As far as contemporary novels go, Lisa Bergren has always been one of my favorite authors. I love her laid-back, yet interesting, style of writing that has just enough romantic tension to fulfill my occasional romance novel fix. Mercy Come Morning was such a book, and while it was originally released as Christmas Every Morning (a title I'd read long ago, but had forgotten), I was glad to have had the opportunity to reread it.
This is not a novel for everyone...let me just say that up front. The main character, Krista, has some deep emotional scars as a result of her relationship with her mother, and as her mother is reaching death's door after a long Alzheimer's illness, she struggles to find a way to set everything to rights before it's too late. If not for a book full of Christmas carols filled with hastily scratched notes from her mother, Krista might have never known why the relationship between her and her mother failed.
I found the imagery of "Christmas every morning" the perfect backdrop for this story. Sometimes, during the Christmas season, we hear so many of the same songs over and over again, but may not allow the words to penetrate our hearts. I know I'm certainly guilty of that. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and "Oh, Holy Night" now have a new meaning to me personally because of their inclusion in this story.
For those wanting to read Mercy Come Morning, be sure to have a box of tissues handy. Lisa penned some truly beautiful scenes between Krista and her mother that had me tearing up more than once. I have no doubt that this novel has ministered to many people both in the original release and the re-release--those dealing with a family member with Alzheimer's, or even those dealing with a recent death. It was a difficult story to begin, but one that has a bittersweet, yet joyous, conclusion.
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. Slowly, inevitably, it steals who you are from you, and changes you into something other than what you have always been. As memories disappear, loved ones find themselves unable to connect, and the burden of losing someone over and over must be just as painful as the person who is unable to remember. What a lonely and distressing illness!
Lisa Tawn Bergren tells the story of a young woman who has been dealing with this very situation, but with a mother that wasn’t always the best, even before the onset of the disease. Krista must try to come to terms with a relationship, even though she cannot reconcile in the normal way with a mother who cannot even speak. As the end draws near, Krista begins to realize that some of the issues and difficulties with her mother are also her own, and as she does she recognizes the ways in which she has sabotaged her own happiness while trying desperately to prove something to herself and her mother.
The story of Krista’s mother is one of sorrow and reconciliation, and it is told with a sympathetic and compassionate bent. The residential care center for patients sounds remarkable, and I hope it is not a complete fiction – I cannot help but be encouraged by the idea that there are those whose care for the families and patients of this disease to the best of their ability, loving people that have become shadows of themselves.
I enjoyed the story. It touched my heart in many ways, and it gave me insight into a disease I had only previously seen romanticized in movies. The day after I started reading this book, I learned that a colleague had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, who would no longer be working. As I read the story, my heart went out to his wife and daughters – realizing that their lives would be defined going forward by this difficult season. God’s providence is not always so clear, but in this instance I firmly believe that he gave me the opportunity to read this book so that I might have an idea about how to reach out to someone with encouragement.
I recommend this book to those who need a moment to think about the circumstances of others, who need to hear that reconciliation is possible with God, and those who need to see that God’s love is greater than any illness. Mercy Come Morning is a portrait of compassion and of forgiveness, in the midst of great pain and heartache. It will hold you captive in its pages, as you hope for the moment that the light of God’s grace will dawn on Krista’s heart, and change her life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
Lisa Tawn Bergren pens a story of a young woman, Krista, and her relationship with her mother, Charlotte, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. It is obvious from the beginning of the novel that Krista does not have a close relationship with her mother. Krista seems very resigned towards her mother and holds much against her. When she finds out that her mother is close to going home to heaven, Krista makes the reluctant trip to her hometown. The author proceeds to unravel the mystery behind Krista’s feelings toward her mother as well as allow the audience to follow Krista’s journey into discovering who her mother really was. Along this journey, you will meet a couple of characters that I found truly endearing, Dane, a childhood friend and beau, and Elena, a confidante and friend. Christmas is a major theme in this story as it is set as the time of year in which the story takes place.
