Book Reviews

The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue


Kirsten has spent her life trying to forget.
But mercy begs her to remember.


Kirstin’s life is complicated. Actually, it’s more than that. It hurts. She has a boyfriend who’s making her second-guess her convictions, parents for whom she can never be good enough, and constant reminders that she’s at least partly responsible for a terrible tragedy that still haunts her years after it happened. She’s overwhelmed by life, and she cuts herself. The pain distracts her from the storms in her life, while also giving her a sense of control. But then she accidentally goes too far and finds herself in a psychiatric hospital under the supervision of people who believe she’s trying to end her life. The only way out is by staying on a ranch  owned by Sister Frankie, a retired nun, and helping take care of Frankie’s sheep. The ranch is home to other people weathering other unimaginable hurt. But Kirsten is on the ranch for a reason, and although her physical and emotional scars run deep, they’re not to deep to be redeemed by mercy.

My Thoughts:

The Merciful Scar is a serious story, showing readers not only Kirsten’s wounds, but the wounds of others she encounters. Kirsten deals with her pain by self-injuring. Because of this, some of the scenes made me cringe and want to cover my eyes. But Kirsten is so real that I cared about her too much to leave her in the middle of her darkest moments. Faith plays a huge role in the story, but the book is never preachy. Even if you’re like me and can’t relate to everything Kirsten goes through, I’m guessing you’ve still had moments when you felt helpless and maybe even hopeless. Maybe, like Kirsten, your scars run deep. This book shows that, yes, life can be inexplicably hard, but like Sister Frankie so beautifully shows Kirsten on the ranch, we have a Good Shepherd who carries us and loves us. This book is powerful. It’ll make you cry, smile, and cry while you smile. It’s a story of redemption, healing, and Mercy strong enough to rebuild a broken life.

**Kirsten is in her young twenties, so this book is a good read for college students. Although some of the big issues in the book are handled well, I recommend this story for people in their late teens or older.

In Conclusion:

Rebecca St. James is an inspirational singer, writer, and actress (Sarah’s Choice, 2009). I looked forward to seeing her collaborate on this novel. Nancy Rue holds a very dear place in my heart, and will always be one of my very favorite authors. Her books for tweens made me fall in love with reading and I firmly believe my love of story-telling stems from the connection I felt with her books as a middle-school girl. There was something so relatable—so real—about those books that inspired me to live for Jesus and be who I was made to be. Those books still sit on my shelf, and although I’ve read them countless times, I still flip through them every now and then. I love her adult books, too, and I’m thrilled to add The Merciful Scar to my collection.

From the Back Cover:

When she was in high school, a terrible accident fractured her family, and the only relief Kirsten could find was carving tiny lines into her skin, burying her pain in her flesh. The pain she caused herself was neat and manageable compared to the emotional pain that raged inside. I’m also familiar with Rebecca St. James’ music and books

She was coping. Or so she thought.

But then, eight years later, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten learns he’s been secretly seeing her best friend. Desperate to escape her feelings, she reaches for the one thing that gives her a sense of control in the midst of chaos.

But this time the cut isn’t so tiny, and it lands her in the psych hospital. Within hours of being there she knows she can’t stay—she isn’t crazy, after all. But she can’t go back to the life she knew before either.

So when her pastor mentions a treatment program on a working ranch, Kirsten decides to take him up on the offer and get away from it all. But the one thing she can’t escape is herself—and her shame.

The ranch is home to a motley crew, each with a lesson to teach. Ever so slowly, Kirsten opens herself to embrace healing—even the scarred places that hurt the most. Mercy begs her to remember the past . . . showing her there’s nothing that cannot be redeemed.

Author Bios:

Nancy Rue: Nancy Rue is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for teens, tweens, and adults, two of which have won Christy Awards. Nancy is also a popular speaker and radio guest due to her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and her husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now share their Tennessee lake home with two yellow labs.

Rebecca St. James: Rebecca St. James is both a Grammy and multiple Dove Award recipient as well as a best-selling author whose books include Wait for Me and What is He Thinking?? Her leading role in the pro-life film Sarah’s Choice won critical acclaim. A passionate spokesperson for Compassion International, more than 30,000 children hve found sponsorship through Rebecca’s world-wide concerts.

Official Websites:

Buy the Book (available in print and ebook formats):

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.comhttp://BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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