BookBrowse Reviews The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop

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The Mercy Seat

by Elizabeth H. Winthrop

The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop X
The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop
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  • Published:
    May 2018, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

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A multi-point of view story of the hours leading up to the execution of a young black man in the Jim Crow South.

Willie Jones, an eighteen-year old black teenager, has been found guilty of the rape of a white woman Grace and sentenced to death at midnight by electric chair. For the small communities of St. Martinville and New Iberia in Louisiana in October 1943, this is a significant event–a cause for celebration for some, but disturbing and concerning to others. The Mercy Seat is the story of this day.

Winthrop narrates the story of Willie and the community from a multitude of points of view. There is Willie, patiently waiting for his appointment with death and his father, Frank, trying to see his son one last time. There is the local prosecutor, Polly Livingstone, whose son, Gabe, and wife, Nell, question his decision to ask for the death penalty for Willie. After all, it is rumored that Willie and Grace were in love.

There is also a young white man called Lane, responsible for ...

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