Award-winning author Joy Jordan-Lake first fell in love with Charleston, South Carolina as a young PhD student at Tufts specializing in the role of race and religion in nineteenth-century American fiction, especially in the cultural battle over slavery. It was then that she first learned of the Denmark Vesey slave revolt of 1822 and she knew this was a story she needed to tell. She spent the next twenty years researching the city, digging deeper into its turbulent past, admiring its beauty and charm and the way the past bleeds with the present on every corner. At the center of her research: Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Denmark Vesey and several slave revolt strategists had been leaders and, where nearly two hundred years to the day after the slave revolt, a racially charged shooting claimed the lives of innocent victims.
About A Tangled Mercy:
After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton flees to Charleston, South Carolina, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career in academia. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt—the subject of her mother’s own research. Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted blacksmith and slave, grapples with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves. Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s history are derailed by a massacre in the very same landmark church. In the unimaginable aftermath, Kate discovers a family she never knew existed as the city unites with a powerful message of hope and forgiveness for the world.