By Rae Meadows
Griffin, Paperback, 9781250009180, 258pp.
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
A rich, luminous novel of three remarkable women connected across a century by a family secret and by the fierce brilliance of their love
Samantha's mother has been dead almost a year when the box arrives on her doorstep. In it, she finds recipe cards, keepsakes, letters-relics of her mother Iris's past. But as Sam sifts through these family treasures, she uncovers evidence that her grandmother, Violet, had a much more difficult childhood then she could have ever imagined. And Sam, a struggling new mother herself, begins to see her own burdens in a completely different light. Moving from the tempered calm of contemporary Madison, Wisconsin to the seedy underbelly of early twentieth century New York, we come face to face with a haunting piece of America's past: From 1854 to 1929 orphan trains from New York transported 150,000 to 200,000 destitute, orphaned or abandoned children across the country to find homes on farms in the Midwest. Rae Meadows takes us on our own journey of discovery in "Mercy Train (originally published as Mothers & Daughters)," an affecting and wonderfully woven novel about three generations of motherhood, family, and the surprising sacrifices we make for the people we love.
“Wonderful...A perfect book-club pick…It will prime conversations about your own choices, which may change your whole sense of self, or at least make you feel not so alone.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A poignant look at three generations struggling with loss and love." —Good Housekeeping
"A book you’ll want to sit and read straight through...It will have you considering your own choices and those of your mother: What has she chosen not to tell you? What happened before you? What do you want to know?"—Bookpage
"Tender...perceptive... "—The Capital Times
“[Mercy Train] showcases Meadow’s ability to create generations of fully formed women as they navigate life-defining moments…This is the story of how much we often don’t know about the people who raise us.” –Bookslut
"Rae Meadows has written a richly textured novel of three generations of mothers and daughters who by finding each other, find themselves. In these beautifully interwoven stories of birth and death, love and loss, Violet, Iris, and Samantha explore the genetic threads that connect each to the others. . . . a powerful novel of women’s secrets and strength."— Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author of Prayers for Sale and Whiter Than Snow
“I couldn’t put this book down. Meadows masters the nuances in marriage and family relationships with sensitivity, subtlety and striking accuracy. You must read Mercy Train.”
—Eugenia Kim, author of The Calligrapher’s Daughter
“Rae Meadows is at the very top of her game in this incredibly honest and often heartbreaking novel. When I was finished, I gave it to my mother to read, and then my mother-in-law, knowing that every woman who has ever had a child, or thought about having a child, would be moved by this phenomenal book.” –Emma Straub, author of Other People We Married and Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures