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#1 Amazon

Bestselling Novel 

Buy the Book 

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​"Editor’s Choice for November "
Historical Novel Society

"Named one of 12 Heartbreaking New Historical Fiction of Fall"


"#1 Bestselling Novel" 


"Named one of the 18 Best New Historical Fiction Books to Read With Your Book Club."


"Named one of November’s
Hottest Books”


"Fall/Winter Reading List 2017"

 Deep South Magazine


​Told in alternating tales at once haunting and redemptive, A TANGLED MERCY is a quintessentially American epic rooted in heartbreaking true events examining the harrowing depths of human brutality and betrayal, ​and our enduring hope for freedom and forgiveness.

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Praise for A Tangled Mercy 

A Goodreads Hot Reads Selection

“Satisfying…[A Tangled Mercy] will appeal to admirers of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.” —Library Journal

“A novel of secrets, racial tensions, family, and a love that withstands the passage of time, A Tangled Mercy is truly enthralling.” —Historical Novel Society (Editor’s Choice)

“Jordan-Lake brings us the aroma, taste, and view of Charleston as vividly as if we stood in the middle of the scene. The depth of emotion and veracity of the story sets this novel apart, as it brings a lost and critical piece of southern history to light. [It] is about the important things in our life—how art undoes our chaos; how history is part of our present; and how defiant love and forgiveness conquer hatred and bigotry.”

Patti CallahanNew York Times bestselling author of  Becoming  Mrs. Lewis 

“A must-read novel for today. Weaving the story of a slave uprising in 1822 Charleston with one set during the 2015 massacre at Charleston’s AME Church, A Tangled Mercy reminds us of yesterday’s atrocities and today’s ongoing racial travesties. Throughout the novel, author Joy Jordan-Lake offers readers compelling characters, evocative writing, and an engrossing and appalling look at time past and time present.”
M.K. Tod, author of Time and Regret

“Joy Jordan-Lake has done a masterful job with her new novel, A Tangled Mercy. She captures the beauty, charm, and challenges of one of America’s great cities, Charleston, South Carolina. In the historical-cultural context of Charleston, her writing is an inspiration. Through rich character development, she gives us an intimate view of its African American life. A Tangled Mercy is a must-read for those who want to experience the South. We meet a variety of people, both living and dead, that represent the iconic, ‘Emmanuel Nine.’”
African Methodist Episcopal Bishop John Richard Bryant, retired

“Joy Jordan-Lake’s A Tangled Mercy is an incredibly compelling and meticulously researched historical novel that will have you thinking about it long after you turn the last page. The dual narrative interweaves the story of Harvard grad student Kate Drayton’s journey to Charleston, South Carolina, to find answers about her deceased mother’s troubled past, with the little known but fascinating story of the Charleston slave uprising of 1822. It is a powerful and culturally relevant tale that should be on everyone’s must-read list this year.”
Jane Healey, author of The Saturday Evening Girls Club


A Tangled Mercy  


A haunting and redemptive novel inspired by the heartbreaking true events that occurred at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, A TANGLED MERCY examines the horrifying depths of human brutality and our enduring hope for forgiveness.

Part contemporary mystery, part historical novel,  A Tangled Mercy is set in Charleston, South Carolina, with its centuries-old mansions, haunting beauty, cultured sophistication, and its savage history— as well as its stunning example of redemption and hope.

After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture— and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt— the subject of her mother’s own research.

Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith, and slave grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves.

Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.



“A novel of secrets, racial tensions, family, and a love that withstands the passage of time, 
A TANGLED MERCY is truly enthralling.”

—Historical Novel Society (Editor’s Choice)

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​A Note from the Author

First, please let me say thank you for the chance to talk with you about how I came to write—and be obsessed for years by—the story of 1822 and present-day Charleston, South Carolina, and why this story, for me, is one that needs to be told: how the historical characters have changed the course of American history and why their message still matters today, particularly in a cultural moment in which people of common goodwill but different racial and ethnic backgrounds and perspectives are trying to hear and understand one another—and move forward together.

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This is a work of fiction, which, contrary to what any reader paying attention to recent events might assume, I began writing more than twenty years before its publication. It has been a most unusual journey.  Read More

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The 1800s


Book Details  



A Tangled Mercy

By Joy Jordan-Lake

Lake Union Publishing

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback,

e-book, Audiobook, MP3CD 

Pub Date:  11.01.17  | 433 pages   

ISBN-10: 1503946738

   ISBN-13: 978-1503946736


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Order Signed/Personalized Joy Jordan-Lake Books

Parnassus Books is pleased to offer autographed and/or personalized books by Nashville author Joy Jordan-Lake!

Please be sure to write SIGNED COPY in the comments section of your order as you check out, or your order may be filled with an unsigned book.

If you would like Joy to personalize your book, please include how you would like her to do so in the comments section as well, otherwise, we will not know to ask Joy to personalize your book and will fill your order with a signed copy. There is no extra cost for signed or personalized books!

A TANGLED MERCY Hardcover $24.95.  Order Below.  

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Signed Bookplates 

For a signed Book Plate by Author Joy Jordan-Lake, send a self-addressed envelope and any details to the address below:

Author Joy Jordan-Lake

P.O. Box 1014
Nolensville, TN 37135

Signed Copies

Charleston Today 

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