Sisters of Mercy
by Megan Kelley Hall © 2008
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason
Even though I didn’t grow up in New England, I have spent over two decades living in a town much like Hawthorne – neighboring Salem, on the seacoast, and everybody knows everybody else’s business. And even though there are differences – no state run asylum and no private academy (those are in towns neighboring the one I live in), I could identify with the attitudes displayed in this novel.
Although this book may appeal primarily to the young adult market, there is plenty here for the older reader as well.
There were a few minor “gleeps” (Salem Willows hasn’t had amusement rides for a number of years) but Ms. Hall has accurately captured the aura of small-town New England life. She has made it possible to revisit “Peyton Place” (look it up on the Internet) in the 21st century.
What happens when a free-spirited mother and daughter from California return to the mother’s staid New England hometown? How threatened are the members of the local “girl’s club” who terrorize those who don’t fir into their vision of the town? How will that California girl affect her cousin who is New England through and through? Who is watching their family? There are a lot more questions raised during the course of this book. Some of them even get answered.
Add to the mystery a bit of knowledge about runes, their meanings and the insight they invoke, and you have just the spice you need to keep you reading late into the night.
Ms. Hall’s debut novel has, I hope, set the stage for more to come (she has promised at least one more novel in this series [The Lost Sister]. I eagerly await its publication and look forward to more work by this talented and engaging author