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Mercy House
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
30 posts | 25 read | 21 to read
A life-altering debut featuring fierce, funny, and irreverent women who battle the most powerful institution in the world. This is the book weve all been waiting for.Amy Schumer A powerful debut novel of a refuge in Brooklyn for women in troubleand the one woman who will risk all to protect them. In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves all of them know what its like to be broken by men. Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built. Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it servesconfront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she 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.
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review
JamieArc
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I think I may have liked this a little more than others for this #nunlit read, but I did enjoy reading the story of contemporary renegade nuns and their badassery. It was a little hard to keep going in the beginning because of all of the abuse and cruelty, but once the plot got going, it was easy to root for these women. Moments of heart and goodness helped me stick with it, as well as a few snortable lines from unexpected characters.

jlhammar Snortable lines 😆 Glad you enjoyed it! I‘m excited to start this one soon 2mo
52 likes1 comment
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Singout
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I was glad that the #nunlit book shows both justice work that many in religious orders practice as well as the impact of hierarchy and patriarchy. The main character is part of a trio that sets up a home for abused women that connects some with abortion opportunities, in direct defiance of the Catholic Church, resulting in punishment. Lots of painful reading here about abuse, rape, lost love, and broken families, but also supportive community.

jlhammar Great review, Sarah! 3mo
13 likes1 comment
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Librarybelle
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

There are parts to this book that are hard to read - the abuse faced by multiple characters and the plain hatred some have for others. But, there are signs of hope and forgiveness in the narrative. It‘s a study in faith, perseverance, living one‘s truth, and knowing everyone deserves “to love and to be loved.”

Great choice for #NunLitQuarterly !

kspenmoll Really loved these renegade nuns! 3mo
jlhammar Living one‘s truth - love that! Great review! I so appreciated that they met the residents of Mercy House where they were, no judgement. 3mo
Librarybelle Yes, @jlhammar ! And thank you! 3mo
66 likes4 comments
blurb
JamieArc
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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1. Most notable plan is Silent Book Club on Thursday. Always look forward to it!
2. Finishing up the tagged for #nunlit
3. Reserved, surprisingly funny, and thoughtful
#MotivationalMonday

monkeygirlsmama I've heard of Silent Book Club before. It sounds wonderful. 3mo
Cupcake12 What‘s a silent book club? Have a good week x 3mo
46 likes2 comments
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kspenmoll
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

Mercy house is a gripping and moving read.It is a shelter for abused women run by Catholic nuns.These nuns & the residents are authentic and colorful characters.The hate-filled,forceful Bishop Hawkins uses his power in the Church to try & shut down this enterprise. What transpires is a riveting David v.Goliath, the powerful v.the powerless real life story. One of the nuns, Evelyn, has a few tricks to shift the balance of power. #nunlit

kspenmoll I was brought up Catholic- no longer practicing- but thinking my background knowledge certainly contributes to my enjoyment of the novel. I lived through some of the events/practices. 3mo
Aimeesue Evelyn 💙💙💙 Hawkins 😠😠😠 3mo
jlhammar Authentic and colorful - yes! Hawkins was truly vile. Fantastic review. 3mo
Suet624 Truly a David versus Goliath story. I was so concerned about how she was going to finish up this story. 3mo
56 likes5 comments
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Aimeesue
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

At Bed-Stuy‘s Mercy House, a shelter for abused women, the sisters and residents contend with Bishop Hawkins and his mean-spirited investigation into how the house is run, while dealing with their own painful pasts. While there were episodes that were hard to read (rape, physical & emotional abuse) they were an important part of the story and weren‘t gratuitous. The Audio was voiced by multiple narrators & was very well done. Pick.
#nunlit