This novel is about forgiveness, healing, and relationships. The story is a bit fast-paced; however, it is still a wonderful read with a great message.
Note: I have received a free copy of this book from Multnomah Books in exchange for a review.
I was unsure how I would like this story – after all it’s about a woman saying goodbye to her mother who has had Alzheimer’s for a very long time and is now dying of congestive heart failure. Doesn’t sound like a very happy or uplifting read. But it is.
Krista Mueller has had a rough life – she never knew her father, her grandparents died when she was 10, her mom was emotionally distant and then during her teen years became noticeably mentally unstable. It wasn’t until Krista was in college that her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Charlotte was over 40 when Krista was born and hadn’t had an easy life either. Krista never understood her mother and had never tried to understand her. But now Charlotte is dying and Krista realizes she needs to find some healing and let her go.
Dane McConnell is the director of the nursing home and a childhood friend of Krista. They even dated in high school, but something happened between them and then Krista could never bring herself to get too close to him again. Even though he still deeply cares for her.
Dane found an old Christmas song book amongst Charlotte’s possessions with journal entries in it. Through the handful of entries Krista allows herself to think about her mom’s life from a different perspective and find healing.
The story jumps between the present and the past frequently and it’s rather confusing. Krista is a history professor so she remembers facts and events that took place around the time of each of her mom’s journal entries. Which is neat, but it’s hard to follow the timeline.
I would have found it helpful to know at the beginning that Charlotte was over 40 when Krista was born and that the story takes place in about 2002 (when the book was originally written – it was first published under the title Christmas Every Morning). So now you know. Hope it helps.
There are a few sweet kisses and the reader is told of some immoral choices and an instance of sexual abuse but no details are given. It’s a sweet story of a daughter trying to understand her mother. It’s a sad story of a woman once full of life now close to death. It’s a realistic story of a woman coming to grips with her painful past and figuring out how to face her future.
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Review 5 for Mercy Come Morning: A Novel - eBook
A story of grace and forgiveness...
Date:January 26, 2012
I received a copy of Mercy Come Morning by Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange of an honest review of the book. This book is about a lady named Krista that returned home to try to repair her relationship with her mother when she found out she was dying of congested heart failure. Her mother has Alzheimer's and is unable to talk. This was a beautiful story about grace, forgiveness, love and mercy. The relationships portrayed are broken, but become whole again in the story. Krista and her high school sweetheart work through the past and get over hurts together. The story was very predictable, but beautiful at the same time. It was a quick, easy read. I would recommend this book to anyone that would love to see relationships repaired and how God fixes us along the journey.
Krista's mother was dying...but only physically. That's what she told herself when she received the call from the Alzheimer care facility. They wanted her to visit. There was still time, they said. Time for what? For conversation? In Krista's mind, her mother had died a long time ago. And if she went to visit her mother, she'd have to face her high school flame, Dane. He had conceived of and ran the facility that did everything possible to make the last years of Alzheimer patients as pleasant as possible. She'd have to go back home to Taos after deliberately staying away all these years. But Dane talked her into it. She took leave from her teaching and made the drive.
As the novel progresses, we learn that Krista was born late in her mother's life and Krista was only college age when her mother needed extra care because of the memory loss. We also find out that Krista's youth was difficult with her mother often gone to bars and her father totally absent. There is much Krista must face before her mother dies. A book was found in which Krista's mother had kept a journal of sorts. As Krista reads the entries and realizes her mother's struggles, she begins to heal the distance between them. Even as her mother has forgotten so much, Krista begins to remember. Dane still loves Krista, after all these years. But can she overcome the hurt she suffered from one of her mother's boyfriends?
This is a character driven novel. We get to know Krista and she how she has made a life for herself, but at an emotional cost. There is a protective wall from past hurts that must be breached if Krista is to be reconciled to her mother. And there must also be forgiveness. We learn about the Alzheimer facility and how rooms and walkways have been created especially for their patients' well-being. We also learn a bit about the Indians of the area and their Christmas customs.
