Book Discussion -The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Age Group:

Adult , Senior
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Program Description


Join us in the discussion of The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

We meet once a month on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm. This is a hybrid event. You may join us at the library or via zoom. 

Summary of this month's book: This dark, dramatic historical from Hargrave (The  Girl of Ink & Stars) begins on Christmas Eve 1617 when 40 men from Norway’s remote island settlement of Vardø die in a storm at sea, setting in motion events that lead to witch trials and executions. Maren Magnusdatter, age 20, having lost her father, brother, and fiancé in the  storm, lives quietly in Vardø with her mother and sister-in-law Diinna, of the  Sámi people. That changes with the  arrival of noted witch-hunter Commissioner Absalom Cornet, who comes from Scotland with his Norwegian wife, Ursa, to root out nonbelievers. Unused to such meager conditions, Ursa hires Maren to help her with household chores. Their friendship grows, as does Ursa’s fear of her husband, an enthusiastic participant in the  branding, strangling, and burning of suspected witches. Encouraged by the  feudal lord who brought him to Vardø, Cornet seeks out nonchurchgoers in a crusade against evil that puts Diinna and other Sámis at risk. Eventually, Cornet arrests two local widows, tortures and burns them at the  stake, then comes to arrest Maren, while Maren and Ursa turn to each other for affection and support. Hargraves’s tale offers a feminist take on a horrific moment in history with its focus on the  subjugation of women, superstition in isolated locations, and brutality in the  name of religion.

To take part in the discussion, register for this event or please email You should receive an email confirming your participation and another email closer to the event with a link if you choose to join us virtually. 

* Books are available at the Cloverdale Library.


Advance Registration Required - Virtual

Advance registration is required. Registered participants will receive the Zoom invite one hour prior to the scheduled event. 
Questions? Or if you need special accommodations, please let us know. Email: or call your local library!