Hidden Mercies

Hidden Mercies

by Serena B. Miller


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451660357
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 04/09/2013
Edition description: Original
Pages: 348
Sales rank: 493,379
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Prior to writing novels, Serena Miller wrote for many periodicals, including Woman’s World, Guideposts, Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and The Detroit Free Press Magazine. She has spent many years partnering with her husband in full-time ministry and lives on a farm in southern Ohio near a thriving Amish community.

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Hidden Mercies

chapter ONE

Twenty-seven years later . . .

Time had slowed to a crawl for Captain Tom Miller. The minute hand on the hospital clock seemed to take forever to make it around the clockface. Finally the big hand hit eight o’clock, and he congratulated himself for having made it through another hour. The almost imperceptible tick-tick-tick of the clock had become a constant companion, ticking away the seconds of his life.

The nurse kept her eyes averted as she fussed with taking the lids off the various containers of his breakfast tray. He didn’t blame her. There was a mirror on the underside of his bed tray. He had seen the damage. If he were her, he would keep his eyes averted, too.

Evidently it had fallen on her to feed him today. She must have drawn the short straw.

“The weather?” His voice was raspy. Inhaling the heat from the explosion had caused damage.

The nurses had learned to have the answer ready to that question before they came through the door in the morning. The weather had become a small obsession with him. It reassured him that the outdoors still existed.

“Cold and snowy,” she said.

“How cold?” he asked. “How snowy?”

“Maybe four or five inches fell overnight,” she said. “I don’t know the exact temperature, but it was so cold this morning, I had to wear my heaviest coat.”

From his room at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he could see the sky . . . but only the sky. There had been a heavy layer of nimbostratus clouds yesterday evening, and he had silently predicted that there would be anywhere from three to six inches of snow accumulation before morning. It gave him a small feeling of pride that he had predicted correctly. A man didn’t spend as many hours in the air as he had without being able to read the clouds.

“We have some yummy peach yogurt today.”

The nurse was young. She had no idea how emasculating the word yummy sounded to him. He shoved his pride down as she tucked a napkin beneath his chin. He was forty-four years old. A captain in the U.S. Marines. A decorated war hero. He had been trained to withstand torture and avoid capture, and had the skills to escape if incarcerated. The one thing necessary to his survival that he had not been taught was how to keep his ego intact while being fed like a baby.

His hands were still bandaged from instinctively shielding his face when the bomb detonated. His body was covered with multiple shrapnel wounds, and he’d had reconstructive surgery on his left jaw and cheekbone.

“Do you want a sip of milk?” The nurse opened a carton and inserted a straw into it.

Actually, he would prefer a cup of hot, black coffee, but that was not an option. The chances of getting scalded by some clumsy nurse were too great, and he refused to sip his coffee through a straw. Instead, he swallowed the milk and waited for a spoonful of—what was it she’d said? Peach yogurt?

Good grief.

Eggs and bacon would have been his first choice. Fried crisp. The eggs scrambled in real butter. Half a loaf of homemade bread, toasted, with a pot of his mother’s good strawberry jam. Now, that would be a breakfast, but until his throat healed, he was reduced to eating only those things that were easy to swallow.

The nurse glanced over her shoulder at the silent television hanging on the wall. “Do you want me to turn it on for you?”

He had been asked that question so many times.


“It would make time go faster.”


She shrugged and scraped the last bit of yogurt from the plastic container. “Suit yourself.”

The television had been blaring when he first came to this room. At the time, his throat had not healed enough to tell them to turn it off. He had lain there, fighting against the most intense pain he had ever felt, wondering if he would live, wondering if he wanted to live, while being forced to listen to the canned laughter of some silly sitcom when nothing was funny.

The first whispered, raspy words out of his mouth had been “Turn that thing OFF!”

Post-traumatic stress disorder. That’s what the hospital shrink called it. PTSD.

He didn’t buy it.

In his opinion, PTSD was one of those catchphrase mental illnesses that the medical establishment used to pigeonhole and categorize people. Wrap up all the pain, shove it into a neat file folder, and tie it up with a bow.

Oh, that guy? The one with all the bandages. The one sensitive to noise. He has PTSD. Classic symptoms. Understandable under the circumstances. Okay, next patient.

He did not believe that he had PTSD. What he had was a perfectly reasonable desire for quiet. Raised voices, canned laughter, stupid commercials—noise of any kind made his nerves fizz with anxiety and irritation.

Now, at least, he could lie in blessed silence—or as close to it as a hospital could get—dozing in a drug-induced stupor after the morphine shots, enduring the minutes after it had worn off until the next shot was due.

He did not complain. Marines did not complain, and even though he was battered and broken, what was left of him was still every inch a soldier.

He was not a man who often prayed unless the helicopter he was flying was under fire. Then he would toss off a quick prayer during evasive maneuvers. More often than not, that prayer included a few curse words.

Since the explosion, a set of very specific prayers began running through his head.

If you’ll pull me through this, Lord, I promise to go back home and make things right with my father and Claire. Please let me live. Please let me heal. Please let me walk out of here on my own two feet. Then a scrap of Scripture, vaguely recalled. Remember not the sins of my youth.

