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Mercy Train
A poignant look at three generations struggling with loss and love.
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Overall, what do you think of "Mercy Train"?

Created: 03/18/12

Replies: 24

Posted Mar. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BookBrowse

Join Date: 11/16/10

Posts: 43

Overall, what do you think of "Mercy Train"?

Overall, what do you think of "Mercy Train"?


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethm

Join Date: 06/05/12

Posts: 35

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the different time periods in this book. To see the difference between Violet's struggle just to survive in the New York City of the early 1900s, and Sam's more ephemeral struggle to decide how to juggle her work with her desire to nurture her daughter. It really made me appreciate that all of my necessities are being met and I have the time to worry about things like how I spend my free time.
I also really enjoyed the non-linear timeline of the book. I think the way the narrative skipped around in the lives of the three main characters worked from an emotional point of view, matching up the different experiences that they were having in relation to each other.


Posted Jun. 05, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
annar

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 31

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I wanted more of Violet's story; more details about her life working in the hospital kitchen. Although I enjoyed the book I wished the story had been about Violet only.


Posted Jun. 06, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 235

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I really enjoyed this book and was impressed with how well all of the characters were portrayed. I think telling the three women's story in this sort of back and forth run through time is a very great writing device. I always get really engaged with a book where I know things that a character does not and am anxious for them to learn. It's like you want them to know so they understand things better or so it would make then act differently.


Posted Jun. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
djn

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 57

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I enjoyed this book...I loved how the author built the characters through the mother/daughter relationships. There are always secrets or at least unspoken parts of ones live that create situations of misunderstandings or at least mid interpretations of relationships. I liked that love was there inspite of the unknown.


Posted Jun. 07, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
elizabethm

Join Date: 06/05/12

Posts: 35

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I thought it was interesting that annar wanted more of Violet's story. I think in this book part of the importance of the story is that the reader, like the members of Violet's family, knew little about Violet's history. I think it would have thrown the balance off if there was more about Violet. However, I can envision a series of books springing from this book which traces with more specificity all of the women's stories.


Posted Jun. 10, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 100

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I especially liked Violet's story and because I knew something about Orphan Trains I found it interesting. In fact I liked Iris also. I liked that she moved to Florida and died on her own terms. I had the hardest time with Sam. I understood her lose for the baby and her struggle with her mom was similar to my relationship with my mom. The part about following the girl to the hotel and going to see her was a disconnect to me. I really didn't get that. I would have liked to seen Sam unravel more of Violet's story so that she felt some connection with her grandmother. And I was hoping when she saw what her grandmother had lost, she could live with her own lose more easily. There was was a disconnect for me that it didn't have more of wrap up. I suppose the way it ended was more realistic, but I guess I wanted more closure.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marymargaretf

Join Date: 09/05/11

Posts: 18

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I enjoyed the book. I liked the way the story was woven through the three main characters and time periods. The characters were well developed, but I agree that the part with Sam and the girl that she followed hung there without any direction.

I knew nothing about the orphan trains and I enjoyed learning about that unknown piece of history.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurieb

Join Date: 07/16/11

Posts: 15

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I enjoyed the story and the writing, but unlike other reviewers didn't like the shifting time frames so much. I also found Sam's dilemma's a little too "me" centered, but also probably a true portrayal of modern life.


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I liked the span of time 1900 to now offering important bits and pieces of these strong women. They all had that spark of HOPE. It took Iris a little longer to discover hers. What I may call a secret was just the way things were then. People didn't talk about or question the past. Stories intertwining, the unknowns Sam, her brother & father. I usually want a book to tie things up at the end, but I am having fun creating my own endings.
Well Done


Posted Jun. 12, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jacquelines

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I loved this novel. I sat down and read it from start to finish in one day (rainy). I thought the author drew her characters with skill using short, succinct descriptions. I'm not in for flowery, overly wordy writing anymore-give me the pertinent facts, move the story along and give me neatly tied up ends so I am not hanging when I finish reading. This book did all that and gave me a story I cared about-a subject I was already slightly familiar with and wanted to know more about. The generational differences were drawn without belaboring the details and I found I could picture each woman quite well. I agree that Sam was very self involved-a trait of HER generation, I think. I am so happy I got this book to read!


