When Beth’s world falls apart, can she ever be whole again?
Beth has a gift of healing—which is why she wants to become a vet and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. Her father’s dream of helping men in trouble and giving them a second chance is her dream too. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all.
Beth scrambles to redeem her mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a mystery complicates her life. The repercussions grow more unbearable—a lawsuit, a death, a divided family, and the looming loss of everything she cares about. Beth’s only hope is to find the grandfather she never knew and beg for his help. Confused, grieving, and determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.
Set in the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado, House of Mercy follows Beth through the valley of the shadow of death into the unfathomable miracles of God’s goodness and mercy.
“Healy has proven she has what it takes to write a fast paced supernatural thriller guaranteed to keep you hooked right until the last page, and beyond.” —TitleTrakk.com
About the Author
Erin Healy is the bestselling coauthor of Burn and Kiss (with Ted Dekker) and an award-winning editor for many bestselling authors. She owns WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Academy of Christian Editors. Her novels include such thrilling stories as Never Let You Go, The Baker’s Wife, and Stranger Things. She and her family live in Colorado.
Read an Excerpt
HOUSE OF MERCY
By ERIN HEALY
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Erin Healy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt wasn't every day that an old saddle could improve a horse's life.
That was what Beth Borzoi was thinking as she stood in the dusty tack room that smelled like her favorite pair of leather boots. In the back corner where the splintering-wood walls met, she tugged the faded leather saddle off the bottommost rung of the heavy-duty rack, where it had sat, unused and forgotten, for years.
Her little brother, Danny, would have said she was stealing the saddle. He might have called her a kleptomaniac. That was too strong a word, but Danny was fifteen and liked to throw bold words around, cocky-like, show-off rodeo ropes aimed at snagging people. She loved that about him. It was a cute phase. Even so, she had formed a mental argument against the characterization of herself as a thief, in case she needed to use it, because Danny was too young to understand the true meaning of even stronger words like sacrifice or situational ethics.
After all, she was working in secret, in the hidden folds of a summer night, so that both she and the saddle could leave the Blazing B unnoticed. In the wrong light, it might look like a theft.
The truth was, it was not her saddle to give away. It was Jacob's saddle, though in the fifteen years Jacob had lived at the ranch, she had never seen him use it. The bigger truth was that this saddle abandoned to tarnish and sawdust could be put to better use. The fenders were plated with silver, pure metal that could be melted down and converted into money to save a horse from suffering. Decorative silver bordered the round skirt and framed the rear housing. The precious metal had been hammered to conform to the gentle rise of the cantle in the back and the swell in the front. The lovely round conchos were studded with turquoise. Hand-tooled impressions of wild mountain flowers covered the leather everywhere that silver didn't.
In its day, it must have been a fine show saddle. And if Jacob valued that at all, he wouldn't have stored it like this.
Under the naked-bulb beams of the tack room, Beth's body cast a shadow over the pretty piece as she hefted it. She blew the dirt and dander off the horn, swiped off the cracked seat with the flat of her hand, then turned away her head and sneezed. Colorado's dry climate had not been kind to the leather.
She wasn't stealing. She was saving an animal's life.
The latch on the barn door released Beth to the midnight air with a click like a stolen kiss. The saddle weighed about thirty-five pounds, which was easy to manage when snatching it off a rack and tossing it onto a horse's back. But it would feel much heavier by the time she reached her destination. She'd parked her truck a ways off where the rumbling old clunker wouldn't raise questions or family members sleeping in the nearby ranch house. She'd left her dog at the foot of Danny's bed with clear orders to stay. She hoped the animal would mind.
Energized, she crossed the horses' yard. A few of them nickered greetings at her, including Hastings, who nuzzled her empty pockets for treats. The horses never slept in the barn's stalls unless they were sick. Even in winter they stayed in the pasture, preferring the outdoor lean-to shelters.
