Book Review: Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

Little Mercies Book CoverTitle: Little Mercies

Author: Heather Gudenkauf

Series: None

Released: June 24, 2014

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA


Book Summary:

In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences…

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity; the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.



This was a great story that had me second thinking how I look at and judge others.  The story focuses on Ellen who through a series of unplanned events ends up leaving her child in the car on a hot day. Is this a crime worthy of prosecution and punishment or a terrible mistake? Ellen is a social worker and has taken children away from their parents, now the tables have been turned and she is the one being investigated.

I finished reading this book in Mid-July.  Just last week a story hit our local news about a mother whose child died from heat exhaustion after being accidentally left in a car. The 20th child to die in the U.S. this year.  I can honestly say I reacted with much more compassion and empathy than I might have because of reading this book. I recognize how easily such an accident can occur.

After reading this book I read a really good article on forgetting a child in the backseat of a car in the Washington Post. It’s worth reading for those who are interested.

Little Mercies is a page turning story that held my interest. Recommended to those who enjoy Women’s Fiction/Literary Fiction/Family Drama type stories.

4.5 Stars

Rating: 4.5 Stars – Highly Recommend

Content: some language

Source: Netgalley


Purchase on


  1. A great review. This book made me think about how I look at and judge others also. It is terrifying how a momentary distraction can have such devastating consequences and it can happen to anyone.

  2. Excellent post and review. It can be an accident, but difficult to believe some folks actually leave their child in the car and run into a store.

    I liked this book a lot.

    THANKS for sharing.

    Have a good rest of your Sunday.