Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston

The Crooked Heart of Mercy
by Billie Livingston

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  Ben wakes up in a hospital with a hole in his head he can't explain. What he can remember he’d rather forget. Like how he’d spend nights as a limo driver for the wealthy and debauched….how he and his wife, Maggie, drifted apart in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy…how his little brother, Cola, got in over his head with loan sharks circling.

Maggie is alone. Again. With bills to pay and Ben in a psych ward, she must return to work. But who would hire her in the state she’s in? And just as Maggie turns to her brother, Francis, the Internet explodes with video of his latest escapade. The headline? Drunk Priest Propositions Cops.

Francis is an unlikely priest with a drinking problem and little interest in celibacy. A third DUI, a looming court date.…When Maggie takes him in, he knows he may be down to his last chance. And his best shot at healing might lie in helping Maggie and Ben reconnect—against all odds.

Kritters Thoughts:  There are two people narrating this story and one I liked and one I didn't enjoy that much.  Maggie the wife of this couple narrated the half that I liked.  I understood what story she was telling me and I grew to care about her part of the story.  On the other hand, Ben was the husband of this couple and I honestly couldn't even get his story and what he was trying to say until the bitter end and by that point I had lost any sympathy or empathy and really just didn't care about what story he was trying to tell.  

I think the biggest part of the reason why this book didn't resonate with me was Ben.  Yes, he was obviously not a trustworthy narrator because the reader knows that something is wrong with him mentally, but it was more than that I couldn't even understand what he was trying to say.

I am not sure about this one and it breaks my heart because I am a HUGE William Morrow publishing fan.  I don't usually even blink when I hear that a book is coming from their imprint!  

I am going to go read some synopsis' of Livingston's other books and maybe try one more, have you read anything else by this author?

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Book Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.


  1. I just finished Crooked Heart of Mercy on Friday. I loved it but I've been having weird dreams ever since! I ordered it after reading a review online

    The ending was so beautiful, I cried. I can't stop thinking about it and so I wanted to see what bloggers were saying. Saw a bunch of 5 star reviews but it seems like readers of "Chick lit" don't really get it. Which makes sense since this one is definitely literary fiction. My favorite parts were the Ben chapters -- The weird state that he's in... all the stream of consciousness word play, the way he's running from his shame and the feeling that he wasn't man enough to save his son and his marriage. He's in a dissociative state -- he's literally not himself. He says "Ben" is lost in the desert wrestling with Jesus and all that's left is a black hole.

    I loved Francis so much, I wanted to bring him home and take care of him. He reminded me of a priest who was at the church I used to go to. He was really funny and gentle and clearly gay. There was a rumor that he left the priesthood and married a man. I hope it's true. Like Francis, I hate to think of him living his life without someone who loves him.

    Happy reading!

  2. Marni -

    Thank you for the comment. I actually read a combination of "chick lit", literary fiction, mystery thriller and such, so this book was in my usual wheelhouse, but just didn't work for me.


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