The Blazing B, a 6,500-acre working cattle ranch, lay to the northwest of Colorado's San Luis Valley. The region was called a valley because this portion of the state was a Rocky Mountain hammock that swung between the San Juans to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east. But at more than seven thousand feet, it was no low-lying flatland. It was, in fact, the highest alpine valley in the world. And it was the only place in the world that Beth ever wanted to live. Having graduated from the local community college with honors and saved enough additional money for her continuing education, she planned to leave in the fall to begin her first year of veterinary school. She would be gone as long as it took to earn her license, but her long-term plan was to return as a more valuable person. Her skills would save the family thousands of dollars every year, freeing up funds for their most important task—providing a home and a hard day's work to discarded men who needed the peace the Blazing B had to offer.
On this late May night, a light breeze stirred the alfalfa growing in the pasturelands while the cattle grazed miles away. The herds always spent their summers on public lands in the mountains while their winter feed grew in the valley. They were watched over by a pool rider, a hired man who was a bit like a cow's version of a shepherd. He stayed with them through the summer and would bring them home in the fall.
With the winter calving and spring branding a distant memory, the streams and irrigation wells amply supplied by good mountain runoff, and the healthy alfalfa fields thickening with a June cutting in mind, the mood at the Blazing B was peaceful.
When Beth was a quarter mile beyond the barn, a bobbing light drew her attention to the west side of the pasture, where ancient cottonwood trees formed a barrier against seasonal winds and snows. She paused, her eyes searching the darkness beyond this path that she could walk blindfolded. The light rippled over cottonwood trunks, casting shadows that were indistinguishable from the real thing.
A man was muttering in a low voice, jabbing his light around as if it were a stick. She couldn't make out his words. Then the yellow beam stilled low to the ground, and she heard a metallic thrust, the scraping ring of a shovel's blade being jammed into the dirt.
Beth worried. It had to be Wally, but what was he doing out at this hour, and at this place? The bunkhouse was two miles away, and the men had curfews, not to mention strict rules about their access to horses and vehicles.
She left the path and approached the trees without a misstep. The moonlight was enough to guide her over the uneven terrain.
The cutting of the shovel ceased. "Who wants to know?"
"Beth Borzoi. Abel's daughter. I'm the one who rides Hastings."
"Well, sure! Right, right. Beth. I'm sorry you have to keep telling me. You're awfully nice about it."
The light that Wally had set on the ground rose and pointed itself at her, as if to confirm her claims, then dropped to the saddle resting against her thighs. Wally had been at the ranch for three years, since a stroke left his body unaffected but struck his brain with a short-term memory disorder. It was called anterograde amnesia, a forgetfulness of experiences but not skills. He could work hard but couldn't hold a job because he was always forgetting where and when he was supposed to show up. Here at the ranch he didn't have to worry about those details. He had psychologists and strategies to guide him through his days, a community of brothers who reminded him of everything he really needed to know. Well, most things. He had been on more than one occasion the butt of hurtful pranks orchestrated by the men who shared the bunkhouse with him. It was both a curse and a blessing that he was able to forget such incidents so easily.
Beth was the only Beth at the Blazing B, and the only female resident besides her mother, but these facts regularly eluded Wally. He never forgot her father, though, and he knew the names of all the horses, so this was how Beth had learned to keep putting herself back into the context of his life.
"You're working hard," she said. "You know it's after eleven."
"Looking for my lockbox. I saw him take it. I followed him here just an hour ago, but now it's gone."
Sometimes it was money that had gone missing. Sometimes it was a glove or a photograph, or a piece of cake from her mother's dinner table that was already in his belly. All the schedules and organizational systems in the world were not enough to help Wally with this bizarre side effect of his disorder: whenever a piece of his mind went missing, he would search for it by digging. Dr. Roy Davis, Wally's psychiatrist, had curtailed much of Wally's compulsive need to overturn the earth by having him perform many of the Blazing B's endless irrigation tasks. Even so, the ten square miles of ranch were riddled with the chinks of Wally's efforts to find what he had lost.
"That must be really frustrating," she said. "I hate it when I lose my stuff."
