relationship?

Prohibition is a big issue and Eve finds out some secrets about bootlegging that she's not happy to know and causes some grief and drama between her and the people she cares about.

I devoured this book! I loved Eve. She's a regular teenager trying to fit in and figure out where she fits in her family's new situation. She is innocent and kind and gives everyone a chance. She gets hurt by some and is pleasantly surprised by others. This is a well written book that I highly recommend!

My Rating=5 stars

And now for an excerpt:

From Chapter 1:

“Well, that’s easy,” I said. “It’s easy to love Uncle Cy.” After all, he was my ticket out. He was my ticket to a new life. We were leaving the city of sin behind. No more bootleggers, brothel-keepers, gangsters, corrupt lawmen, kidnappers, or murderers. We were on our way to Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge in Mercy, Ohio, on the Little Miami River. We were on our way to the Promised Land.

Daddy gave me one more glance in the rearview mirror before settling his eyes on the road for the long haul ahead. Mother wiped at tears one last time before resignedly stuffing her handkerchief back into her pocketbook. She turned her face to the window, her features delicate and gentle in profile, her soft brown hair pulled into its usual knot at the back of her head.

I too settled back for the ride. As the newly awakened Minnesota landscape rolled by, I noticed the morning edition of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on the seat beside me. Clear of the city limits and facing the long stretch of open road toward Wisconsin, I picked up the paper to pass the time. When I saw an advertisement on page six for Wilson Tailors, I shook my head and clicked my tongue softly. Even the tailors were making money from the fallout of St. Paul’s sleazy underworld. In bold type the proprietor, Mr. Edmund Wilson, boasted: “Bullet holes rewoven perfectly in damaged clothes.”

 Ann Tatlock

Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association “Book of the Year” in fiction for both All the Way Home and I’ll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her “one of Christian fiction’s better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories.” Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a copy of 3 of Ann’s Books
Sweet Mercy, Travelers Rest and Promises to Keep
Open to US & Canada Only
Ends 5/21/13

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