In Blessed, Sherry Robinson has created an eclectic cast of characters who could live in any American small town. Everyone here is searching for their own mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Robinson is a rare voice who explores many angles of a situation, including those that might seem easily defined as right or wrong; good or bad; evil or virtuous. In the end, even those people who seem most confident in their beliefs come to see that nothing—in religion, friendships, family, or life—is so simple.
—NATALIE SYPOLT, author of The Sound of Holding Your Breath
The characters inside Blessed are so real readers will feel they could shake their hands after a Sunday sermon. The descriptions of church are vivid: you can smell the familiar scent of a dusty sanctuary, hear golden-toned, gospel music humming from the choir room, and feel the heft of a rugged, time-tattered hymnal in your hands. Despite such striking descriptions, Robinson is able to step back and weave this wonderful tale simply, with a calmness of tone and straightforwardness that lets the characters speak for themselves. She does this to great effect. Blessed is a beautifully-written story told by a tremendously talented writer.
—FRANK REDDY, author of Eyes on the Island and award-winning journalist
Sherry Robinson has a true understanding of small towns and their spiritual turmoils. In Blessed she gives us the compelling story of the town of Mercy, through its characters and their attempts to understand the words of Christ and the conflicts that result from their differing interpretations. She writes with such clear humanity that I knew each character in the town, and therefore knew the town itself. She has a rare gift for making true characters involved in an absorbing narrative, and to our benefit she has chosen to write about real people struggling with faith, belief, and action. Her work here is so true, so immediate and compelling, that it is hard to put down.
—CARRIE MULLINS, author of Night Garden
“A thoughtful religious novel…[that] asks many probing questions, using a light blend of mystery, tragedy, and reflection.”
Robinson (My Secrets Cry Aloud, 2012) tells the story of an unorthodox preacher’s effect on a small Southern town. …The novel, as narrated by various members of Grayson’s congregation, explores the ways that the exceptional young preacher touched the lives of the people of Mercy—including the diner waitress who wasn’t a churchgoer when he moved to town; the Vietnam veteran whose PTSD causes people to avoid him; and even the congregants who disagreed with Grayson’s controversial views… Grayson’s widow and children also speak their pieces, revealing the personal side of a man who was reviled by some and beloved by others. The portrait that emerges is not only that of a godly man, but also of the imperfect community of everyday Christians that he attempted to serve. Robinson’s prose is precise but malleable as she channels the voices of her many characters and reveals their fears and desires. …Robinson does an admirable job of exploring the varied personalities of other players as they grapple with their faith and other beliefs. Grayson is the name on every character’s lips, but he ultimately acts as a lens through which the reader can view each narrator.”