This is a slow moving book but is worth the read in the end.
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Mercy Come Morning by Lisa T. Bergren is a quick read that will satisfy readers that love the unity of love, faith, and family. With the notice that her mother as at the end of her life due to Alzheimer's, Krista Mueller, a professor of history in Colorado, travels back to her homeland to be by her mother's side. Marked by the pain of her mother's bohemian lifestyle and an absentee father, Krista must learn to forgive her mother for her mistakes as a parent.
What I liked about Mercy Come Morning was its focus on a strained mother-daughter relationship that is marked by eventual forgiveness. Though Krista is angry with her mother, she eventually comes to forgive her through the help of a family friends and the Christian faith. Though Morning can be written off as somewhat sappy and love-saturated due to the fast-paced romance between Krista and a childhood boyfriend, the book is heartwarming and brings to light the real struggles associated with Alzheimer's disease.
PS - The good people at Blogging for Books gave me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Lisa Tawn Bergren's Mercy Come Morning broaches on a number of topics I can relate to and paints a setting that I can visualize without becoming weighed down with unnecessary detail.
The protagonist's journey to self-discovery and healing was gradual and for the most part, realistic. I wasn't quite ready for her change of heart, maybe because I wasn't ready to forgive her mother at that point.
Although the ravages of dementia, Alzheimer's in particular, plays a big part in this book, I find it's more about relationships: between mother and daughter; between man and woman; between believers and their God. Since my life is all about relationships, I love this aspect of the book.
Mercy Come Morning touches on Big Issues: forgiveness, love, self-discovery, surrender, peace, acceptance...topics we can all relate to.
I recommend it.
I received a free copy of the ebook from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.
Krista Mueller's elderly mother is dying, so she returns home to Taos, New Mexico, at the request of Dane McDonnell, the director of the Cimarron Care Center where her elderly mother lives. Dane is also Krista's first love, and although she initially suggests that she didn’t really know why the relationship never went anywhere, we do get hints as the story progresses. Despite not having spoken for years, Krista's mother now sings Christmas carols no one even knew that she knew. Krista gradually finds out more about her mother from an old book of hymns that has diary entries and keepsakes interleaved between the pages.
Mercy Come Morning is a story of a not-so-young woman finding herself as she gets to know the mother who has been silent for so many years, and who was distant even before that. Although I found the flashback scenes distracting (because of the constant references to exact years, which was particularly annoying when they didn’t always add up - for example, Mother was supposedly born in 1930, but she married in 1942 and turned 40 in 1962), overall I found the novel to be interesting and thought provoking.
The story is told in the first person, by Krista, interspersed with the diary entries, letters and flashbacks to Krista’s own childhood memories. There is a skill to writing in the first person. A skilful author can make us see the narrator both as she sees herself, and as others see her. We need to be able to empathise with and like the narrator even while we see her faults. Lisa Tawn Bergren has this ability, which means we can empathise with Krista (and Dane) and engage ourselves in her situation.
Every year, Queen Elizabeth II delivers a televised Christmas message to the people of the Commonwealth. The theme of her 2011 Christmas Message was family and forgiveness, the same as the message of Mercy Come Morning. Many of Krista’s issues stem from the fact that she never knew her father, she had a virtually non-existent relationship with her mother (who started showing signs of Alzheimer’s when Kristia was only a teen), and a relationship with God that has never filled the gap inside her. I found this to be a slightly disturbing admission at first, because the churches I have attended preach that Jesus will fill the gap inside, yet here we have a Christian character revealing the opposite. It struck me that this is perhaps a more realistic portrayal of life, in that we are often unable to understand and fully accept God’s love and peace (and fill the gap inside) until we have come to terms with the links between family, forgiveness and faith in our own lives.
Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing a free ebook for review.
