NOVEL: Blue Mercy

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(11 customer reviews)

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A literary family drama with patricide at its heart.

When Mercy Mulcahy was 40 years old, she was accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she has completed a book about what really happened on that fateful night of Christmas Eve, 1989.

The tragic and beautiful Mercy has devoted her life to protecting Star from her grandfather. His behavior so blighted her own life as a child – she never wanted it to touch her darling daughter.

Yet Star refuses to read a word. Her contempt for Mercy is as painful as it is inexplicable.

What has Mercy done? What is she hiding? Was her father's death, as many believe, an assisted suicide?

Or something even more sinister?

In this book, nothing is what it seems on the surface, and everywhere there are emotional twists and surprises.

Set in Ireland and California, Blue Mercy is a compelling family mystery, combing lyrical description with a page-turning style.

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11 reviews for NOVEL: Blue Mercy

  1. Mary Flora (verified owner)

    Blue Mercy

    Blue Mercy, a story within a story.
    A mother’s unconditional love and sacrifice for a daughter who despises her.
    A woman’s struggle to survive against all odds. The highs, the lows; the twists and turns; the hopes and despairs, Blue Mercy has it all.
    Orna ross is a gifted story teller. Her descriptive phrases bring authenticity to the characters, environment and plot.
    A fast paced story which carried me forward in anticipation of what would happen at the end of each chapter. It was unputdownable! I read it within two days and I cried real tears. A great read. Highly recommended.

  2. Cathy Strong

    Blue Mercy

    Gut wrenching story of a mother and her daughter and all that goes along with it. Whether you see the side from the mothers perspective or that of the daughter this book will hold you in its beautifully heartfelt prose to the very last page. I cannot stop crying for all the emotions this story brought to mind in me. I only wish that it never had to end.

  3. John and Dianne


    Beautifully written, thoroughly entertaining and captivating. I enjoyed every single page. A highly recommended 5 star read.

    See original review on

  4. Celine Naughton

    I don't often pull an all-nighter to finish a book...

    It’s 6.30 in the morning and I’ve just finished reading Blue Mercy by Orna Ross. I started a few weeks ago and quickly realised I had before me not a little snack of a story but a feast, and a five-star one at that, cooked by the most talented chef you can imagine. And like an exquisite plate of food, I didn’t want to scarf it down all at once, so I was disciplined at first, savouring the descriptions so many pages at a time, gradually getting to know the characters Orna Ross draws so precisely I could see their faces, watch how they moved, hear the sound of their voices…
    I loved the way the plot unfolded, the pace of it, the small observations (Exactly, Orna: what kind of sadist would name a prison Mount Joy?) and above all, the storytelling. This is a thumping good yarn and utterly moreish, so the more I read the harder it got to stop and digest, and then about half way through the main course arrived and all my decorum disappeared. No way was anybody taking this plate away from me until I’d devoured every last word. So I stayed up all night, delighting in the twists and turns (especially the big one – I truly never saw that coming!) and when the end arrived I was so satisfied I thought I’d go for a lie-down, but then came dessert… Mmm, scrumptious. I scoffed the lot.
    Absolutely first class – thank you, Orna Ross. I’ll definitely be back for more.

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  5. Karen P. Inglis

    Breathtaking writing trumps minor niggles - highly recommended

    I was tempted to give Blue Mercy four stars owing to feeling unnecessarily frustrated at times by the jumps around in time (the confusion arising for me from chapters being named as dates, at least two of which included the number ‘8’– I’ve never been great with numbers!) I also found that I had to go back and re-read the opening few pages several times to work out who was who! However *don’t let this put you off*. The quality of the writing is breathtaking, and Ross tackles hugely difficult themes and inner conflicts balancing brutal honesty with lyrical sensitivity – the vividness of her writing taking you deep into her characters’ psyches. The result, in my view, is a book that sits up there with the very best in literary fiction. I won’t repeat the basic plot – the other reviews here do that admirably. Highly recommended.

    (For the record Hilary Mantel drove me mad with her unhelpful use of ‘He’ in Wolf Hall — but I still rate that 5 Stars, and Ross deserves no less!)

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  6. Jodie Downes

    pleasantly surprised

    Though the subject can be quite hard going at times, it was easy to read quickly and I was desperate to figure it out, which I didn’t. At first I wasn’t entirely sure I was enjoying it, but the last 40% of it, I devoured, unable to put it down.

    Told from mother and daughters point of view, there is a bit of repetition, but the insight it brings makes it worthwhile. A typical teenage American girl clashing with a hippie at heart mother who wants her daughter to be happy more than anything. The intertwining of their lives more unimaginable than you could think, even when it’s already there before you realise.

    I was surprised by how much I actually came to like this book. Perseverance is the key.

    See original review on

  7. Jane

    A beautifully-written story which draws you in straightaway to Mercy’s world and her early life in Ireland which she is trying to escape from. Twists keep you guessing right to the end. A very enjoyable and interesting read.

    See original review on

  8. Tom Evans

    Intricate, entangled timelines - right up my street

    Clever, clever, clever. There’s not many fiction books I’ve read where I just had to read the first few chapters again to really understand the book. I remember having to replay bits of Sixth Sense in a similar way to check on Bruce Willis.

    The intertwined timelines and interweaved lives of the protagonists make this book such a joy to read. It’s a modern day masterpiece and deserves a wide readership.

    To explain any of the plot would be giving to much away. Read it, get absorbed by the rich tapestry the author has created with so much finesse, insight and joie de vivre. I am looking forward to reading more of Orna’s work now.

    See original review on

  9. Elaine G

    Would make excellent Book Club read

    I finished this book about two weeks ago but haven’t reviewed it until now because it really was one of those reads that I had to distance myself from to comment on objectively, because first impressions were that I hated it, although with the benefit of time, it wasn’t the book that I hated, it was the main character, Mercy, and even that may have been a little unfair on her.

    There are a number of clever twists and turns along the road, and the ending itself is a bit of a shocker indeed. To sum up, it was a very good story which was extremely thought provoking on a number of levels and if my feelings went off on a tangent that the author didn’t intend, then that is my bad!

    I think this would be a good choice for a book club – having spoken to someone else who has read the book, we found that I hated Mercy, and she hated Star – so I am sure it would provoke some very interesting discussions indeed!

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  10. Susanne

    What a beautifully written story. The story of Mercy and her relationship with her angry daughter, Star, who she loves more than anything in the world. Her feelings for Zach,the man she was meant to be with, is beautifully described and mesmerising, as is her relationship with her old father. It is set both in Ireland and California and the descriptions of both are spot on. Without giving any of the plot away, I’ve just finished the book and is left reeling at the end. Literary fiction at its best.

    See original review on

  11. J F Penn

    Brilliant, but not an easy read. Challenging emotionally, like all great literary fiction

    This is literary fiction with a mystery at its heart. Mercy Mulcahy’s father asks her to help him die when he is already dying a painful death. He just wants it over with. Assisted dying is a cause that needs highlighting – our sick animals can die peacefully in the arms of those who love them, but not our sick people. But in Ireland, as in the rest of the world, this is considered murder and she is accused of it, standing trial and watched by her daughter and lover.

    But this is not the main thrust of the book, and Ross doesn’t make this easy reading. For this is a tale of family dysfunction, of men and women, of mothers and daughters, love, hate and duty. You will find yourself examining your own relationships, and questioning what you would do, what you would give up for the ones you love. Highly recommended.

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