"I didn't lose it. A gray wolf ran off with it. I had it safe in a secret spot, and he dug it up and carried off the box in his teeth. Hauled it all the way up here and reburied it. Now tell me, what's a wolf gonna do with my legal tender? Buy himself a turkey leg down at the supermarket?"
Wally must have kept a little cash in his box. She could understand his frustration. But this claim stirred up disquiet at the back of her mind. Dr. Roy would need to know if Wally was seeing things. First off, gray wolves were hardly ever spotted in Colorado. They'd been run out of the state before World War II by poachers and hostile ranchers, and their return in recent years was little more than a rumor. Wally might have seen a coyote. But for another thing, no wild animal dug up a man's buried treasure and relocated it. Except maybe a raccoon.
A raccoon trying to run off with a heavy lockbox might actually be entertaining.
"Tell you what, Wally. If he's buried it here we'll have a better chance of finding it in the morning. When the sun comes up, I'll help you. But they'll be missing you at the bunkhouse about now. Let me take you back so no one gets upset when they see you're gone." Jacob or Dr. Roy would do bunk checks at midnight.
"Upset? No one can be as upset as I am right now." He thrust the shovel into the soft dirt at his feet. "I saw the dog do it. I tracked him all the way here, like he thought I wouldn't see him under this full moon. Fool dog—but who'd believe me? It's like a freaky fairy tale, isn't it? Well, I'd have put that box in a local vault if I didn't have to keep so many stinkin' Web addresses and passwords and account numbers and security questions at my fingertips." He withdrew a small notebook from his hip pocket and waved the pages around. It was one of the things he used to keep track of details. "Maybe I'll have to rethink that."
Beth's hands had become sweaty and a little cramped under the saddle's weight. She used her right knee to balance the saddle and fix her grip. The soft leather suddenly felt like heavy gold bricks out of someone else's bank vault.
"Well, let's go," she said. "I've got my truck right on down the lane."
"What do you have there?" Wally returned the notebook to his pocket, hefted the shovel, and picked his way out of the underbrush, finding his way by flashlight.
"An old saddle. It's been in the tack room for years." She expected Wally to forget the saddle just as quickly as he would forget this night's adventure and her promise to help him dig in the morning.
He lifted one of the fenders and stroked the silver with his thumb. "Pretty thing. Probably worth something. Not as much as that box is worth to me, though."
"We'll find it," Beth said.
"You bet we will." Wally fell into step beside her. "Thanks for the ride back, Beth. You're a good girl. You got your daddy in you."
* * *
With Jacob's old saddle resting on a blanket in the bed of her rusty white pickup, Beth followed an access road from the horse pasture by her own home down into the heart of the Blazing B.
The property's second ranch house was located more strategically to the cattle operation, and so it was known to all as the Hub. The Hub was a practical bachelor pad. Outside, the branding pens and calving sheds and squeeze chutes and cattle trucks filled up a dusty clearing around the house. Inside, the carpets and old leather furniture, even when clean, smelled like men who believed that a hard day's work followed by a dead sleep—in any location—was far more gratifying than a hot shower. The house was steeped in the scent stains of sweat and hay, horses and manure, tanned leather and barbecue smoke. The men who slept here lived like the bachelors they were. If their daily labors weren't enough to impress a woman, the cowboys couldn't be bothered with her.
Dr. Roy Davis, known affectionately by all as Dr. Roy, was a lifelong friend of Beth's father. Years ago, after the death of Roy's wife, Abel and Roy merged their professional passions of ranching and psychiatry and expanded the Blazing B's purpose. It became an outreach to functional but wounded men like Wally who needed a home and a job. Dr. Roy brought his teenage son, Jacob, along. Now thirty-one, Jacob had never found reason to leave, except for the years he'd spent away at college earning multiple degrees in agriculture and animal management. Jacob had been the Blazing B's general operations manager for more than five years.
Jacob and his father shared the Hub with Pastor Eric, who was a divorced minister, and Emory, a therapist who was once a gang leader. These men were the Borzois' four full-time employees.
The other men who lived at the Blazing B were called "associates." They occupied the bunkhouse, some for a few weeks and some for years. At present there were six, including Wally.