This was a lovely read about forgiveness and finding peace. Can you imagine living your whole life estranged from your mother? Never hearing the words, "I love you". Krista Mueller lived this life and now her mother has Alzheimer's. Time is slipping quickly. Time that she has missed and misplaced. This is a great story in teaching us to grab hold of those second chances.
I loved this book by Lisa Tawn Bergren. She brought out the best and the worst in these characters. She showcased the qualities we all want to be exposed and she too showed the faults that we try to hide and ignore ourselves.
Reading this book leaves you with a passion to know your mother better. To reach out to your daughter more. To not just leave the past behind, but bring it out in the open and share those hurts so healing can come.
What did I love the most? The Christmas room. We all need a Christmas room to remember the good times. We tend to focus on the bad that have crept into our lives. All the while the good has been right in under our nose the whole time.
This book was a gift from WaterBrook Press for it's review.
Mercy Come Morning is a tale of Krista who has always had a strained relationship with her mother. Now her mother is on her death bed and Krista comes to say her good byes and seek healing and forgiveness. It was a touching story and I certainly can see how this would be a great read for someone who has a parent suffering from Alzheimer's. There is a lot of pain and frustration for the person suffering the Alzheimers as well as the children who endure with the parents. Ms. Bergren does a great job describing these characters and you feel drawn to them. I was glad to see the healing and forgiveness in the end.
I received this book for free from blogging for books in exchange for my review.
Krista Mueller experienced a difficult childhood and opted to suppress her feelings of loss and abandonment for a happier life far away from her distant mother. While Krista financially provides first-class nursing home treatment for her mother, she sees no reason to revisit her mother or the past. When her ex-boyfriend, Dane McConnell, convinces Krista to temporarily return to her dying mother's bedside, Krista is less than thrilled to be near her mother or her first love. Both evoke feelings long buried and Krista realizes she can no longer run from her past. She's not willing to entertain the idea of loving either her mother or Dane, but as the days progress and secrets are revealed, she finds herself drawn to both of them like never before.
When I picked up Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren, I expected a purely fictional book. I was pleasantly surprised to find a good deal of romance interlaced with the fiction story. The authentic characters and compelling situations caught my attention from the start. I appreciated the author's compassionate treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Though I've never had to deal with it on a personal level, I know it is a difficult condition for all involved. The themes about second chances and the beauty of true healing are also worth noting. I recommend this book to fans of Christian romance or Christian fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher as part of FIRST Wild Card Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Krista Mueller is a professor of history working in Colorado, but Taos, New Mexico was once her home, and where her mother Charlotte Mueller who suffers from Alzheimer's nursing facility is. A nursing home that's run by Krista's first love Dane McConnell. Krista has only seen her mother twice in the many years she has been at the facility so when she gets a call from Dane telling her that her mother is dying of heart failure she hesitates to go because of unresolved feelings from the past. When an old songbook her mother has always had turns out to be her mother's journal, Krista starts to learn things about her mother that she never knew. What will Krista discover in the pages of her mother's journal? "Mercy Come Morning" is about a mother/daughter whose relationship was strained long before Alzheimer's disease developed. Krista's memories weren't happy ones, instead all she remembered was that she always tried to please her mother but never succeeded. She often felt unloved and unwanted, but when she starts looking back she soon starts remembering that there were happy times but she let the bad ones overshadow the good.It was nice to see Krista finally let go of the hurts of her past.
For me this book started out a bit slow, and really there were no real surprises, but still I became invested in knowing how things would end.
