Mercy Snow: A Novel
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"Strength and quiet beauty mark Baker's writing . . . Mercy Snow provides an authentic universe of damaged souls and a fantastical heroine."--Anita Shreve, Washington Post
In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake.
June McAllister is the wife of the local mill owner and undisputed first lady in town. But the Snow family, a group of itinerant ne'er-do-wells who live on a decrepit and cursed property, have brought her--and the town--nothing but grief.
June will do anything to cover up a dark secret she discovers after the crash, one that threatens to upend her picture-perfect life, even if it means driving the Snow family out of town. But she has never gone up against a force as fierce as the young Mercy Snow. Mercy is determined to protect her rebellious brother, whom the town blames for the accident, despite his innocence. And she has a secret of her own. When an old skeleton is discovered not far from the crash, it beckons Mercy to solve a mystery buried deep within the town's past.
seeking her out. How could she explain his presence to Dena? She swallowed and tried to calm her nerves. “I… didn’t expect to run into anyone out here.” Dena offered no explanation. She must have put a stone in the sugar bush, June reasoned, although Suzie was neither an infant nor a victim of the river’s ills. Dena smiled. “If you want, I could tell you where he is.” For a moment June was tempted to snap that it wasn’t necessary, she could find her own son, but she didn’t want to antagonize
cinnamon baked in, dill bread spread thick with butter, peanut nougat. After Mercy’s employment Hazel had begun baking these old favorites again, filling the kitchen with bittersweet aromas that simultaneously evoked Rory even as they highlighted his long absence. “Is that pumpkin bread?” Fergus had asked just the day before the wreck, his eyes widening as he’d tentatively sniffed. “Why, Hazel. What’s come over you?” Now Hazel eyed the beneficiary of her cooking with suspicion. Up close the
back to the Snows. The eldest girl took them, since she was the nearest relative.” June’s lips puckered. In the distance there were a gaggle of approaching footsteps and wagging tongues. “I’m having the ladies for a sewing circle, as you can see.” Abel readjusted his hat and turned to leave before he was surrounded and possibly drowned in feminine chatter. Before he could get gone, however, June waylaid him. “Do me a favor. If you see Cal, don’t tell him we spoke about Gert. And one other
knew half the words by heart, but it wasn’t safe to go into town now, Mercy warned her time and time again. “What if someone reports you? What if June gets her hands on you and this time she really does send social services out here?” Mercy crouched down to peer into Hannah’s eyes. “They might try to take you away, do you understand? They might say I’m not a fit guardian.” And when Hannah nodded mutely, Mercy sighed and ruffled her younger sister’s hair. “You’re a Snow, little monkey. We can’t
registered for school but never showed. The kid’s just not in the system, June.” June huffed an impatient breath into the office’s stale air. “You know, I don’t mind the Snows per se. Why, I feel nothing but sorry for that poor child, forced to squat in those kinds of sorry conditions. It’s Cal who really wants them gone.” Cal, who more or less paid the entirety of Abel’s salary, when it came down to it. June let that subtext hang and then leaned forward. “And what about you? Don’t you care