Stirling, Suzan. “The Silence of Mercy Bleu”, Knight Romance Publishing, 2012.
A Life Changed
Some sixteen years ago, Suzan Stirling was told that she has AIDS. For the last twelve years she has been dispelling some of the myths that surround the disease. Now she has written her first novel, the story of Mercy Blue, a preacher’s daughter who ran away from home but now returns to die. Using the themes of love, loss and second chances, Stirling gives us a story about courage and strength and how to overcome adversity. As we meet Mercy, we learn of “family secrets and second chances”.
Powerfully written by someone with AIDS, we get a totally new perspective on the disease and its effects. She knows what AIDS is and what one has to do to stay healthy and we see that Stirling knows exactly what she is writing about. Because of my involvement in the LGBT community, I also have a good background in AIDS care and treatment and to me this book serves a very important purpose. We have many books that tell stories about men with the disease but very few women have written anything. Here is a wonderfully written novel that is intense and it draws the reader in immediately. Here we feel the author on every page and the book reminds us that AIDS is still here. Interestingly enough, I just finished editing a small photo book on women with AIDS so this book reinforced a lot of what was said there.
When we think about what makes a good book, we usually mention plot and characterizations. Both are not only present in “Mercy” and the plot is well constructed. However, it is the characters and dialogue that propel the story. Stirling has created some unforgettable characters, especially Mercy who is faced with the dilemma of a new baby and worries that it also might have the disease.
Is there a message here? Of course there is as we read of Mercy dealing with the obstacles in life. Stirling has something to say about facing and overcoming obstacles of life. Mercy deals with loss, the regular trials and tribulations of life and a disease that many are afraid to talk about. I understand that this story is not autobiographical yet I am sure that the author faced many of the issues that Mercy does.
I love reading the works of new writers and I use the metaphor of finding a pearl in an oyster shell. This pearl is very large and very beautiful and I am sure we shall be hearing more from Suzan Stirling. Hopefully one day we have enough of her pearls to make a necklace.