Monday, February 10, 2020

Books: "Mercy House," On A Safe Haven In Bed-Stuy

Mercy House
By Alena Dillon
William Morrow Paperback Originals; $16.99; available Tuesday, February 11

A century-old row house in Bedford-Stuyvesant is presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn, who is gruff on the surface, but warm and wry underneath.

Evelyn and her fellow sisters make Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Little daunts Evelyn, that is, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Catholic Church may be uncovered. Even also has secrets that are dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Mercy House faces the timely and unfortunate truths facing the Catholic Church today, with a diverse cast of characters and displaying the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to give it. 

The heart and soul of this moving debut novel from Alena Dillon is about women coming together to take care of one another, no matter the cost.

Dillon's deep admiration for nuns was cultivated by her time working with the Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Joseph's College. She is a creative writing professor in Boston, whose pursuit of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary has fueled her work, which has appeared in outlets including Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, and Seventh Wave.

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