Angel of Mercy

Angel of Mercy

4.8 48
by Lurlene McDaniel

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Heather Barlow has always been an idealist and now that she’s finished high school, she’s ready to make a difference in the world. After graduation, she joins a mission group on a hospital mercy ship sailing to Africa. Once she’s left the ship on the Kenyan coast and is stationed at a hospital in Uganda, however, Heather is not really prepared to… See more details below


Heather Barlow has always been an idealist and now that she’s finished high school, she’s ready to make a difference in the world. After graduation, she joins a mission group on a hospital mercy ship sailing to Africa. Once she’s left the ship on the Kenyan coast and is stationed at a hospital in Uganda, however, Heather is not really prepared to face the disease, famine, and misery she encounters.

Ian McCollum is also among the medical staff in Uganda. Ian has left his native Scotland to help those threatened by a world of indifference. When Heather meets Ian, she finds her heart quickens and she’s happy to be alive. But as the weeks pass, Heather finds her idealism vanishing amid the overcrowded refugee camps and orphanages; misery is everywhere. Only Ian can see beyond the horror and help Heather understand that the world can be changed by saving those in need, one by one.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Voya Reviews
McDaniel books, contrary to appearances, are not just about death and dying. They are about living life to its fullest--no matter what, good and bad--as the stories reflect small slices of life. These latest books transport readers into the lives of Heather Barlow, daughter of successful plastic surgeon parents who met as Peace Corps volunteers, and her younger sister, Amber. Heather has it all--looks, brains, and a mission in life. In Angel of Mercy, beautiful, altruistic Heather meets kind, handsome, selfless medical student Ian on the hospital ship Mercy, headed for Africa. Hearts flutter, lives are saved, and romance takes root. When a rescue mission for a baby needing surgery in war-torn Uganda goes awry, Ian dies. Heather risks all to save the baby, barely succeeding before returning home a changed person. In the companion book, Angel of Hope, Heather persuades her plastic surgeon mother to go to Africa to operate on the baby. Heather becomes ill before the trip, and self-absorbed Amber takes her place. The surgery is successful; Amber falls in love with a young and handsome engineering student doing fieldwork at the mission. Heather dies from a disease she acquired in Africa. Amber goes back to Africa. Will she carry out her sister's dream and find love and meaning in life? Wait for the third book, Angel of Love, to find out. Are these titles good reads for McDaniel fans? Absolutely! They also serve as a fine introduction for a new generation of readers. McDaniel knows her audience and gives them well-written books that follow a successful death and dying, medical problems, character growth, and trials of life formula. Christian faith is handled as matter-of-factly as eye color;it is an integral part of the characters. Despite formulaic plots, readers will be eager for the third book to find out what happens to Amber and Boyce. This series is a recommended purchase wherever McDaniel's books are popular--everywhere. NOTE: This review was written to address two books Angel of Hope and Angel of Mercy. VOYA CODES: 3Q 5P M J (Readable without serious defects; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 1999, Bantam, Ages 12 to 15, 211p. PLB $8.95. Reviewer: Roxy Ekstrom
School Library Journal
Gr 7-11-Heather Barlow, 18, is excited and nervous as the Anastasis, a hospital Mercy Ship leaves port. She knows that the months ahead will be unlike anything she has ever experienced. Volunteering with a mission group in Africa for several months is her attempt to make a difference in the world. What she doesn't anticipate is falling in love with Ian McCollum, an attractive medical intern and seminary student. In Uganda, Heather sees disease, death, and destruction ravaging the thousands who look to her team for help. Then Ian leaves to rescue a baby in Sudan, his plane goes down, and she must deal with his death and complete the rescue mission. The plot develops slowly but carefully, as do the characters. The author uses personal experiences to give a solid background and flavor to the story. While the book has a decidedly Christian slant, most readers will be caught up in the passion and sorrow of Heather's missionary experiences.- Jana R. Fine, Clearwater Public Library System, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Delacorte Press
Publication date:
Mercy Trilogy Series
Product dimensions:
4.68(w) x 7.33(h) x 0.81(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

“I can’t believe you’re giving up your entire summer and fall instead of going to college, Heather. I mean, it’s like forever! And just look where you’ll be living. How can you stand it? There’s no room to move, no privacy either!”

