Just Mercy


Fiction - General
326 Pages
Reviewed on 07/21/2015
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Author Biography

Dorothy Van Soest, MSW, PhD, is Professor Emeritus and former dean of the School of Social Work at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has published ten books, including her debut novel Just Mercy (2014), and over 50 journal articles, essays and book chapters. At the Center, the first of her Sylvia Jensen mystery series, will be released in September 2015. Van Soest lives in Seattle, WA.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite

Just Mercy by Dorothy Van Soest is a novel about one woman’s personal struggle to overcome the murder of her daughter. Bernadette Baker has been waiting many years to see the woman who brutally murdered her youngest daughter, Veronica, brought to justice. After trials, appeals, and waiting, Raelynn Blackwell is going to be executed for her crime. Yet, with a stay of execution, Bernadette finds herself thrown into a journey of self-discovery, and learning how far a person can go to find forgiveness. After a program where she has the chance to confront Raelynn for her crime, Bernadette feels she has to seek out the offender’s mother, trying to make peace between the neglectful mother and incarcerated daughter. However, when a shocking fact comes to light, will Bernadette still feel the same about seeing Raelynn put to death for her crimes?

I have always been one to appreciate a well-researched novel, and Just Mercy is certainly that. Miss Soest has taken the time to really explore the many faceted sides of the legal system, and how each individual person is impacted by a crime. Just Mercy has an excellent flow, and the story kept my attention from page one. My heart broke for Bernadette and her family. I work with victims of crime, and I can say from experience that how each of her family members felt about the execution is a fair representation of what families of victims go through. I admired Bernadette as a character and found her very realistic. Just Mercy by Dorothy Van Soest is an excellent novel, well worth the read for anyone faced with a difficult decision in their path, and desiring the strength to overcome it and find peace.