When Beth stopped her truck in front of the Hub's porch, Wally slipped off the seat of her cab, closed the rusty door, and went directly around back to the bunkhouse. She pulled away and had reached the end of the drive when a rut jarred the truck and rattled the shovel he'd left in the truck bed.
In spite of her hurry to take Jacob's saddle to the people who needed it, she put the truck in park, jumped out, and jogged the tool up to the house. The porch light lit the squeaky wood steps, and she took them two at a time. Jacob would see the tool in the morning when he came out to start up his own truck and head out to whatever project was on the schedule. She'd phone him to make sure.
She was tipping the handle into the corner where the porch rail met the siding when the Hub's front door opened and Jacob leaned out.
"Past your bedtime, isn't it?" he said, but he was smiling at her. Over the years they had settled into a comfortable big-brother-little- sister relationship, though Beth had never fully outgrown her adolescent crush on him.
"Found Wally digging up by the barn," she said.
Surprise pulled his dark brows together. "Now? Where is he?"
"Back in bed, I guess. He said he followed a wolf up to our place. You might want Dr. Roy to look into that. Your dad should know if Wally's ... seeing things."
Jacob nodded as he stepped out the door and leaned against the house. He crossed his arms. "Coyote maybe?"
"Try suggesting that to him. And when was the last time we had a coyote down here? It's been ages—not since Danny gave up his chicken coop."
"I'll mention that to Dad. It's probably nothing. What had you out at the barn at this hour? Horses okay?"
"Fine." Beth's eyes swiveled down to her truck, to Jacob's saddle, both well beyond reach of the porch light. She tried to recall all her justifications for taking the saddle, but in that moment all she could think was that she should get his permission to do it. She'd known this man more than half her life. He was kind. He was wise. He'd say yes. He'd want her to take it.
But she said, "I'm headed out to the Kandinskys' place. They've got a horse who injured his eye, and it's pretty bad. They let it go too long, you know, hoping it would correct itself, maybe wouldn't need a big vet bill."
"The Kandinskys have their own vet on the premises. Who called you out?"
"It's not one of their horses, actually. It's Phil's. Remember him?"
"Your friend from high school?"
"He's been working there a year or so. They let him keep the horse on the property. One of the perks."
"But he can't use their vet?"
Beth looked at her feet. "Phil's family can't afford their vet. You know how that goes. We couldn't afford him. His family doesn't even have pets, you know. They run a grocery store. The horse is his little sister's project. A 4H thing."
"Well, tell Phil I said he called the right gal for the job."
"I don't know, Jacob. It sounds really bad. These eye things—the horse might need surgery."
She found it unusually difficult to look at him, though she was sure he was studying her with a suspicious stare by now. But she couldn't look at the truck either. Her eyes couldn't find an object to rest on.
"All you can do is all you can do, Beth. That'll be as true after you're licensed as it is now."
"But I want to do miracles," she said.
He chuckled at that, though she hadn't been joking. "Don't we all." He uncrossed his arms and put his hand on the doorknob, preparing to go back inside. "I heard some big-shot Thoroughbred breeder is boarding some of his studs there," Jacob said. "Some friend of theirs passing through."
"I heard that too."
"Maybe that'll be Phil's miracle this time—an unexpected guest, someone with the right know-how or the right resources who will come to his horse's rescue."
"Angels unaware," Beth said.
"Something like that. Night, Beth."
Beth didn't want him to go just yet. "Night."
She lingered at the door while it closed, hoping he might intuit what she didn't have the courage to say.
Excerpted from HOUSE OF MERCY by ERIN HEALY Copyright © 2012 by Erin Healy. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was an exceptionally good book! This is the 2nd bool of hers that i have read and already purchased another one for my nook. she is going on my favorite author's list. Read this book. Its very hard to put down!