Posted Jun. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Daveann

Join Date: 07/17/11

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

Overall, I thought the book was just okay to me. I didn't connect enough with any of the characters. Though I felt for Violet and her situation I didnt "feel" it enough for me to love the book.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
arielf

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 18

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I wish I could have learned more about Violet's story.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I liked the book after I finally fiured out who was who about half way through the book. It wasn't one of my favorite books but I am committed to reading any book I receive here just as I am committed to reading every book in my book club.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
raynat

Join Date: 02/29/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Mercy Train?

I liked the book after I finally figured out who was who about half way through the book. It wasn't one of my favorite books but I am committed to reading any book I receive here just as I am committed to reading every book in my book club.


I identified with Caroline since I am also an adoptive mother. Although I didn't feel anything like her. I was ready to be a mother and took it on with a positive attitude. Also I don't approve of open adoption so I wouldn't like all the people in the story to be involved in our lives.

I loaned this book to several of my friends and they just said it was O.K. I liked the book and wanted to find out how they all interacted with each other even though I wouldn't like that for my life.
Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 35

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked the book and found the different generations very interesting. I agree with Navymom, does anyone know the purpose of telling about following the girl to the motel? I missed the connection.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
job

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 10

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked the idea of the book but found it a little hard at first to keep straight who each woman was. I think that was because each one was not well developed until you got further along. I would have liked to know more about Violet, who's life seemed more interesting than Sam's. The idea of the Mercy Train could have been better developed. The title implies that it will be a focus, but it is never fully developed. It would not be a book that I would recommend for a book group.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
susanlsimon's Gravatar
susanlsimon

Join Date: 12/05/11

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I felt the book was a little disjointed for my liking..I did learn something new which I always enjoy.. I would have liked to have the character of Iris developed more.. I cared most about her.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dhaupt

Join Date: 06/20/12

Posts: 10

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked Mercy Train was really pulled in at first by not only the title but by the cove and was really surprised to find out that it was published as a hard back under the name Mother's & Daughters.
It was a very well written novel and the Mercy Train title fits the story so much better.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeanettel

Join Date: 01/05/12

Posts: 29

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked the book but did not love it. I think Violet’s story was the strongest but it left me with so many questions that I feel that part of the story should have been much more detailed.


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 33

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I agree with those who were curious about more of Violet's captivating story - I would have loved to read more about her - especially her life in years to come, and the book easily could have been just about her. Sam's story was intriguing, too, though, especially as a mom with young children. I didn't connect with Iris at all, and didn't agree with many of her choices.


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
aprilp

Join Date: 06/21/12

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I really enjoyed this book. I have to say I loved Sam's character, her internal thought process, I have had some of those same conversations with myself!! I loved how she ended up going back to the seedy hotel to watch the girl, I can see myself doing something like that and then wondering how I even got there or what brought me to do something like that to begin with, with no way of explaining it to anyone but myself! I couldn't put this book down, it was a very fast read and there wasn't any part of it that lost my attention. I would definitely recommend this book to other women/mothers I loved watching the dynamics between Sam and Iris and strangely a lot of what Iris said rang true with me seeing that I'm only 35!


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
SimplyARose12

Join Date: 06/21/12

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I loved the book! I am having my book club meeting tomorrow night to discuss Mercy Train. As I have read some of the reply's, Violet seems to have shined to readers. I do agree with others that digging deeper into Violet's past would have been the icing on the cake.


Posted Jun. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I enjoyed the book...however had some difficulty going back and forth with the characters. It took me some time to get to know them. Perhaps it was the flowers..Iris and Violet! As a lover of historical fiction I would have loved more about the orphan trains and Violet's life. Loved Violet...tenacious and spunky...what was her life like on the farm, raising Iris? Iris had some of Violet's strength in her, dealing with her divorce, affair and facing death. Sam grew on me more towards the end.
I would definitely recommend the book. The characters alone make for intersting discussion along with mother-daughter relationships.


Posted Jun. 23, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 121

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of

It was interesting reading about a part of our country's history that I knew nothing about. However I would like to have known more about Violet's life once she did find a home. Her life would have influenced how Iris turned out. So I feel that was a big gap in the story. Also, with the jumping back and forth from character to character, I didn't feel that it stayed with any one long enough for me to really connect with them and to start to care about the character. I had no emotional connection to them.


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