Overall a story with compelling characters and a story line about finding forgiveness and letting go of the past.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I am so glad that Waterbrook decided to reissue this timely book. The story is dealing with Alzheimer's and learning to remember and forgive. When Krista gets the call that her Mother's days are numbered, she doesn't want to go. She has a well established life in Colorado, and now is being called to New Mexico. She has very empty feelings about her Mother. Her boyfriend from years ago, Dane McConnell, now the director of the facility that her Mom, Charlotte Mueller, is in and makes her understand she does in fact need to come. Now at the age of 38, she has never let any man get to close to her. As we enter the very caring facility that her Mom is in she sees Dane, can anything come of being near him? We also meet a woman who has always been there Krista and her Mother, Elana! As she is going through some of the things of her Mother's, that in her room at the facility. She discovers a Christmas song book with diary entries. Hopefully she will find some closures and understanding, and of course Forgiveness. Throughout the book you can feel the Lord leading her, and she develops a deeper relationship with him!
I received this book from Waterbrook, and was not required to give a positive review.
Reading the description of Mercy Come Morning really hit home and I knew I needed to read it. The main character, Krista, is trying to reconcile her feelings about her mother and get over the bad relationship she had in the past with her. Krista is angry, frustrated, and unable to get past the negative feelings she has for her mother—before and after the Alzheimer’s hit.
We are going through the stages of Alzheimer’s with my mother right now. Although we had a good enough relationship while I was growing up, I’ve had many internal conflicts about her since I’ve been her caregiver for the last 4 years. I know she can’t help her actions and I know I shouldn’t take them personally, but I have a tendency to resent her---especially lately. Like Krista, I need to lean harder on my faith and forgive mom, as well as myself, so that I don’t end up bitter like Krista. Plus, like Krista, it’s so hard to have your loved one so changed from what you knew all those years growing up. We have our own expectations of who mom should be even though she can't live up to them anymore. That's where we have to forgive mom, ask for forgiveness and accept her for who she is.......now.
When I began reading Mercy Come Morning, it was a bit slow. But after getting past the first few chapters, I began to feel connected with Krista. The descriptions of Taos, both the community and the winter weather, was so vividly written that I could picture it in my mind. And I loved all the thought and research Ms. Bergren put into Cimarron Care Center. It sounds like paradise for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. It’s too bad nothing like Cimarron exists in real life. Ms. Bergren definitely has a way with words and drawing the reader into her story.
Thankfully Krista reconnected with her “grandmother” Elena and her old beau, Dane. While going through those last days with her mother, Krista needed the love and support found in both of them. Their different perspectives on mom’s past helped Krista find the healing and forgiveness she needed. Sometimes appearances are deceiving and once Krista found out the reasons between her mother’s actions, she knew she had to apologize to her mother even though mom may not hear it.
Even with the slow start and some predictability surrounding Krista and Dane’s relationship, I give Mercy Come Morning 4 stars. Reading the book actually gave me some peace with my mother’s situation. Now I'm beginning to know compassion and empathy toward mom--healing and forgiveness are only a few steps away.
I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah’s “Blogging for Books” as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
This book I could not put down!! For real!! It was one of those that you are always curious and interested in what will happen next. Definitely a page turner!
Though this book may be fictional it has a lot of realism to it. I cried, laughed, nodded my head while reading this book. A few things were learned but the main thing I learned is we must forgive those around us NOW, not later because one day we all will be on our deathbed and you can't tell anyone something when their gone. We must love the people we are around right now and enjoy our time together.
Definitely pick up this book! You won't regret it! God bless!
When Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure draw Krista Mueller's mother Charlotte even closer to death's door, the estranged daughter comes back to her home town of Taos, New Mexico, to attempt to pick up the pieces of their scarred relationship that never had a real chance to heal.
Coming back to her hometown, thirty-seven year old Krista fights old demons, her long buried feelings for her childhood sweetheart...and realizes her mother's love for the first time in her life by reading through a Christmas carol book where her mother recorded portions of her life and thoughts inside. The words Krista never heard, or felt, from her mother, as well as portions of her mother's lifelong struggles and imperfections were all contained in the humble, childhood Christmas gift.
Lisa T. Bergren writes from a refreshing first person angle, therefore giving even more depth and emotion into the character of Krista. The rich culture of Taos is accurately and beautifully depicted; the setting was inspired by the author's own visit to Taos, and her love of the land and heritage within the gem of the city, shines through like a brilliant diamond.