Erin Healy’s House of Mercy (Thomas Nelson Publishers) follows a young lady named Bethesda (Beth) whose family lives on a generationally cattle-ranch turned sanctuary to rehab troubled men. She dreams of becoming a vet, due to her easy intuition at healing animals, and is about to go off to vet school. One night she makes a quick decision that turns into a very foolish mistake. This mistake put’s her dream at stake as well as her family’s livelihood causing Beth’s relationships with her family take quite the toll. As she tries to right each wrong she continuously finds herself in more trouble and her decisions continue to have a domino effect. Mercy becomes personified and Beth discovers a spiritual gift. She starts to believe in this gift that she cannot control and follows Mercy to once again try to right her wrongs. House of Mercy turns even more tragic and the magnitude of consequence is made clear. While not all the tragedies that ensue are clearly due to Beth, it is argued that she is the cause. Her family ties continue to sever as she fights for control to fix her wrongs and she is given a task to complete that may fix almost everything. This request unravels a family secret and sets her directly on a journey toward mercy. She is given an ultimatum and flees the situation to begin her journey and attempt to fix her problems. Healy does a great job at keeping the reader on the edge of their seat; suspensefully relaying Beth’s journey. The story is heartbreakingly universal. Beth is constantly trying to fix things herself without relying on anyone else, including God. As she journeys to fulfill the request set out for her, and find her grandfather she is forced to learn to rely on Mercy or suffer even more consequences. The constant challenges that Healy’s character’s face and the extreme abruptness that it takes until they listen to God makes them incredibly relatable. House of Mercy exemplifies through Beth how decisions that may seem harmless sometimes carry negative consequences, but are not always a death sentence. Healy also quite realistically describes through Beth’s journey that the plan God lays out for us is not always easy; human pride often gets in the way of His Mercy. Beth must learn to relinquish control and let God use not only her but the people around her to turn her situation back on track. Healy also relates to the reader in the truth that these other vessels also may take some work before they are willing vessels, and that is sometimes quite the fight. Healy keeps it real; not all of the characters accept God’s mercy. The story ends on a suspenseful note, leaving room for some of the characters to change their minds. House of Mercy, released August 2012, is a riveting, fast-paced read with a redemptive lesson on what mercy truly means. It is available in paperback or e-book form and Healy includes at the end of the novel the story of when she read a real life wolf that inspired her story of Mercy.
Author: Erin Healy Published By: Thomas Nelson Age Recommended:5 YA - Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Book Blog For: GMTA Rating: Review: "House of Mercy" by Erin Healy not only mysterious, suspenseful, adventurous, supernatural, inspirational, but also a wonderful intriguing christian fiction. This setting was from the southern Colorado area with this author giving us a beautiful full descriptions of life on a ranch. The main character in this novel, Bethesda Borzios (Beth) who had wanted to be a Vet since she was a little girl, but one night she had gotten herself in a situation that changed her life forever..."because of her decision Beth's family is about to lose their home and ranch." You will soon find out find out that Beth's family also had issues of their own (that brother, Levi ... wow)! I loved how this author was able to 'show us God's mercy and grace,' that even in bad many times because of the choices we make ..God is their and does bring us through it all. As Beth goes on a journey to the mountains to find someone she didn't know had existed, her grandfather. While maturing...she learns to put her faith and trust in God. The "House of Mercy" will also offer to the reader some 'mystical wolf' that is entered into this story offering some 'supernatural element.' Now what is that about? The main question that will be answered: "Does Beth have enough faith to follow where God is leading her?" and "Can she trust a wolf?" Get ready because it really get interesting. Now, to really get the true fill for this novel I can only say you will have to pick up this novel to see how this author brings it all together. It is truly a excellent read. "House of Mercy" was a strong, well written read with characters that seemed to come to life as you read. Would I recommend this read? YES!
