The Tender Mercy of Roses: Book summary and reviews of The Tender Mercy of Roses by Anna Michaels

The Tender Mercy of Roses

A Novel

By Anna Michaels

The Tender Mercy of Roses
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  • Published in USA  May 2011,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

While the body of rodeo star Pony Jones lies motionless in the northern Alabama woods, her spirit is on a mission to find her killer. Invisible to the eye but not to the sixth sense, the only thing Pony can do is guide the living to the truth. 

Her grief-stricken father, Titus, wants nothing more than retribution for his daughter's death, so when former police detective Jo Beth Dawson comes to town, something compels him to seek out her help. 

But when Jo Beth and Titus team up to track down Pony's murderer, it turns loose a whirlwind of intense emotion and unexpected encounters. As they uncover more and more clues leading them to the killer, dark family secrets are revealed and the two must search their souls for redemption.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Michaels is obviously shooting for The Lovely Bones; while her attempt has potential, it's difficult to find the story lurking among all the problems." - Publishers Weekly

"[T]his promising first novel, with its lovely, flowing prose, uses a crime-fiction plot to frame a nuanced character study." - BookList

"The Tender Mercy of Roses is an unforgettable story told with astonishing skill and clarity by a truly gifted writer." - Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

"The Tender Mercy of Roses is an enchanting blend of the supernatural, mystery, and southern charm. Anna Michael's debut novel has magical moments of insight that took my breath away!" - Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author

"Like the most healing of our dreams, Anna Michaels slowly unfolds a heart-mending story. The Tender Mercy of Roses moves in and out of the unseen places of the soul, exposing a magical story. Surprising wisdom startles the reader in the midst of a narrative both lyrical and powerful." - Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

"I devoured this thrilling page-turner, absolutely hooked until the final scene, then went back to read again passages so lovely I wanted to savor them more fully. Now I'm spreading the word - this one is a treasure!" - Cassandra King, author of The Same Sweet Girls

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Sheila (IN)
Starts out strong, but falls flat
The basic plot is a good one, and the characters have potential to be interesting and engaging, but they get lost in metaphor and are held back by too many points of view. At first, the symbolic language is lovely and paints a picture of beauty and sadness. But it is so overdone, that by the end of the book, the constant metaphors are distracting and meaningless.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
The Tender Mercy of Roses
This book had such a lovely way in which it described all of the occurrences of “magic” in the world. The way that certain moments were described and how those moments felt mysterious and held extra meaning was just one of the elements of this story that grabbed me! I really got into the story and was rooting for both Pony (even though she had already died) --- the way her spirit kept fighting was like an supernatural sleuth and Jo Beth -- the tough dame who is bent on finding out who killed Pony. I know that sounds corny, but there wasn't anything corny about this book. If I had to describe the book in one word it would be: haunting. Not like a spooky book, but a book that you find yourself thinking about even weeks after you have read it. It was that good! The author has a lovely voice in this book. I found myself hoping that I might be able to use the same eloquence in my life as the author did in this novel. The descriptive language was a joy to read and just roll around the words in your mind. This was such a lovely book.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Colleen L. (Casco, ME)
Tender Mercy Of Roses
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It had a bit of everything in it - redemption, magic, suspense and mystery. What I enjoyed most was the quality of the author's writing. When I start to read a book, I like to have the first chapter grab me. Then I like to have the story pull me in and keep me going so that I forget how many hours I have spent reading. This author did that for me. The story flowed smoothly and effectively. I loved the author's development of her characters as well as her story line.

This was a very quick read and I was sad when the book ended. I loved the Cherokee roses that the author introduced into the novel. I thought that the addition of this made the novel very special. I sincerely hope that Anna Michaels writes more books as I will be waiting in line to purchase & read them.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Irene M. (Ashland, OR)
Roses
This is certainly an interesting debut novel. The characters are interesting, especially the voice of Pony Jones

The combination of a newly-arrived detective, a grieving father and a murdered daughter is quite compelling.

This is not a book for young children, but as an adult, I look forward to more novels by Anna Michaels.

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Viqui G. (State College, PA)
Tender Mercy of Roses-not my style
I'm not sure at what point I stopped enjoying this book. The plot is intriguing and the writer is excellent at lyrical descriptions. However, although the main characters, Jo Beth Dawson and Pony Jones are initially interesting, we don't really learn much more about them as the book progresses. Their character development is repetitive. We hear over and over again the insecurities of Jo Beth, the alcoholic ex-cop that "lost if all" and blamed others for her problems. Pony Jones, the murdered, feisty rodeo star "speaks" to Jo Beth and helps her regain confidence in herself. However, the character of Pony is never very well fleshed out either, just the same repetitive description of her stubborn, spunky, "never give up" nature. And how many times did we hear about Titus Jones' granite visage. In addition, the references to appearing/disappearing arctic wolves and the ever-present cloying scent of roses was just over-the-top for me. Sorry, mysticism just isn't my thing. But in fairness, in the middle of the book, the plot line tempo picked up and I became interested in learning how the author was going to tie up those plot lines. Tender Mercy of Roses isn't bad, but with some tighter editing and more complex character development it could be good.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Gail G. (Northbrook, Illinois)
fantastic read
The characters in he book are fantastic. It was difficult for me to accept their super human qualities but as I got into the story they became real and it didn't matter how unusual their qualities were. They became believable with all their problems. All the characters in the story needed the tender mercy of the roses--I believe it means that the Spirit World would look after them and help with their problems.The character who needed the most help was Jo Beth Dawson caught in a web of alcoholism and psychological pain a prison from which she could not escape without this help. I was mostly interested in the development of the characters than the answer to the question " who done it! I really hated for the book to end. Obviously I loved this book and would rate it a 10 if possible. Hopefully the author, Anna Michaels, will have more stories to tell, and I thank her for such an enjoyable read.

...16 more reader reviews

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Anna Michaels lives in the deep South, where her own rose garden served as the inspiration for The Tender Mercy of Roses, her debut novel. She describes her writing process as "recording the melody and the magic of story." Visit her at www.annamichaels.net

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