Librarybelle I‘m hoping to start this soon! 3mo
batsy Great review! This seems tough so I'm kind of avoiding it at the moment. 3mo
See All 9 Comments
jlhammar Wonderful review! 3mo
kspenmoll Wonderful review- I just finished the book last night - so well done. I am mulling it over 3mo
Aimeesue @Librarybelle Yay! Can‘t wait to hear what you think of it! 3mo
Aimeesue @batsy You definitely have to be in the right frame of mind for it. 3mo
Aimeesue @jlhammar 💙💙💙 3mo
Aimeesue @kspenmoll There was a lot to think about in there. All too real sometimes. Definitely fired up all my angry. 3mo
40 likes9 comments
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rubyslippersreads
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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I have mixed feelings about this book. The story was interesting, and I wanted to find out what happened, but it was also sometimes almost unbearably raw and painful. That‘s the reason I gave it a So-So, rather than a pick, because there were multiple times I almost bailed.

Here‘s a photo of what seems to be the “modified habit” mentioned in the book. I can see why it would have been both a shock and a relief to wear it.

#nunlit

Librarybelle Thanks for the photo! 3mo
marleed I still remember when over a weekend the dress code for the order of nuns teaching at my grade school went from full habit to street clothes. One of the sisters arrived in a Hawaiian moo moo that had been gifted her after a family members vacation. It was shocking. I mean, I hadn‘t even considered they might have actual hair on their heads! 3mo
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rubyslippersreads @marleed Sounds like it was a shock for all concerned. 😳 3mo
Deblovestoread I understand your being close to bailing. It was definitely brutal in places. 3mo
quietjenn Certainly not the easiest book. But great picture! 3mo
jlhammar Yes, very raw. Great way to describe it. Love the photo! 3mo
UwannaPublishme @rubyslippersreads @marleed That photo brings back so many memories. Love your comment about their hair! I remember questioning whether nuns ate meals like normal people, so one day our teacher/nuns invited us to lunch at the convent to see for ourselves! 😄 3mo
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kspenmoll
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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~The Alchemist- continue reading with students
~Picasso-weekly section #sundaybuddyread
~ No Strangers- lost in my book piles- aim to find it! #readaway2024
~Rescuers- almost done -savoring it. #childrensclassicread2024
~Mercy House-started today #nunlit
~St. Anne‘s - on ch4 #audible #yorkshiremurdermystery
~Reading list- hope to start #auldlangspine

DieAReader Looks great!📚🤓 3mo
TheBookHippie ♥️♥️♥️♥️ 3mo
45 likes2 comments
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Deblovestoread
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

Mercy House, run by Catholic nuns, has an open door policy for women who need a safe place. I appreciated that this fictional home was portrayed as help without dogma and I don‘t know enough to know if that even happens in real life in Catholicism but hope it does. I look forward to our #NunLit discussion because I feel like I missed something. Still a 4.5 🌟 read. #52Bookclub24 #BuddyRead

jlhammar I also admired that about how they ran Mercy House. Glad this was a pick for you! 3mo
TheBookHippie It does, in Chicago for sure. I believe there‘s still one in NYC as well. 3mo
Deblovestoread I am so happy to hear this. I am so over conditional help. 3mo
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jlhammar
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

This book really puts you through the wringer. Unflinching and affecting. Lots of difficult content, most (sadly) inspired by true stories Dillon encountered while researching. Sister Evelyn was a great character.

I wonder if an adaptation is still in the works? See link in comments below.

#NunLitQuarterly

Librarybelle Thanks for the link! I plan to start this next week!! 3mo
JamieArc Just started this and really liking it so far! 3mo
See All 9 Comments
rubyslippersreads I‘m still reading, even though it‘s difficult, mainly because I‘m hoping for a certain evil character to get what they deserve. 😠 3mo
quietjenn Interesting about the TV show! 3mo
KathyWheeler @JamieArc I just started it as well but I love Sister Evelyn. 3mo
kspenmoll I have the book but may be behind in reading it, but I intend to. 3mo
Aimeesue A “Renegade Nun Thriller”? Not quite how I‘d categorize it, Deadline, but okay 😂😂😂 (edited) 3mo
jlhammar @Aimeesue Right? 😂 3mo
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quietjenn
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I appreciated this more contemporary look at nun life, which attempts to grapple with some of the darker aspects of the modern day Catholic Church and, life in general. It's not a title that would've otherwise come my way, so I'm glad it was a #nunlit selection. It did sometimes feel a little didactic, but it's a small quibble and as a whole it was still very moving.