Beth has a gift of healing—which is why she wants to become a vet and help her family run their fifth-generation cattle ranch. Her father’s dream of helping men in trouble and giving them a second chance is her dream too. But it only takes one foolish decision for Beth to destroy it all.Beth scrambles to redeem her mistake, pleading with God for help, even as a mystery complicates her life. The repercussions grow more unbearable—a lawsuit, a death, a divided family, and the looming loss of everything she cares about. Beth’s only hope is to find the grandfather she never knew and beg for his help. Confused, grieving, and determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.Set in the stunningly rugged terrain of Southern Colorado, House of Mercy follows Beth through the valley of the shadow of death into the unfathomable miracles of God’s goodness and mercy. This is my second Erin Healy book that I read and I was not disappointed. Healy describes her writing as supernatural suspense, and this book reflects that. Just like in The Baker's Wife, Healy does a fantastic job setting up the story quickly and you are immersed from the first page of wanting to know what is going to happen to this person. Her characters and writing is so real. To the point that I was getting frustrated and disliked some personalities and had a breaking heart for others. Putting the fiction aspect aside, the spiritual asset was oh so rich. One part that grasped my heart was during one scene where Beth was having a little conversation with God about healing her grandfather. The gist of it was that God could've healed her grandfather Himself, but He was choosing to use Beth as a way to heal her grandfather, to show her what His mercy looks like. How many times do I miss this in my own life? Where God could so easily do something all by Himself, but instead chooses to do something by using me, to show me His character, grace, mercy and love? Still chewing, mulling and digesting this nugget that I believe is so profound. This is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it. Booksneeze sent me this complimentary book to review for them. Opinions of this book are my own.
House of Mercy by Erin Healy Beth Borzoi lives on a ranch and loves animals, especially horses. She aspires to be a vet. Because of a freak accident involving a wolf and another rancher’s valuable horse, her family will lose their ranch and ministry. Her father believes that her estranged grandfather, Garner Remke, holds the key to rescuing their ranch. Shortly before her father’s death, he urges Beth to search out Garner and bring him home. She goes in search of him on horseback, but is followed by a mysterious wolf, perhaps the same one that caused her catastrophic accident. She manages to find Garner, but he is fighting for his life and Beth must now try to save him from probable death. Erin Healy is one of my favorite Christian writers. This book had layers of plot that kept me reading, despite the fact that I am not a fan of Western novels. The author weaves a thread of the supernatural throughout this book, and I find myself still trying to grasp the symbolism. The book ended, but left me wanting to know more of what happened after the last page. I hope there will be a sequel as many questions were left unanswered. I intend to read as many as books as Erin Healy writes. She is an excellent writer and I highly recommend her works. My thanks to Booksneeze, which provided the free e-book for me and this is my honest review
Erin Healy is back with another story that takes twists and turns through the natural and supernatural worlds. This author's books tend to have a strong supernatural thread, and House of Mercy follows in that vein. The book tackles the idea of whether we believe God is good when things don't go the way we expect. It's a question I've wrestled with and imagine many of us have. The story is told through the lens of Beth, an aspiring vet who risks everything her family has worked for in a late night ride on a thoroughbred that goes very wrong. Her family is torn apart and she is determined to make things right. The plot wanders through a lot of ground, telling the story through the voice of several characters. In the end all the stories come back to the concept of mercy. Will we accept it? And will we grant it. The story does not wrap up in a neat package...instead leaving room for a sequel. This book is for those who like strong characters, don't like endings that are easy to anticipate, and want a story that doesn't fit in a neat box.
Beth has a desire to become a vet. Right now she is striving to cure horses with the touch of her hand, as well as help the family out at the cattle ranch. Her and her father's dream is to help those give a second chance. But Beth makes a foolish decision that destroys every thing. In order to redeem her mistakes she looks for God's help, even when things fall apart in the family: a death, and a lawsuit just waiting to happen. On her journey she encounters a wolf that then becomes her guide. I did enjoy this book. Beth reminded me of myself. I was able to understand what was going on in her mind, and the deep love she has for animals and God. Trusts in God that he can help guide her to make it right. The only thing that I found that I did not like about the book was it being an eBook version. I hated that it was one thousand pages on a tiny screen. I would recommend it in print if you don't have a iPad. Booksneeze supplied me with the eBook version of House of Mercy.