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Hidden Mercies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Is is possible that your child could do something so horrible that you couldn't find it in your heart to forgive them? Is it possible to honestly hate your own child? After twenty seven years, Tom Miller is returning home. He is finally willing to face those he has hurt beyond belief and he only hopes that they can find it in their hearts to forgive him as well. Twenty seven years ago, things between his family and the girl he grew up loving from afar were forever changed. His brother Matthew was supposed to wake up that morning and marry Claire, but instead he was offering the opportunity to ride a new thoroughbred horse that their friend Henry owned. Knowing there wasn't a horse that Matthew couldn't ride, this was a dream come true. Only when combined with the effects of drinking and following a bit too closely in the predawn hours, the accident that killed Matthew would be something he would carry with him the rest of his life. Claire had finally moved on after learning that she was pregnant with Matthew's child just days after she was supposed to marry Matthew. How was she supposed to know that God had different plans for her than marrying the man, she though she would. Now that she is now 44, she has lived a fulfilled life as a wife and mother to Abraham, a man she married strictly out of convenience to give her son Levi, father to teach him what he needed to know to become a man. Now that she is a widow and raising her own children as well as her brother's orphan daughters, she finds that being a midwife and running a small store is enough to keep their heads above water. When Tom returns home, he finds that after serving in Afghanistan, that due to his injuries sustained when a suicide bomber blew up in front of him, no one recognizes him. The scars to his face and the change in his voice from the attack give him a chance to talk with Claire and his own father to see if he can find a way to truly seek forgiveness in their hearts. Yet Tom soon learns that it might be best if he remained unknown to them when he finds that they both bear hard feelings towards the man they wished might never have come back. I received Hidden Mercies by Serena B. Miller compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable one. Being a huge lover of Amish Fiction and having read An Uncommon Grace, I was looking forward to reading Hidden Mercies to pick up Claire's story. While it's not necessary to read An Uncommon Grace to gain a full understanding of this novel, once you read the story of Claire and Levi, you will want to go back to revisit Claire's story from the beginning. This is truly a story about the freedom that forgiveness really brings, not so much for the person we are forgiving but for us. There is such a power in letting go of bitterness, hard feelings and accepting that no matter how often we fail in life, God is always willing to extend us the mercy of His love and true forgiveness. This is a beautiful example of that in Hidden Mercies, and one I highly recommend with a 5 out of 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just got done reading this book and i thought it was wonderful. I have never read this author before but i am looking forward to reading more of her books! If you like amish romance give this book a chance It is worth it!!!!
LovenGod More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much!  I loved Claire.  She has faced horrible tragedies in her life, but she rose above the situations, making the best in each instance.  Tom was an admirable man, and once he learned that forgiving himself was the only way to move forward, he became even more likable.  This story will keep you hanging on to the very end. I enjoyed the ending of this book, it had me guessing until the end.  A great story, written beautifully!  Serena has shown that her writing skills are superb, she can keep me loving her Amish stories and her historical ones also.  An author to add to your library.  This book was provided for review purposes only, no payment was provided for this review.   352 pages US $15.00 4.5 stars
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
An amazing book, that I didn't want to end. The first book in this series was An Uncommon Grace, this story is a continuation. That being said, you can read this as a stand alone, but Serena B. Miller is such an awesome author, you don't want to miss it. We are now following Claire Shetler, whom we met previously, when her husband was brutally murdered, and Grace, now Levi's wife, saved her life. Grace also saved two year old Daniel. Joining Claire's family also are her two nieces, Mandy and Amy. That makes for a busy life for any woman. Claire is also a dedicated Midwife, and is trying to support her family by doing that. Returning after twenty seven years is Tom Miller, he has been badly injured in Afghanistan. He is a decorated Marine Helicopter pilot. He had a different name when he lived in this Ohio Amish Community, and he doesn't know how he will be received. We find a great deal of compassion on all sides, and some very surprising happenings. There is a bit of Romance, and young ones getting into trouble, also Satan taking advantage of a faithful man's weakness...not unusual. Will this community be able to give forgiveness? Your in for a really great read, and you won't be able to put this one down! I received this book from Howard Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
LFBL More than 1 year ago
I appreciate the excellent story with moral values and clean language. The story kept my interest from beginning to end. It was hard to lay it down to accomplish the work that needed doing.
dancingbookwormPS More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its characters and story. It is not your usual Amish book. God's love is seen through these characters and forgiveness is the lesson that is taught. I am anxious to read more from Serena Miller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first foray into Amish romances, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were well written, the culture explained to a satisfactory level without being pushy or condemning towards others. A good insight into the different values, allowing the reader to become engaged with the people and the plot. Definitely a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know that everyone who reads this book will love it as much as I did. It shows that we can do things that a lot of people think that they cannot do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoy a sweet, gentle romance. Find love where you'd least expect it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the Amish culture/religion is fascinating to me all of a sudden. I have read many books, this was anoher good romance novel, but also informative in the way of life, ups and downs, and how all religions should be respected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We are only human no matter what we are called. We all love, hurt, have fears even do things that we arent proud of. So, Amish,English,black white red or green...we all want the same thing love and forgiveness. Miss Miller has written a wonderful book . About the struggles we all face. Someimes it may not be the sin, the disgrace.but how you handle it. Overcome it or it will overcome you..With God all things are possible.AKS
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EraCG More than 1 year ago
This is my second Serena B. Miller book. She is an excellent story teller. Hidden Mercies is a wonderful book, perfect it doesn't get any better. I highly recommended!
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This was a sweet touching story of love and forgiveness!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Started reading it, and was hard to stop. would highly recommend it! My new favorite!
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