New York Times Best Selling Author

New Mercies

“With skillfully crafted characters and solid, authentic scenarios, Dallas has delivered a first-rate reading experience.”
—Rocky Mountain News

Natchez, Mississippi, in 1933 is a place suspended in time. The silver and china are still dented and cracked from Yankee invaders. And the houses have names…and memories.

Nora Bondurant is running away—from her husband’s death, from his secrets, and from the ghosts that dog her every step. When she receives a telegram informing her that she has an inheritance, Nora suddenly has somewhere to run to: a house named Avoca in Natchez, Mississippi. Before, she knew little about her father’s people. Now she’s learning that the lure of Natchez runs deep, and that, along with Avoca, she’s inherited a mystery. Nora’s aunt, Amalia Bondurant, was killed in a murder/suicide, and the locals are saying nothing more—except in hushed, honeyed tones.

As Nora becomes more and more enmeshed in the community and in her family’s history, she learns surprising things about the life and death of her aunt. She also learns that kinship isn’t always what it seems, loyalty can be as fierce as blood relations, and every day we are given new mercies to heal the pain of loss and love.

 

Author’s Note

When you walk down the streets of Natchez, Mississippi, you walk with ghosts. So it was no surprise that while visiting an antebellum mansion there with my daughter Dana, I seemed to be steered to a book about a 1930s murder. Without opening the cover, I told Dana that I thought the story would make a novel. Reading the book on the plane going home, I knew it would. As it turned out, New Mercies has little in common with the murder that inspired it, although both are the stories of elderly women who are murdered in their Natchez mansions and the next door neighbors are the primary suspects. In the actual murder, the killer turned out to be a burglar, but in my story, the murderer is indeed the neighbor, because he’s found dead beside the woman’s body, a gun in his hand. I realized as soon as I began writing New Mercies that, although I was born in Virginia, I am a westerner and couldn’t write from a southern viewpoint. So the story is seen through the eyes of Nora, a Denver woman, who has secrets of her own. New Mercies is two parallel stories.


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