kspenmoll Hoping to catch up- I have not started this yet! 3mo
jlhammar Good to hear. I should finish up the Scarlett tonight. This is up next! 3mo
64 likes2 comments
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BookishShelly
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
Bailedbailed

Based on the other reviews it might be just me but I had issues with this book and bailed on it. #nunlitquarterly #nunlit

jlhammar Bummer. Sorry to hear that! I‘m planning to start this evening. Curious to see what I make of it. 3mo
rubyslippersreads @jlhammar I‘m six chapters in and still on the fence as to whether I‘ll finish. It‘s a little more gritty than what I usually read. (edited) 3mo
19 likes2 comments
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Suet624
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I read this book for #NunLitQuarterly and all I can say is Thank You! to @jlhammar for bringing this one into my world. I raced through it. I can imagine devout Catholics may squirm through parts of it. The story is rich, with nuns doing good works while priests carry on and abuse their power. Dillon does not hold back in her honest portrayal of what nuns face in their calling. I was not expecting to be so riveted.

Aimeesue Nice review! Makes me eager to get started on this one 💙 4mo
jlhammar So glad this was a pick for you. Fantastic review. Can‘t wait to get started! 4mo
marleed Like you, I did not expect all the feels I had for this one! 4mo
Suet624 @Aimeesue @jlhammar I hope you like it! 4mo
Suet624 @marleed I was telling the storyline to a friend and I kept realizing just how much she was able to get into that story. 4mo
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marleed
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I wasn‘t expecting the emotions I felt reading this. Except for the ending that came out of left field, I was riveted to the first 97% of this novel. It speaks to the things that matter, the people that matter, and the power that can take those things away - because they can. I read this for #NunLitQuarterly but regardless of participation, this is a compelling read. @jlhammar thank you for bringing this book to my attention! ↓.

marleed Background of pic is an oil painting I purchased from a friend who had a ‘fire' sale as she moved from Texas to California. I fell in love with that hand so gently guiding a dancer. It seemed to fit this story. 4mo
SilversReviews It was good. 4mo
jlhammar Wonderful review. Now I‘m even more excited to get started! I‘ve got it in my stack for this weekend. I‘ll brace myself for an emotional read. 4mo
marleed @jlhammar I‘m so glad you pointed me to this reading experience! 4mo
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LitsyEvents
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Repost for @jlhammar

#NunLitQuarterly 🔔 January 2024 reminder 🔔

Hello my Reading Sisters! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate) and are enjoying a relaxing and restorative Boxing Day.

Our first read of the new year will be Mercy House by Alena Dillon. Finish the book sometime in January, post your review &/or any thoughts along the way and be sure to tag the group.

All are welcome!

Suet624 Thank you!! @jlhammar (edited) 4mo
jlhammar Thanks for reposting! 4mo
36 likes3 comments
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jlhammar
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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#NunLitQuarterly 🔔 January 2024 reminder 🔔

Hello my Reading Sisters! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate) and are enjoying a relaxing and restorative Boxing Day.

Our first read of the new year will be Mercy House by Alena Dillon. Finish the book sometime in January, post your review &/or any thoughts along the way and be sure to tag the group.

All are welcome!

