Tiffany Baker, whose debut, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, was a bestseller, proves with her third book that she is a novelist with staying power. Mercy Snow is the story of two disparate families in a small New Hampshire town, irrevocably linked because of a murky history and a present-day tragedy.
In the town of Titan Falls, the citizens and its one lingering industry, the paper mill, are on the brink of financial ruin. The McAllister family has owned the mill for several generations. June McAllister, wife of the mill owner and undisputed first lady in her community, lives her life as one would expect: head of the sewing circle, best dressed, front row in church every Sunday.
Young Mercy Snow has returned to the family homestead with her rebellious brother, Zeke, and younger sister, Hannah. The siblings are gypsies with just a rusty RV and a few dollar bills to their name when they arrive to lay claim to their family’s land, and Baker’s most powerful prose comes in her depictions of the Snows’ poverty. They are literally starving, and it seems as if the townspeople are as unforgiving as the winter they are suffering through.
One night, a bus returning from a high school field trip is run off the road by a reckless driver, killing a local girl. The authorities immediately blame Zeke, but Mercy knows that her brother is innocent and is determined to clear him of the accusation. June, on the other hand, is resolute in her mission to blame the girl’s death on Zeke.
In June, Baker has created a complex character: doting mother, dutiful wife who possesses a cold heart and an animalistic need to protect her family at any cost. However, June has never met a force as implacable as Mercy. The two are equally determined to protect their loved ones, but their separate quests for truth also open wounds and long-buried secrets from the past.
Baker is an expert in placing the reader into the souls of her characters. Readers will be eager to see what’s next from this talented writer.