The Shape of Mercy

Title: The Shape of Mercy
Author: Susan Meissner
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback, 320pp
Author Website


“We understand what we want to understand.”
Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.
Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.
The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?


Wow! I could not put this book down. Susan Meissner captivates you from page one. Susan's fictional story of three generations of woman is beautiful woven.

Lauren is from a wealthy family. She chooses to break away from the life she has been given. she loves her father but wants to break out of the Durough mold.  She’s a college student trying to make a life of her own. She gets a job transcribing a 300+ year old diary that belongs to a family member that had no children to pass it along to. Lauren immediately gets lost in the world of Mercy, a young woman living during the Salem Witch Trials. She finds herself being drawn into a tale that she knows will end tragically but she finds she cannot stop herself from reading. As she continues with her work, Lauren begins to see how a girl who lived centuries ago shares the same feelings that she herself feels today. This is a book tells a story of love lost and found, self-discovery, sacrifice, and the dangers of making assumptions.

This book was absolutely amazing! Heart-wrenching, bittersweet, mysterious, and all together brilliant. Susan Meissner is an incredibly gifted storyteller.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.



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