Librarybelle Hooray!! 4mo
Deblovestoread Thanks for the reminder. Just went shopping for a copy and audible currently has it on sale for $5.99. 😀 4mo
PageShifter I saw this first now! I am intrigued, planning to join 👍 4mo
See All 8 Comments
jlhammar @PageShifter Wonderful! I‘ll be sure to include you on future posts. 4mo
Suet624 Found both the ebook and audiobook on Hoopla just now. 4mo
Aimeesue @Suet624 Excellent! Thanks for the heads up! 4mo
Suet624 @Aimeesue 👍🏻 I‘m really enjoying the story. About 1/2 way through already. 4mo
49 likes8 comments
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LitsyEvents
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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jlhammar Our 2024 selections for #NunLitQuarterly. Please comment on my original post if you'd like to join us. All are welcome! 6mo
38 likes1 comment
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jlhammar
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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#NunLitQuarterly 2024
JAN Mercy House
APR The Nun
JUL Best Wishes, Sister B
OCT Quiet as a Nun

Your #NunLit mission is simply to read the chosen book sometime during the assigned month, post your review &/or thoughts along the way and be sure to tag the group. I‘ll post reminders as we get closer.

Thanks to all who voted this past week! I removed those who didn‘t. If you‘d like to join us next year, let me know. All are welcome!

jlhammar @LitsyEvents Please repost. Thanks! 6mo
Suet624 Oh darn. Please include me. I was sick and didn‘t bite but I love reading these selections. 6mo
jlhammar @Suet624 Oh good, happy to hear you‘ll be joining us again! I‘ll be sure to include you on future posts. Hope you‘re feeling better. 6mo
See All 20 Comments
Suet624 @jlhammar not “I didn‘t bite.” Hahaha. I didn‘t vote. 6mo
Deblovestoread Yay! Just an FYI this one is currently $4.99 on kindle 6mo
Librarybelle Yay!!! 6mo
CatLass007 This is a group I haven‘t seen before. I got triggered just thinking about reading about a nun. My Mom was incredibly blessed to have gone through first grade through graduating from college without ever knowing an evil nun. I was not so fortunate. I can‘t think of any nuns that I encountered during first through seventh grades who weren‘t evil. 6mo
jlhammar @CatLass007 Oh no, sorry to hear that. I, like your Mom, have been lucky enough to know only wonderful nuns/sisters. 6mo
jlhammar @CatLass007 I‘ve certainly read about some bad news nuns though, particularly in relation to the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland and the Native American residential schools. 6mo
CatLass007 Thanks. I just got off a Zoom appointment with my therapist and we are trying to figure out if some sort of childhood trauma is at the root of my migraines. And the most traumatic experiences I had as a child were with the nuns. I think my classmates and I were extraordinarily unlucky that every nun we had as a teacher was not a good person. We were fortunate enough to have some teachers who weren‘t nuns. We called them lay teachers. (cont)⬇️ 6mo
CatLass007 I know I have a knee-jerk reaction when any mention of nuns comes up. The lay teachers we had were wonderful women and teachers. But realistically, I recognize that in any and every group of people there will be good people and bad. And I apologize for intruding on your group. I probably should have just kept scrolling. 6mo
marleed I‘m really loving ok‘ing forward to this! 6mo
Caroline2 Hi, I won‘t be join in next year as I don‘t own any of these books and my tbr piles are already out of control so I‘m back on the book buying ban. 🙄 thanks for organising and have a fab reading year! 🌟 📖 6mo
jlhammar @Caroline2 Thanks for letting me know. Good luck with your book buying ban! 6mo
Kristin_Reads So Life with a capital L has gotten in the way of my overall reading this year and I‘d been so excited to follow along with Nunlit. I‘m saving these with the hopes that I can rejoin later 😊 5mo
jlhammar @Kristin_Reads Totally understand. Do join us whenever you‘re able! 5mo
Centique Sorry i missed the voting! Im still keen to be on the list and hope i can join in for a couple 👍👍 5mo
jlhammar @Centique Wonderful! I‘ll be sure to include you on future posts. 5mo
jlhammar @PageShifter Here are all of our picks for the year. Excited you‘ll be reading with us! 4mo
PageShifter Thank you, I wrote the titles down on my journal. 🥰 4mo
40 likes20 comments
review
Crinoline_Laphroaig
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

This Month's Books and Brews Club read.

Enjoyed it for the most part but it did have me flashing back to my youth. Evil Men in all Religions sound the same.

I wish the author had included a Trigger Warning for Sexual Abuse. That's not my story but I found it unsettling. Can't imagine if you had experienced that and went into this book not knowing.