“I’ll be home in time for Christmas,” Heather Barlow reminded her sixteen-year-old sis- ter, Amber. “And I don’t care about the living conditions. As for college, I’ll start in January. You’ll hardly know I’m gone.”

At eighteen, Heather was going off on a Mercy Ship to work in Africa, to try to make a difference in a place where children starved to death or died from terrible illnesses. She had grown up wanting to do something worthwhile with her life, but now that she was actually on board the ship, now that it was almost time to say goodbye to her family, Heather was beginning to feel the clutch of self-doubt. And Amber’s reluctance to see her leave wasn’t helping.

Amber glanced around the cramped quarters. “It’s just so—so primitive.”

Ignoring Amber’s complaints, Heather opened her duffel bags and began putting her clothes into the narrow drawers of the dresser bolted to the wall. She would be sharing this old-fashioned small stateroom with a Swedish girl named Ingrid, whom she’d not yet met.

Across the narrow room, Amber seated herself on a bed attached by cables to the metal wall of the ship. “Ugh! This mattress is so thin, I can feel the springs.”

“It’s a hospital ship, sis, not a luxury liner anymore,” Heather reminded her.

Years before, Anastasis had served as a cruise ship. But in the mid-1980s, it had been converted into a floating hospital, with three operating rooms, a dental clinic, a laboratory, and an X-ray unit. The aging ship, painted white from bow to stern, was more than five hundred feet long and nine stories high. Its staterooms, once luxurious quarters for wealthy travelers, now housed crew and staff—175 volunteers who paid their own expenses and agreed to serve a tour of duty as the ship sailed from port to port, bringing life-saving medical services to countries ravaged by disease, famine, war, and poverty.

Long-term crew members—missionary and medical personnel and their families who had signed up for extended tours of duty—were housed in the more spacious upper-deck staterooms, while short-term volunteers such as Heather were assigned the smaller rooms. The ship’s once-elegant lounge and dining areas served as conference rooms and training centers. Children of the crew and staff attended school on board.

Once the ship dropped anchor in a port, engineers, carpenters, teachers, and evangelists took medical and dental services and supplies into remote areas and inland villages. They built schools, hospitals, and housing, all with donated goods. The Mercy Ship was a floating hospital. And a vision of hope.

“Well, I think it’s a dumb idea to even be going on this trip, and I don’t know why you want to go in the first place,” Amber said, voicing her displeasure once again. “I’ll bet there’s no decent guys to date, and nowhere to go even if there were.”

Heather sighed. It irritated her when Amber sounded so frivolous. Why couldn’t she understand how important this trip was? Heather had spent so much time thinking about the trip, a whole year planning it, and ten days in May at a special boot camp preparing for it. She asked, “Are you trying to make me feel guilty? Because I won’t. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and you know it.”

Amber scuffed her fashionable shoes on the floor. “I’m going to miss you,” she said quietly.

“I’ll miss you, too.” Heather saw tears shimmering in her sister’s green eyes. “Hey, what’s this? I thought you’d be glad to have the house to yourself. And no big sister to be in your way when school starts, either. You always said you couldn’t wait until me and my friends were out of high school so that you and your friends could have the halls all to yourself.” Heather sat beside Amber on the bunk and put her arm around Amber’s shoulders.

“What fun is there in being home by myself? Mom and Dad won’t have anything to do but go to work. And grouse at me, of course. You’re the one they think is perfect in this family, you know.”

“They grouse at you now,” Heather teased gently. “So what will be different?”

“You won’t be there to get them off my case.”

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