Tuesday, May 7, 2013

True Facts of "Sweet Mercy" a novel from Christy Award Winning Author Ann Tatlock

Tour Schedule
Sweet Mercy, a stunning coming-of-age drama set during the Great Depression and Prohibition.
When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
Eve can’t wait to leave St. Paul, a notorious haven for gangsters. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people,” not lawbreakers like so many in her neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve soon forms an unlikely friendship with a strange young man named Link, blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is anything but what it seems.
When the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. Does she dare risk everything by exposing the man whose love and generosity is keeping her family from ruin? And when things turn dangerous, can she trust Link in spite of appearances?
Praise for Sweet Mercy
"In this coming-of-age novel, Christy winner Tatlock manages to offer readers an eclectic mixture of suspense and romance combined with deeply rooted historical elements... [She] presents endearing but flawed characters who prompt readers to explore their own bases for judgment and ethical criticism." --Publishers Weekly
"Lush physical descriptions offer a pleasing backdrop to this tale of mystery and romance that focuses on the necessity of love and forgiveness as well as the magnitude of God's mercy." --RT Book Reviews
10 True Facts About Sweet Mercy
by Ann Tatlock
Sweet Mercy is of course a novel, a story plucked out of my imagination. Most of the characters and events are completely fictional. But not everything about Sweet Mercy is make-believe. In fact, there’s much about the story that’s true. Here are 10 facts that come straight from “the annals of history”:

1. The setting, Marryat Island, is based on Hoppe’s Island that used to exist in the Little Miami River near Foster, Ohio. I grew up hearing about the island because this recreational paradise was owned by my great grandfather in the 1920s and 30s. My father spent many summer days there as a boy, swimming, boating and “fishing for crawdads.” The island as I recreated it is very similar to how it actually was.

2. St. Paul, Minnesota, in the 1920s and 30s was a safe haven for gangsters. Criminals, bank robbers, money launderers, kidnappers and murderers could all find refuge there without being bothered by the authorities, so long as they conducted their business outside the city limits.

3. Bank robber and prison escapee Frank “Jelly” Nash moved into Apt. #205 at the Edgecombe Court in St. Paul in 1931, the apartment recently vacated by the fictional Eve Marryat and her family.

4. “Dapper Dan” Hogan, underworld czar and owner of the Green Lantern saloon, was blown up by a bomb planted in his Paige coupe in 1928.

5. During Prohibition, moonshine was often made with rubbing alcohol, embalming fluid, antifreeze  and other toxic substances that were sometimes known to cause blindness, convulsions and death.

6. Due to the violence of the times, one tailor boasted in his newspaper ad: “Bullet holes rewoven perfectly in damaged clothes.”

7. Michael O’Brannigan, a character in the book, is based on a famous wealthy bootlegger named Dean O’Banion. O’Banion owned a flower shop, was a teetotaler and family man, and had a great respect for the church where he had once served as an altar boy.

8. In the elaborate secret system of transporting liquor during Prohibition, at least one bootlegger ran his operation with the help of coded messages embedded in children’s stories read over the radio. 

9. Police, lawyers, Prohibition agents and judges were all known to accept bribes to turn a blind eye to the manufacture and distribution of illegal alcohol. Sometimes they were paid off not with money but with liquor.

10. Al Capone collected miniature ivory elephants, which he displayed on his desk. What is revealed about Capone at the end of the book is also true, though I won’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to read Sweet Mercy to find out!
Meet Author Ann Tatlock
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy-Award winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association “Book of the Year” in fiction for both All the Way Home and I’ll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her “one of Christian fiction’s better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories.” Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.


  1. Thank you for sharing with us today Ann! What a lovely book cover, and interesting era.

  2. I do find this time period fascinating, as were the 10 true facts. Sweet Mercy sounds very interesting.

  3. Sounds wonderful. I love that era in reading. I have one of Ann Tatlock's books "Every Secret Thing" and can't wait to read it. Have the other two in the series in my wish list. Loved the 10 true facts too. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Thanks for sharing some facts on this book and author with us, I have read Travlers Rest and sounds like this would be great to read also. like that title "Sweet Mercy"...
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)
    a goodread member