This Dark Road to Mercy - Wiley Cash
The critically acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home—hailed as “a powerfully moving debut that reads as if Cormac McCarthy decided to rewrite Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird” (Richmond Times Dispatch)—returns with a resonant novel of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, set in western North Carolina, involving two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins.
After their mother’s unexpected death, twelve-year-old Easter and her six-year-old sister Ruby are adjusting to life in foster care when their errant father, Wade, suddenly appears. Since Wade signed away his legal rights, the only way he can get his daughters back is to steal them away in the night.
Brady Weller, the girls’ court-appointed guardian, begins looking for Wade, and he quickly turns up unsettling information linking Wade to a recent armored car heist, one with a whopping $14.5 million missing. But Brady Weller isn’t the only one hunting the desperate father. Robert Pruitt, a shady and mercurial man nursing a years-old vendetta, is also determined to find Wade and claim his due.
Narrated by a trio of alternating voices, This Dark Road to Mercy is a story about the indelible power of family and the primal desire to outrun a past that refuses to let go.
First of all, I loved this book. I loved it a whole lot. I think I loved it because I could absolutely identify with Easter. My brother isn't quite Ruby, but kind of close. I've only mentioned it briefly on my blog before because I maybe haven't totally reconciled it myself, but my biological father is kind of a waste. He's an alcoholic and on his better days he was abusive. While the intellectual part of me knows he didn't really want to care for my brother and I, the emotional part of me always kind of hoped that maybe in his drunken fog, there were memories of when he did love us and maybe even wanted us. Granted, our life would have turned out terrible if he were around and I'm thankful my mother had enough balls to get up and leave even if that meant traveling a difficult road. But even still, there is a little girl inside of me who always held hope that her dad actually gave a damn on how she turned out.
Which is like Easter. Easter and Ruby are the products of a once promising relationship. Their mother, while raising them alone, is depressed, letting loser guys come around, and eventually passes away from a drug overdose. Easter is a pretty calm and level headed kid, used to having to care for her sister Ruby, and so that's what she does. She calmly walks down the road and calls for help. This lands them into a foster home. Until the day Easter sees their father, Wade, watching them on the sidelines of a baseball field. Easter knows her dad is basically a deadbeat. He makes false promises, is always in trouble, and nothing good would come of him being around. Except Ruby is younger and she just thinks it's their ticket out. So one night Wade comes to them and they run with him. Only because Ruby is excited and Easter can't take that away from her.
Then the story alternates between Brady, their guardian ad-litem who was a cop before essentially ruining his career and his own family dynamic and Pruitt, the man who hates Wade more than anything who is on a mission to kill Wade and exact revenge because as it turns out, Wade stole a bunch of money. While Wade's actions are terrible, his motives are fairly pure- he wants his girls back. He thinks that he can raise them on the run, with stolen money, and no actual plan. Easter figures out what's going on and does her best to play along for Ruby's sake and she's far more mature than her age allows. She doesn't cut Wade any slack, as she shouldn't.
I have a lot of thoughts about the ending of the book. I was actually kind of sad. I can't tell you why because that basically ruins it. I will also say I kind of disliked Brady at the end and the dick move he pulled. And the final act of kindness from Wade? It might be the beginning of my period, but I kind of loved it and I teared up. It's like he actually does care and it's the best he can do, and he knows Easter would understand.
Basically, at only 240 pages, you need to read this book. It resonates with me because I can really identify with it and I just really loved it. It makes you really hope that Easter and Ruby have a good life where they end up. You really hope the other characters pull it together for themselves, but we won't ever really know. And I'm OK with that because it wasn't really ever about them, was it? It was about the girls. So often when parents split up, the kids basically get lost in the mix. Not this time. I feel like it was everyone else that got muffled out except the girls. And I really liked that.
Check out Wiley's website, Facebook and Twitter. This isn't his first book and surely won't be his last.