A book I never wanted to end...I felt like I was walking with my hand in Gods. Erin Healy has written a powerful book, and we experience good and evil. Bethesda Borzios has wanted to be a Vet since she was a little girl, but one night a wrong decision [or was it the right one] changes her life forever. Because of her decision her family is about to loose their home and ranch. Beth is determined to remedy what she has broke, but how. Does she have enough faith to follow where God is leading her? Can she trust a wolf? She does finally name the persistent wolf Mercy. When her brother Levi tells her he has sold her truck, she goes looking for it on the ranch. This leads to a series of events that eventually brings her to her Grandfather...maybe just in time. Here we meet evil head on, and will have to wonder who will be the winner. I see there is a sequel to the book coming next year...can't wait!! I received this book Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.
Before I began reading House of Mercy, I read reviews that said the story was interesting and others saying they didn't enjoy the magical aspects of the story. I decided I would read it anyways and decide for myself. While the author painted a picture that felt utterly surreal, her plot lacked the excitement that would urge me to speedily finish the novel. As it was, it took me a week and a half to finish it (if I to some extent like a book, it'll take me two days to finish tops). During a midnight ride, a wolf attacks Beth, scarring her...and leaving behind healing powers at her fingertips, a dead stud horse, a furious owner, and a lawsuit threatening to bring her family's ranch to its knees. Ultimately, her family is torn apart at the scenes because of a stupid decision Beth made. Feeling unwelcome and wanting to right her wrongs, Beth sets off on a journey to locate her estranged grandfather. There were many things keeping me from really liking this book. The magical, mystical thing was a little odd, weird, and hard to really enjoy. It was frustrating how Beth never seemed to have any emotions and how she didn't seem to find anything wrong with her actions. Also, there were so many sub-plots taking you away from the main one that I quickly disengaged. It was sort of like watching a movie with more commercials in between the segments than the movie itself. At the end of the book, there wasn't a lot of closure. The theme was mercy, and that's good and all, we all need it and need to show it. But the reason I wouldn't recommend this book is because it drifted so far away from the original theme, that it was more confusing than enjoying to read. It was a task to finish House of Mercy. But I've heard many things about Erin Healy, so I might try another book by her, but this one is not a book I'll ever read again. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
The Blazing B was a 6500 acre cattle ranch that was created when Abel Borzoi and Dr. Roy Davis merged their professional passions of ranching and psychiatry and expands Blazing B's purpose. It became and outreach to functional but wounded men who needed a home and a job, like Wally, who had been at the ranch for three years, since a stroke left his body unaffected but struck his brain with a short-term memory disorder. It was called anterograde amnesia, a forgetfulness of experiences but not skills. Those who know her, call her the horse whisperer, but those who don't know her as Beth Borzoi, Abel's daughter. Now studying to gain her veterinarian's license she works at understanding the spirits of the animals she works with, something her father feels she has a true calling for. It doesn't help that she is still suffering from a crush on her father's partner's son, Jacob who also works on the ranch. He's been the Blazing B's general operations manager for more than 5 years. While working late doing a favor for a friend, Phil who worked on the Kandinsky's ranch raising thoroughbreds and Morgans, she attempted to work on his horse's inflamed eye. After realizing this infection had gone on too long, she called for the Blazing B's vet. While waiting, she was offered a ride on one of the most prized Thoroughbred, Java, Java, Go Joe! Even though it was late, she knew that the horse could see far better than she did and when she gave him full and complete control of the reins, he raced faster than she ever dreamed possible, until she sensed a change in Joe's demeanor. Beth soon realizes that the horse is now running for his life and just out of the corner of her eye, she spots it, a gray wolf. Before she knows it the wolf has anticipated her moves and launches at her from the front, knocking her from the horse and taking down the Thoroughbred as well. Luckily for Beth, the horse missed landing on her but her arm is pinned beneath him. Now she awaits for the wolf's final attack on them both. WOW is all I can say as this novel, House of Mercy by Erin Healy opens up on some exciting action just within the first couple of chapters and already has the reader breathless on the edge of their seat, you just know it's only going to intensify. I love it when a novel engages me so much that I find myself literally holding my breath waiting for the outcome and this one has plenty to suit those who crave suspense and action! But how will this outcome now affect what Beth wanted for her life? Will she be able to continue to pursue her dream of caring for animals as a veterinarian or will the accident claim the life she dreamed of in ways she couldn't imagine? You'll have to pick up House of Mercy by Erin Healy to find out. I received this novel compliments of B & B Media Group for my honest opinion and LOVED every minute of it. It was engaging and taught the lessons of what happens when God's mercy is poured out on own lives even though we feel we don't deserve it. It also teaches us that no matter how long we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death, we will rise to the mountaintop someday and the view will be worth the wait. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars!
