Set in the early 1900s in Sinclair, Kansas, “Echoes of Mercy” follows the intrepid workplace investigator Caroline Lang. Caroline is tasked with going undercover to look into the death of another investigator, as well as finishing his report on the working conditions at the Dinsmore Chocolate Factory with a special eye toward forced child labor conditions.
This well-written historical tale intrigued me for a number of reasons. The lead female character is intelligent, feisty and capable. Despite the time period, she is taken quite seriously by her mentor, and even by most of the other people she encounters. There isn’t a lot of hand-wringing with Caroline. She is spirited and spiritual, and that combination makes for an engaging character.
Oliver, the heir to the factory who is working there undercover as an assessor for his father, is taken with her from the first moment he sees her despite his belief that they come from very different classes. This is a gentle romance—no bodice ripping here. This is an interesting merging of intellects rather than bodies. In fact, one of the most intriguing points in the book, for me, is the way that opposing views on a very sensitive subject are handled—both viewpoints are presented, and despite the reader’s allegiance naturally going towards Caroline’s side, Oliver isn’t vilified. Even Caroline’s disappointment in his views doesn’t detract from the overall respect shown to the character.
While the tale on the surface is a mystery and a romance, the book goes beyond that into issues of honor, duty, personal development and spirituality. And you cannot help but cheer for Caroline. From her care of three young children she meets early on to her constant drive to fight for what is right, you cheer the woman that she has become despite her early troubles—a stark contrast to that of the antagonist in the story who faced similar difficulties, but chose a different path.
“Echoes of Mercy” is written by Kim Vogel Sawyer. Sawyer lives in Kansas, and is a best-selling award-winning author with more than one million copies of her books in print. To learn more about her, visit kimvogelsawyer.com.