Book Review – Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas

by Maryse on August 3, 2012 · 9 comments

in Alternative

Tender Mercies
After reading Comfort Food by the same author, I experienced a sort of dazzled bewilderment. I LOVED it, but I couldn’t come to grips with *why* I did. No wait. I knew the “why” of it, (’cause it was simply awesome)… but the subject matter was just so dark and scary.

Like Mariel from my Facebook page said:

“When I read Comfort Food I was slightly disturbed by the fact that I wasn’t disturbed by the ending…  Am I the only he who felt that?”

I know right?!! Me too, and yes, it is perplexing, but the author spun an amazingly unique story and there is no denying that it draws you in, and makes you think… differently. A worthy read for sure, for those that like to explore an ominous thrill.

And even though I was leery of delving further into this reading genre, I knew it would call to me again, and I’d want more. Last week, I let myself go fully and went on a dark reads marathon, and jumped right back into another from Kitty Thomas. This one. OMG look at that gorgeous cover… so beautiful and serene and yet, the subject matter is clear, if you look again.

I loved it. Not as much as Comfort Food, (the shock value of that one, and the deep emotional connection that the reader experiences through the heroine cannot be beat), but this one was a great read. The “what if” had me nervous right from the very start. Those warnings that we’ve all heard about with internet relationships, meeting a stranger that you think you know, that you’ve been talking to for months now (a year?) … the whole “be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it” scenario was loud and clear.

When Grace get’s bored of the limiting BDSM “Master/slave” play she decides to search the internet for something more, and finds exactly what she thinks she wants. An island where buying and selling slaves is legal.

From the time she’d learned of Eleu, she’d become obsessed with it. A real place where it was legal to belong to someone. The independently-goverened island was kept secret, even among the kinky set.

Now she can have a real Master. And after a year of video-chatting with good looking Lucas Stone, he insists he is done playing games. He will send her a ticket and she can be officially his once she arrives. Here’s the thing. She relinquishes her passport and citizenship once she gets there and loses all of her rights as a slave. All of them. Their laws do not protect her.

Pictures had been exchanged. Naughty webcam sessions had taken place. And now he wanted her to make the choice to hand him her freedom. And the f%&ked-up part? She wanted to. He was rich. He was gorgeous. And he had a voice that reached inside and flipped some switch that made her want to kneel at his feet.

She wasn’t uninformed about the laws of Eleu. She knew the risks. She couldn’t appeal based on her rights as a citizen of any other country, because former citizenship was renounced at the gate. There wasn’t a single embassy. Tourism wasn’t permitted.

No one could come rescue her, so she had to be sure. The only law pertaining to the safety of slaves in Eleu was the you couldn’t kill them.

Oh I have no idea how to explain my feelings while I was watching her chat and fall for this guy, and feel like she would lose him if she didn’t act on his offer.

Gracie343: Are you mad at me?

Stoneman: No, pet. But I’m not waiting forever. This long-distance domination isn’t cutting it for either of us. I want you in my bed. I’ll give you another month. But if you aren’t on that plane…

I felt her… somehow I knew, (because I was in her mind, of course) that he would be the “one” for her. What she needed. Now let me make it clear… I didn’t think that. Hehe nope… not me. ;) But she did, and there I was, in her head, feeling her, and it was making me crazy. Brain one way, heart another. THAT is how good this author is. Taking something that could obviously go so terribly wrong and making it feel right.

And once she gets there, her world is turned upside down. Everything she wanted, everything she “imagined” (<—- key word)… actually living it proves to be a much harsher reality.

Reality hadn’t been what she wanted, unless it was a reality she’d orchestrated with the circumstances that turned her on. This did not turn her on.

I’m going to stop there. I experienced this book with NO idea of how it would play out, each nightmarish lashing, each absolutely dark (and I MEAN DARK) brutal scene, would there be light at the end of the tunnel?