House of Mercy is one of those books where I became so absorbed in the character's lives, so worked up over the unjust treatment Beth received (especially from her brother), that I could barely sit still while reading it due to my desire to reach down into its pages and make people behave! Erin Healy is a fabulous author, seeming to effortlessly combine a unique, fast-paced plot with suspense and elements of the supernatural. She excels at creating characters who pulse with life, who are set down in situations that immediately draw upon your sympathies and have you rooting for them to succeed. Beth is a character who broke my heart after she finds herself in dire circumstances, suffering from a horrible mistake with far-reaching consequences. However, not only was Beth a well-developed character, but the rest of the cast of characters who star in this novel were equally well-fleshed out (and I must say that the villain is ever so creepy, mostly due to her normal and respectable exterior caging the mind of a delusional killer!). What I loved most about this story is Erin's portrayal of God's mercy, and the profound truth that God is good. I love where Beth is asked "Why do you follow such a God?" and answers "because I believe he is good. Not because he gives me what I want, but just because he is. He doesn't owe me any other explanation". That, indeed, is truth to live by. The conclusion is true-to-life, providing resolution while reminding that in reality not everything works out perfectly, and while the story doesn't leave you hanging per se, I for one would love to see Beth return in a future novel. There's so much to like here, from the excellent characters and the enjoyable plot, to the miracles and the unique role of the wolf, to the faith that has been woven into the book's pages. I award this book 5 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and Rick Roberson of B & B Media Group.
House of Mercy by Erin Healy was a really good read. Not quite as absorbing as the books she has co authored with Ted Dekker. However, those books have an additional element of suspense. This book has its own element of suspense. When Beth makes a decision the repercussions show that one wrong step can set off a chain of events. She finds herself lost, ostracized from her family in the midst of great grief; and facing down the possibility that she could lose everything she loves. She searches for the answer, and pleads with God to provide the solution. “Confused, grieving and determined to make amends, she embarks on a horseback journey across the mountains, guided by a wild, unpredictable wolf who may or may not be real.” As always God is faithful to redeem even our worst mistakes. This is the beauty of His infinite mercy. This is the heart of Erin Healy's story. Even in the middle of our foolishness God reaches down and turns circumstances that seem impossible into a story that glorifies Him. This book was a great reminder of this truth.
This book, House of Mercy by Erin Healy, had a lot of potential when I read the synopsis, however, it took me a long time to get into. I read this on my Kindle, and I kept thinking to myself, I'm only at 40%? And the thought continued throughout. However, once I got to about 70% (again, reading on my Kindle), I was intrigued and interested in the outcome. As I mentioned, the book had a slow start. It seemed that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was going wrong for Beth and her family. Beth is an aspiring vet, at least this is what she wants to go to school for in order to work on a farm helping animals. She seeks to help someone out and ends up "stealing a horse" according to the horse owners, and inevitably injuring the horse and her family in the outcome. Her family is injured because they are being sued for practically eveything, but all they really have is the farm. As I was reading the opening chapters, I just kept thinking, "Wow, this book is kind of depressing". In another small town near Beth's families farm, is her grandfather whom she doesn't know because her mother and him are estranged. The characters that develop in this story are really hard to "love". I feel if I don't love the characters, it is more difficult to get into a book. The book was not all bad though. The message behind the book was great! The message that I received is that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want him to. However, he is alwasy PRESENT and he is always showing us Mercy. Thank you Booksneeze for the opportunity to read this book.
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