This gem of a book epitomes bittersweet, heartrending, & the story is also a brilliant testimony to the work of the Lord...and His sovereign plan. You will undoubtedly be blessed by reading this. May your heart be moved and granted hope that even the most hopeless seeming relationship can be restored by God's grace and power.
Mercy Come Morning is about second chances and acceptance. The main character, Krista, leaves home to go to college, but really to get away from a mother she does not get along with. Fast forward.....estranged mother is in a nursing home dying....director and high school sweetheart, Dane, contacts Krista to come home as her mom needs her. Reluctantly she returns to find that her mom is also suffering from severe alzheimers. Dane gives Krista her mom's journals. Reading these, Krista sees her mom's heart and finds a love she didn't realize she had for her mom. She learns to accept and love her mother with all of her faults.
This is your typical story, yet enjoyable. While reading it is easy to figure out what comes next. The author did handle the difficult topic of alzheimers wonderfully.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Press Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.
Charlotte, an alzheimers patient, is in the last stages of her life. Once a great dance instructor her cultured life has taken her down many roads. Krista, her daughter, has struggled to hold a relationship with Charlotte because of her difficult childhood, yet Krista feels an obligation to provide her with first class care. Krista desparately needs to know of her mothers love for her, never having felt or heard that when she was growing up. Charlotte can no longer communicate. Dane, the director of the facility where Charlotte is living attempts to bridge the gap of understanding between mother and daughter. But can walls so strong be torn down? Can Krista better understand herself or will it be impossible after all this time? A tender story that will indeed tug at your heart. I found it difficult to put down quite frankly. Scene and plot works as well as dialogue. I was entertained and challenged in my faith. I would recommend this novel to others. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review of this book.
Book Description: There are no second chances. Or are there?
Krista Mueller is in a good place. She’s got a successful career as a professor of history; she’s respected and well-liked; and she lives hundreds of miles from her hometown and the distant mother she could never please. It’s been more than a decade since Alzheimer’s disease first claimed Charlotte Mueller’s mind, but Krista has dutifully kept her mother in a first-class nursing home.
Now Charlotte is dying of heart failure and, surprised by her own emotions, Krista rushes to Taos, New Mexico, to sit at her estranged mother’s side as she slips away. Battling feelings of loss, abandonment, and relief, Krista is also unsettled by her proximity to Dane McConnell, director of the nursing home—and, once upon a time, her first love. Dane’s kind and gentle spirit—and a surprising discovery about her mother—make Krista wonder if she can at last close the distance between her and her mother … and open the part of her heart she thought was lost forever.
Krista Mueller has been making a life for herself despite dealing with her mother, Charlotte, and her Alzheimer’s for the last 10 yrs. Charlotte is staying in a nursing home that specializes in Alzheimer’s disease which is run my Dane, a long time friend, and someone Krista has loved forever. Dane calls Krista to come from Colorado to Taos, New Mexico because her mother is dying from heart failure. Krista makes the trip to do her duty as a daughter. Krista longed for her mother to love her, protect her but that wasn’t their relationship. Once Krista arrives she finds that maybe her judgement of her mother wasn’t fair. Krista finds out exactly who Charlotte was and what she went through. Krista finds her way to Jesus and found what forgiveness and love really means.
My Thoughts: This is the first book by Lisa Tawn Bergren I have read. It is a wonderful book. I have a heart for Alzheimer’s disease and the people who live with it. I have worked with Alzheimer’s residents and watched Alzheimer’s take both my grandparents. Lisa Tawn Bergren really hits home with the struggles of both sides of this disease. It is obvious that a lot of research went into not just the disease but therapies, and the effects on both patient and caregivers. The characters are very real people who you can relate to. The story is a beautiful tale of forgiveness and finding love when you allow Jesus in your heart. I enjoyed this book tremendously and hope to read more books by Lisa Tawn Bergren.