The Shape of Mercy

Guest blogger: Marissa Phillips

Reviewing Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Available at

“‘I’m so small!’” I gaped at the vastness that lay below us.

He laughed and shook his head like I had missed the point completely. ‘The world is so big!’”

This short quote captures the theme of this amazing book perfectly. It is about three very different, yet similar women who learn how to make sacrifices for the people that they love. The Shape of Mercy is about twenty-year-old college student, Lauren Durough who has led a privileged life being the only daughter to a couple who desperately wanted a son to keep the family name and business alive. In an attempt to prove a point to her father, she takes a low-paying part-time job transcribing a diary for Abigail Boyles, an elderly former librarian. But this is no ordinary diary. It belonged to a young woman named Mercy who lived and died during the Salem Witch Trials, one of the many accused witches. As Lauren gets emotionally involved both with the diary and with Abigail, she begins to re-evaluate her outlook on life.

The Shape of Mercy was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. From the moment I started reading I couldn’t wait to read just one more chapter. Like any book, it had its slow parts, but overall, it was extremely interesting. I was so into Mercy’s diary that I actually researched the Salem Witch Trials online. Almost each chapter starts with an excerpt from Mercy’s diary that Lauren edits and I found myself reading ahead just to find out more of her story. It was a fairly quick read but when I was nearing the end I just wanted it to last a little bit longer. However, it tried to follow three different women’s lives so it ends up being confusing at times. The Shape of Mercy can’t really be defined as a Christian book but certainly has undertones of faith in God, especially from Mercy’s diary. If you’re looking for a good love story (romantic, friendship, and family love) then The Shape of Mercy is the book for you.

Author Bio: From early school-day projects to becoming editor of a local newspaper in Minnesota, Susan Meissner’s love for writing has been apparent her entire life.  The Shape of Mercy is her latest novel in a string of books that delve into the deeper issues of life. She is the author of nine novels and lives with her family in San Diego, California.  Find out more about her at

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