Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Read first chapter excerpt here

Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.
When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a sweet and touching novel that was spiced with mystery, danger and romance. The plot was well written and moved at an enjoyable pace that did not leave me bored but did give me time to connect with the characters and their situations. The themes of this novel were clear and concise and included topics such as the importance of prayer, cultivating a relationship with God, caring for orphans, and the importance of love and forgiveness. I loved how the author effortlessly included mentions of prayer, God, and helping others within the dialogue of her characters and how it gave more realism and depth to their personalities. The setting of this novel was also interesting as it was set in a small town in the early 1900s when people were still trying to figure out how to balance having safe factories as well as the morality of child labor. The novel was from the third person narrative, but it alternated between the perspectives of Carrie, Ollie, Letta (the young girl Ollie and Carrie are helping), and Gordon Hightower, the manager of the factory. This set-up allowed the reader to have a greater understanding of what was going on and increased the suspense as the reader is left wondering if the characters will figure it all out in time.

The characters of Echoes of Mercy are well developed and realistic. I loved both Carrie and Ollie, and how each had their own flaws and struggles with faith yet they still were able to offer strength and advice to the other as they worked through their own feelings and situations. Both had their own strengths, and I enjoyed seeing how Ollie became aware of the importance of prayer and having a relationship with God. All of the minor characters were also well developed and added to the depth and beauty of the story. Letta and her two brothers, Lank and Lesley, were sweet children who had their own struggles and worries and each of them gained new perspectives and growth as the story played out. Mr. and Mrs. Noble were a wonderful couple whose generosity and love were quite an inspiration. I loved how all of the minor and major characters fit together so well and brought out the best in one another, with one exception of course.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to reading more of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels. I received this novel for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Press through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author
Kim Vogel Sawyer is a best-selling author highly acclaimed for her gentle stories of hope. More than one million copies of her books are in print and have garnered awards including the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Kim lives in Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their four feline companions. She enjoys spending time with her three daughters and nine grandchildren.

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