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"Set in post-apartheid Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, this realistic story traces protagonist Mercy's quest to speak up for truth and, consequently, for herself. ...] Sensitive, funny, and tender." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Mercy lives in modern-day Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with her eccentric foster aunts--two elderly sisters so poor that they can only afford one lightbulb. A nasty housing developer is eying their house. And that same house suddenly starts falling apart--just as Aunt Flora does, too. She's forgetting words, names, and even how to behave in public. Mercy tries to keep her head down at school so nobody notices her. But when a classmate frames her for stealing the school's raffle money, Mercy's teachers decide to take a closer look at her home life. Along comes Mr. Singh, who rents the back cottage of the house on Hodson Road. When he takes Mercy to visit a statue in the middle of the city, she learns that the shy, nervous "Mohandas" he tells stories about is actually Gandhi, who spent a cold and lonely night in the waiting room of the Pietermaritzburg train station over a hundred years earlier. It marked the beginning of his life's quest for truth, and the visit to his statue marks Mercy's realization that she needs--just like Gandhi--to stand up for herself. Mercy needs a miracle. But to summon that miracle, she has to find her voice and tell the truth--and that truth is neither pure nor simple.
Catalyst Press, 9781946395177, 162pp.
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
About the Author
Bridget Krone lives in a village called Hilton in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains in South Africa. Her favorite stories are those that, just when you expect a lesson, sing a song instead.