Little Mercies


How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Harlequin UK


Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity;the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.


As much as I love reading Young Adult fiction, I do like to dive into adult fiction every now and then. Especially so when a book is as well written as Little Mercies is. Little Mercies doesn’t have a very happy and light plot, but the reason why it works so well is because it’s realistic, emotional and heart-rendering. It’s exactly what I like in a book like this.

Little Mercies follows two different viewpoints. First of all Ellen. Ellen is a happily married mother of three. She has a demanding life as a social worker. (I know I couldn’t do that job!) The action really kicks off when the reader meets Ellen on a really busy morning. Most parents could probably identify with the type of morning Ellen’s having. I know I can and I’m not a parent. Ellen leaves the house without properly consulting with her husband. Ellen drives straight to a family in trouble, not realising her own family is about to be in a LOT of trouble. Ellen’s life falls apart right in front of her. She knows the consequences of her actions and it could potentially be the end of her career and marriage!

The second person we learn about is Jenny Briand. Jenny is a ten year old in the middle of some massive upheaval in her life. Her father has lost another job and she is expected to move to another town with him for some more work. Jenny lives solely with her father, as her mother ran away with her boyfriend leaving Jenny in foster care until Jenny’s father comes to get her. Jenny’s life is about to change as well. She learns some things about her family that change the way she feels.

I thought Heather Gudenkauf used both perspectives wonderfully. I felt like I really got to know the characters so well. It may not be the easiest subject matter, but when you have characters like Ellen and Jenny, and Ellen’s supportive and lovely mother Maudene, then it’s easy to continue reading the story even if it is quite bleak. Little Mercies kept me engaged throughout. I really wanted to find out what was going to happen to our main characters. I cared about them. I thought it was fascinating how the tables were turned on Ellen, and instead of being the one that judges others, she was the one that was being judged.

I really enjoy Heather Gudenkauf’s writing. Every time I read one of her books I know that I’m in for a powerful and enjoyable read.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

2 thoughts on “Little Mercies

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