Mercy Undeserved by Kristina Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow. Can I just say that Alberto is the man? He kind of tried to take over the amazing first book in the series, Promises Unbroken, but he came into his own in this book. And I loved it!
But first, let me talk about the other characters. Lillian – I absolutely loved her! Granted, she didn’t have the best decisions in the beginning (a lot of bad decisions, to be honest), but her character arc was just great. I loved how even after she became a believer, she struggled with living this new life and doing what was right. But her courage to do just that – what was right – was so strong when it came down to it. I felt like I really understood her character and felt her fear and desperation. Her voice was particularly good – not just one of those average female MCs who are hard to differentiate from the rest. And Scranton! I’m so glad he got a second appearance in this book. He’s just the best. I loved how he kind of “laid down the law” for Lillian and Alberto and gave them a somewhat forceful shove to do what was right. And his family was also super sweet. Mrs. Scranton seemed so cool. And of course, Matteo. That little sweetheart was just adorable. And now I’ve finally gotten back to Alberto. The dude was not one of those heroes I tend toward – the gentle, understanding, steady guys that always say the right thing and comfort the heroine. Nope. Alberto felt like this hardened mobster who was trying to live a Christian life. Yes, he made mistakes. No, he did not always comfort and say the right things to Lillian. But he tried so hard to do what was right, no matter the sacrifice. He was willing to lay down everything for Lillian and Matteo’s well-being. He might’ve not been able to put his love into words or always the right actions, but he lived it out. Not to mention, his voice was also really fun to read and very fitting. His sarcasm also added a touch of humor within the very intense plot.
Which means I’ve finally gotten around to the plot. This was intense! All of Kristina’s books are action-packed, and this one was no exception. Lillian and Alberto could not catch a break, so the pace was very fast and very suspenseful. There were unpredictable turns and heart-breaking moments along the way, and it just made me keep flipping the pages.
And the theme? Epic. Somewhere near the beginning of the book, it mentions how the Christian life is a battle. I think sometimes Christianity can be painted as this happy-go-lucky, stroll in the park, when it’s actually a literal battle. The Bible talks about putting on the whole armor of God, because we’re walking into battle. And I loved how this played out in Lillian and Alberto’s story. They had to fight so hard – even to the end of the book – against temptation. It wasn’t just a one and done deal. Just like every Christian, they had to fight against sin every day. And how did they overcome sin? By relying on the Lord. By clinging to the truth of Scripture. This was just so good and something I needed to hear when I was reading this book. The Gospel was presented throughout the book, and I loved the part where Alberto dealt with eternal security – for even when we fail, Jesus holds us fast.
Overall, this was such a great book. The whole 1920s/mobster/speakeasy/Prohibition scene was super cool and set the stage for so much action. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction or suspense would enjoy this book – I highly recommend!