New Book – Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf


Publishing year: 2014

The main character in this book is Ellen, a social worker.

Ellen seems to be the kind of person who can’t leave the job behind her and takes it with her. Her cases involve children and abuse, and there is a special case that has left her mark on her. It was a little girl, Madalyn Olmstead, who Ellen regularly checked on. Her father was not the best example of fatherhood; he was jealous of the attention his wife gave the girl, and there were signs of physical abuse, but Madalyn’s mother never reported her husband. When she was three or four, Madalyn died, plunging from her block of flats. Her father came out scot-free, as he claimed that the girl had climbed onto the window sill, and the screen had not been safely fixed. So he even sued the landlord and got a neat sum of money. Ellen is still obsessed with this case, but she won’t talk to anybody about it as she felt alone in this fight. Apart from this, we know that Ellen is married to Adam and is a mother to three children.

In the second chapter we are introduced to Jenny Briard, a ten-year-old, who we learn has a quite uprooted existence. She lives with her father, Billy, who seems to be a drifter adn has problems to hold onto a job and a steady home. Now the man seems to have a job in Iowa, and he’s full of plans. Yet, we see that Jenny is not as hopeful as her father, so I imagine there’ll be problems.

Interesting beginning. I’m already hooked on the story. I imagine Ellen will come into contact with Jenny. What kind of problem will her father get her into? I’m intrigued.


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