Mercy: The Last New England Vampire

9781934031360_p0_v1_s260x420Mercy: The Last New England Vampire
By Sarah L. Thomson

Ages: 12 and up
Category: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Islandport Press
Pub. Date: September 2011
ISBN: 9781934031360 Trade Paperback, $16.95

Fourteen-year-old Haley is struggling to cope – with her stepmom and baby brother, with her beloved cousin’s terminal illness, with dropping grades at school. When she digs deep into her family history for a school project, she uncovers a disturbing New England tradition and a ghostly past. Haley must overcome her doubts and confront a vampire in order to save herself and her family.

Mercy is inspired by a true New England story. Mercy Brown and her family lived in Exeter, R.I., in the late 1890s. When Mercy’s family members began to die, fear struck deep in the hearts of the small community. Following Mercy’s death, when her brother took sick, villagers convinced Mercy’s father to exhume her corpse, dig out her heart, burn it and feed it to her brother. He too died – as Mercy had – from tuberculosis. Thomson’s gifts as a storyteller and writer make great use of this disquieting true story to weave a unique and exciting coming of age story as Haley learns to live with change, loss, and death.

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Awards & Accolades

“A beautifully told tale of supernatural folklore and ancestry that ends in a terrifying thrill ride readers can sink their teeth into.”
—Amanda Marrone, bestselling author of Devoured

“Thomson seamlessly merges the historical and the chilling in this short tale…Teens sick of the paranormal trope, yet still looking for supernatural chills will enjoy this unique new take on the vampire and reluctant readers will enjoy its concise length. School and public libraries could enhance several facets of their collections with this title.”

“Sarah Thomson’s Mercy weaves the dark threads of an old New England legend into a contemporary tale of ghostly mystery that is both compelling and genuinely chilling. In a literary genre overrun with sparkling vampires and romance-novel angst, Thomson has crafted a welcome return to the shadowy terrors of graves and ghouls. I found myself unable to put the book down. A deliciously eerie way to pass a stormy night!”
—Christopher Rondina, author of Vampires of New England

“Sarah Thomson got it right. Unlike so many other young adult vampire novels that cannot escape the fanged shadow of the fictional Dracula, Mercy is firmly grounded in the historical reality of vampires. It is clear that the novel’s main character, Haley, understands that Mercy was a scapegoat and that it was fear of a mystifying illness that drove Mercy’s family to perform a horrific ritual. As Haley so poignantly says of Mercy, ‘this wasn’t a horror movie … It was her life.’ ”
—Michael Bell, author of Food for the Dead

“Paranormal mystery meets family drama in a fictionalized, modernized exploration of a historical suspected vampire tragedy…. [Thomson] writes a likable and appealing lead character, capturing both Haley’s grief over her family and her difficulties finding where she fits into their lives.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In a crazy slew of vampire novels, this short tale by Sarah Thomson stands out. It’s a fantastic blend of historical fiction and a chilling ghost story. This gives a new twist to the origin of vampirism and ties into a real and scary time in New England’s history… Haley is a great character.”
—Jessica Miller, Young Adult Librarian at the New Britain (CT) Public Library, on her blog, “I Read to Relax”

“[Mercy]…is a mystery with a lot of twists. The setting of this book is mostly at the graveyard with supernatural happenings going on. Fans of spooky stories will enjoy this book.”
—Gaetana Almeida, 15, Raising Maine

“Even as the book reaches its spine tingling dramatic conclusion…It takes you on a breath taking journey through time and space where you don’t know what’s going on but you hope it ends well. Beautifully done, vivid in detail and an EXCELLENT mix between fiction and true story I would recommend this book to anyone!”
—Justin B., Teen Volunteer, Portland Public Library