Erin Healy’s House of Mercy (Thomas Nelson Publishers) follows a young lady named Bethesda (Beth) whose family lives on a generationally ran 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 to 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 met a real life wolf that inspired her story of Mercy.
Find out more about Erin Healy here: http://www.erinhealy.com/