There is “Asher” (another Master on that same island). And let’s just say, even Masters that are allowed to rule their slaves without laws, have different ways of doing so.  Not all of them are monsters. You know…I mean, if “Masters” are your thing. *eeeep* eek

Maybe not as “dark” as Comfort Food, but close. It has it’s moments (quite a few of ‘em), so just remember, you are in her head every step of the way. This is not a sexy & fun “BDSM Club/Lifestyle” erotica read. ’Cause even when it’s good, it’s still mind-bendingly… just… umm…. neutral not something that I can comprehend (trying to say that, without giving anything away). *shrug* But you know how it is. I still like to read ‘em.

Just make sure you want to read something like this, before going in, ‘kay? 

Oh!! AND… how it starts? OMG heartbreaking. I was SO into it, right from the start. This book made my heart race, made me sad, confused, elated, scared out of my mind, hopeless and… hopeful.

4 stars

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Carla August 3, 2012 at 8:42 PM

This kind of books scares the hell out of me. Maybe someday I can read it… but I still think this is not my thing. hehehe

Alexsandra August 4, 2012 at 1:00 AM

I loved it! It had me from the start to the point where I read the whole book in one day. I am not that into these types of books but i figured i should give it a try….your reviews havent let me down yet so why not, right? I am really glad I came across your website. Thanks! :)

Maryse August 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I get you, Carla ;) hehe

Alexsandra – I’m so glad you enjoyed it, too!! It’s fun to push our usual reading boundaries a bit. I’m glad you found my website too!!

Whitney August 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I just finished reading it and I liked it as well. With Comfort Foods I was left with such conflicting feelings about the ending (as most of us were) but with Tender Mercies I felt it was a great story with a good type of happily ever after. I loved it, thanks for another great suggestion!

bookster August 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

I’m scared to jump into these books :( Fifty was about as far as I can go and you guys sound like you are faaaaaaaaaaaaaaar past Mr.Grey!!

Maryse August 4, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Yah…. these “Masters” are ummm… yah. Not Fifty. Hee hee!!!

Kuklamou August 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM

I have been following for about a month now and have gotten back into my favorite pastime…..reading (or should I say absorbing books like a drug??), thank you. I think I have read EVERYTHING you have suggested from the JR Ward brotherhood series to Beautiful Disaster to Easy, the list is quite long. For this one (Tender Mercies) I am like Alexsandra and read in one day. I couldn’t put it down. I went through the highs and lows (those lows….) with Grace. Talk about going outside my usual reading boundries……we are talking WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY OUT! Time for some softer reading for the rest of the night….I am thinking Obsidian (Lux Series).

Ash May 4, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Seriously? I’ve just finished reading this because you recommended it and I can’t believe your review. I found it very interesting but didn’t feel I was right there with Grace or inside her head at all. If anything, I could see how she was being too naïve in the beginning and too overly mistrusting later. Like, when a beaten animal sees someone being kind to her, she generally latches on like a lamprey, but remains tame in case she gets hit again. Not that I think people are like animals or anything. What I mean is I could totally see Asher’s POV most of the time rather than Grace’s. Or, even an objective third party’s. Want a book where you can totally feel inside her head and fall for the guy?? Tears of Tess. The best I’ve ever read in this genre. Have you reviewed that one?? I could hear Tess laughing at Grace inside my head at times. I still enjoyed this book a lot and loved the fact that there weren’t useless scenes. Everything in it served to either develop characters or move the story forward. Plus, there weren’t tons of endless and unnecessary unrealistic sex scenes, though some parts of the ones in there were unrealistic from the POV of someone who’s actually been a bottom for years.

Ash May 4, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Also, I want to apologize if I sounded like a b*tch in my previous post. I was hungry and in a hurry, but that wasn’t the idea. I meant to thank you for recommending this book to me. I really enjoyed it A LOT despite my heated comparison =P I’ve also gotten most of the books in your top ten list in my kindle to gnaw at this week ;)
The work you’ve been doing with this website is AMAZING. It truly is. Everything is so neat and categorized, it’s super easy to navigate and it find what you want. Oh, and can I return the favor and suggest that you read and review Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters? I know you’re gonna LOVE it and I’m very curious as to what you might think of it.

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