Book Review and Blog Tour: Mercy and Grace by Anoop Judge

Book: Mercy and Grace

Author: Anoop Judge

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pub Day: September 19, 2023

Buy Link(s):
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Bookshop.org

Synopsis:

From India to America, a woman’s search for family, home, and self becomes a journey of secrets and forgiveness in a powerful novel by the author of No Ordinary Thursday . At twenty-one years old, Gia Kumari finally leaves the Delhi orphanage where she was raised. With few prospects for the future, she receives an unexpected invitation from a stranger named Sonia Shah in San Francisco—an internship at Sonia’s weddings and events company. Gia and America. It’s love at first sight as she navigates an unfamiliar but irresistible new world of firsts. It’s Gia’s first real job; her first meeting with her only known family, her uncle Mohammed Khan; and her first romance with Sonia’s quirky yet charming stepson, Adi. But it might be too good to be true. Gia’s newfound happiness is unfolding in the shadow of a terrible family secret, the impact of which is still being felt in a place Gia now calls home. To save what matters most, Gia must come to terms with a tragic past she’s only beginning to understand—and a lifetime of lies she must learn to forgive.

This story unfolds in two timelines. In the early 1990s, Shaumya and Hassan’s wedding day arrives. It should be a day of celebration. But Shaumya is Hindu, and Hassan, Muslim. They are torn apart by the conflict between the two cultures, and all that is left of Shaumya’s dreams of wedded bliss is Hassan’s child.

In the current day, Gia Kumari’s life is about to change. She’s grown up at the Mercy and Grace orphanage, and the day has finally come where she’s aged out. The sisters tell her it is time for her to leave. She has an uncle in America, and when she gets an unexpected job offer in San Francisco, where her uncle lives, she figures he’s pulled some strings. Sonia Shah, her new boss, is somewhat distant and cold, but Gia loves her job. She loves America. She’s getting to know her uncle and his family. She has her first boyfriend. Life is good, until the past Gia never knew comes to light. Can she forgive what she sees as grievous wrongs done to her?

Y’all know I love a good dual timeline story. Anoop Judge brings the past forward through flashbacks, so we have that here. I wasn’t an orphan, but I was adopted, so I could relate a little to Gia’s longing to know her roots, where she came from, who her people were.

I really liked Gia as a character. She was generally optimistic and not afraid of hard work or a challenge. But bless her heart, sometimes she can’t keep her mouth shut when she should. She lets information out at times and in situations where it could cost the company business and could cost her her job. (Is she morally right even if it isn’t good business sense? I’ll let you read the book and decide.) She had a very strong sense of right and wrong, and she wasn’t afraid to stand up for it.

My only complaint about the story is that it felt like some events unfolded too fast. Gia’s romance with Adi moved super fast, it seemed. Was that due to her lack of experience with boys? Possibly. But it was almost insta-romance. The resolution of the conflict felt like it happened pretty quickly, too. If I were in Gia’s shoes, I might have had to wrestle with the unexpected revelations a little longer.

All in all, this is a beautifully written story, and Gia is a character you can cheer for. And when secrets are brought into the light, even if there is pain, there can also be healing and restoration.

Thanks to WOW! Women on Writing for an advance copy. I was not obligated to write a review. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

Check out other stops on the tour!

About the author:

Born and raised in New Delhi, Anoop is the author of four novels, THE RUMMY CLUB which won the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, THE AWAKENING OF MEENA RAWAT, an excerpt of which was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize, NO ORDINARY THURSDAY, and MERCY and GRACE. 

Her essays and short stories have appeared in Green Hills Literary Lantern, Rigorous Journal, Lumiere Review, DoubleBack Review, and the Ornament anthology, among others. 

Anoop calls herself a “recovering litigator” —she worked in state and federal courts for many years before she replaced legal briefs with fictional tales. She holds an MFA from St. Mary’s College of California and was the recipient of the 2021 Advisory Board Award and the 2023 Alumni Scholarship. 

She lives in Pleasanton, California, with her husband, and is the mother of two admirable young adults.

You can find her online at: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

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One Response to Book Review and Blog Tour: Mercy and Grace by Anoop Judge

  1. Pingback: Blog Tour: Mercy and Grace by Anoop Judge | Boys' Mom Reads!

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