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The Crooked Heart of Mercy    by Billie Livingston order for
Crooked Heart of Mercy
by Billie Livingston
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Families as dysfunctional as the one in this book are probably around, but we can only wish that the people involved are as caring. Ben and Maggie have tragically lost their two-year-old son Frankie. This results in their separation and Ben shooting himself. Francis, Maggie's brother, has his own problems. He is a priest charged with his third DUI, among other difficulties.

The story unfolds in chapters in either Ben's or Maggie's voice. Author Livingston has quite a talent for getting inside each of these two characters, and through them we learn much, not only about Francis but also about Ben's father and brother and their issues.

Probably the most interesting voice is that of Ben. His thoughts bring out for us the turmoil his mind is in, and how he feels about his psychiatrist, himself and the situation he is in. It is an amazing bit of writing. The other theme that is wonderfully handled is belief. Only Francis is a believer, but on the outside he is a terrible role model for his sister and brother-in-law. Yet he has a way about him that draws them in, and reading about it definitely gives one to think. This novel has much to offer.

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