Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren


From the Publisher

There are no second chances. Or are there?

Krista Mueller is in a good place. She’s got a successful career as a professor of history; she’s respected and well-liked; and she lives hundreds of miles from her hometown and the distant mother she could never please. It’s been more than a decade since Alzheimer’s disease first claimed Charlotte Mueller’s mind, but Krista has dutifully kept her mother in a first-class nursing home.

Now Charlotte is dying of heart failure and, surprised by her own emotions, Krista rushes to Taos, New Mexico, to sit at her estranged mother’s side as she slips away. Battling feelings of loss, abandonment, and relief, Krista is also unsettled by her proximity to Dane McConnell, director of the nursing home—and, once upon a time, her first love. Dane’s kind and gentle spirit—and a surprising discovery about her mother—make Krista wonder if she can at last close the distance between her and her mother … and open the part of her heart she thought was lost forever.

My Take

Reading the description of Mercy Come Morning really hit home and I knew I needed to read it. The main character, Krista, is trying to reconcile her feelings about her mother and get over the bad relationship she had in the past with her. Krista is angry, frustrated, and unable to get past the negative feelings she has for her mother—before and after the Alzheimer’s hit.

We are going through the stages of Alzheimer’s with my mother right now. Although we had a good enough relationship while I was growing up, I’ve had many internal conflicts about her since I’ve been her caregiver for the last 4 years. I know she can’t help her actions and I know I shouldn’t take them personally, but I have a tendency to resent her---especially lately. Like Krista, I need to lean harder on my faith and forgive mom, as well as myself, so that I don’t end up bitter like Krista. Plus, like Krista, it’s so hard to have your loved one so changed from what you knew all those years growing up. We have our own expectations of who mom should be even though she can't live up to them anymore. That's where we have to forgive mom, ask for forgiveness and accept her for who she

When I began reading Mercy Come Morning, it was a bit slow. But after getting past the first few chapters, I began to feel connected with Krista. The descriptions of Taos, both the community and the winter weather, was so vividly written that I could picture it in my mind. And I loved all the thought and research Ms. Bergren put into Cimarron Care Center. It sounds like paradise for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. It’s too bad nothing like Cimarron exists in real life. Ms. Bergren definitely has a way with words and drawing the reader into her story.

Thankfully Krista reconnected with her “grandmother” Elena and her old beau, Dane. While going through those last days with her mother, Krista needed the love and support found in both of them. Their different perspectives on mom’s past helped Krista find the healing and forgiveness she needed. Sometimes appearances are deceiving and once Krista found out the reasons between her mother’s actions, she knew she had to apologize to her mother even though mom may not hear it.

Even with the slow start and some predictability surrounding Krista and Dane’s relationship, I give Mercy Come Morning 4 stars. Reading the book actually gave me some peace with my mother’s situation. Now I'm beginning to know compassion and empathy toward mom--healing and forgiveness are only a few steps away.

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah’s “Blogging for Books”  as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

About the Author

 Lisa T. Bergren is Tim's wife; Olivia (16), Emma (13) and Jack's (8) mom; a traveler  www.; a freelance editor; a writer; and an explorer of people, places and the ways of God. You can find more about her at

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