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Kboltz
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

Received this book as a gift and it was a read! I really think that the Bishop in this story is one of the vialist characters ever. The Catholic Church and a story of three nuns who live in Brooklyn and who share a ministry of taking care of women in need. Not easy to read but it tells the truth. I only wish the suffering of the perpetrator was told...I decided myself what SHOULD happen to him and all of THEM!

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Bojo2006
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this book! Not sure I‘ve read a book before with a nun for the main character, and Sister Evelyn was both tough as nails and refreshingly vulnerable. It reads like a thriller with an undercurrent of taking on serious social issues. This book does have triggers for sexual abuse. My copy has a book club guide at the end.

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Blaire
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Mehso-so

Having read that the author loved Sister Act, I was not surprised. As I read, I kept thinking that this feels an awful lot like Sister Act. The story of nuns doing social justice work by running a domestic violence shelter was promising. It was a quick read and infused the characters with humor, but it lacked depth. It felt like very serious topics were raised but they were given the rom-com treatment. Pictured #coronabaking #pie

Cathythoughts Great cover & title .... I‘ll be giving it a miss though 4y
jillrhudy I really liked it; thought Sister Evelyn was a very powerful character 4y
Bookzombie Your pie looks so yummy! 4y
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Blaire @Cathythoughts it is pretty! For me it could have worked but didn‘t have the impact it might have. Lots of potential. 4y
Blaire @jillrhudy It was a page-turner and she was the best character with the most depth, but overall it didn‘t quite work for me. 4y
Blaire @Bookzombie thanks!! My first attempt at meringue. My son wanted to make it to share with his class on zoom. 4y
57 likes6 comments
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LeafingThroughLife
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Mehso-so

So so about captures this one. I loved Sister Evelyn and all the very spunky nuns and enjoyed the glimpse into the life of modern day nuns. Evelyn‘s journey to healing, including a late arriving “coming of age” sort of perspective shift was great. I also enjoyed the religious wordplay (taking communion was her “rite”). The supporting characters, however, seemed a little overdone and unrealistic. Thanks @WilliamMorrowBooks for the copy!

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LeafingThroughLife
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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LeafingThroughLife
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Kicking off March with this story of not-so-conservative nuns and the house where they shelter and help to rehabilitate female victims of violence. Irreverent Sister Evelyn with her sarcastic sense of humor and dark secrets is an interesting character, and I‘m looking forward to seeing where this story goes. Thanks @WilliamMorrowBooks

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BookNAround
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

A gripping novel about a nun who helped found Mercy House, a refuge for abused women, squaring off against a priest with whom she has a past and who wants to shut the home down. There is terrible abuse chronicled here but if you can stomach that, it will keep you reading. Full review at https://booknaround.blogspot.com/2020/02/review-mercy-house-by-alena-dillon.html

Cinfhen Interesting topic / thanks for posting and sharing 💕 4y
64 likes1 comment
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SilversReviews
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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HAPPY PUB DAY!!

Well written with authentic characters.

Add it to your TBR.

REVIEW: https://tinyurl.com/uujrztl

@alena.dillon
@williammorrowbooks
@harpercollins

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BookNAround
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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About to open this and add it to my “in progress” books. Looks like it could be a heavier read than I‘ve been reading lately.

jillrhudy I really loved it. 4y
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SilversReviews
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

Evelyn was never wanted. Her father even bargained with God to bring his son home from the war, and he would put Evelyn in a convent. Evelyn's brother did come home, and she did go to the convent.

She and two other nuns opened Mercy House for abandoned and abused girls.

FULL REVIEW: https://tinyurl.com/uujrztl

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jillrhudy
Mercy House: A Novel | Alena Dillon
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Pickpick

In a world seemingly full of predators, one brave nun of nearly 70, Sister Evelyn, protects her traumatized and diverse little flock of women with everything she‘s got. #domesticviolence #arc #libraryreads Full review at https://www.librarything.com/work/23660868/reviews/174306236

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