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REVIEW: Undressing Mercy by Deanna Lee

Dear Ms. Lee:

Undressing MercyThis was the first book that I read by you and the writing was good enough to get me to hunt down and purchase some of your backlist titles. I only wish that you or your publisher had told buyers that this book had already been released as an ebook with LooseID so that the buyer wouldn’t inadvertently buy the book twice.

Mercy, an assistant director of a major gallery in Boston, is attempting to cement her position as next in line for the directorship. She has a promise from one of the premier artists in the world to show an exclusive at her gallery. The catch is that she must pose for a piece to be included in the collection. Her goals are impeded by Milton Storey, the current director. And, her past. Mercy is recovering from a rape from a former co-worker. When a current project brings her former co-worker to Boston, Mercy’s attempts at recovery are tested.

Mercy moved to Boston from NY on the basis that she would be given the directorship at the gallery. One of the main reasons that Mercy moved was that she suffered the rape. Because she was afraid of the scandal, of her position in the art world, and the thought of a trial, Mercy decided to move instead of pursuing any legal charges. The book opens with her at her therapist’s office and I thought that was a smart move. It showed me that Mercy was actively seeking help to recover from the trauma.

Milton Storey is a blowhard who skirted the edge of believability. His goal is to get rid of Mercy but she has the backing of the board who brought her in. With the confidence that she lacks in her personal life, Mercy is able to stand down Milton. I do not know whether you intended the work situation to parallel the sexual assault Mercy had with her co-worker or whether I was reading things into the story but it seemed to me that part of the plot was watching Mercy assert herself over Milton Storey in a way she couldn’t do over her co-worker in NY but learns to do during the course of the book.

Shamus Montgomery is a well known sculptor who specializes in art depicting nude and sensual women. As part of the deal for allowing Mercy’s gallery to show his pieces, Shamus wants Mercy to sit for him. At first, I thought this was a ridiculous request but over the course of the story, you really sold me on how great of an honor it was for Mercy to be asked and how normal it seemed for the artist to be making the request.

As Mercy “undressed” she gained more power over her own life, in part because she was regaining control over her sexuality. The story is told in the first person and other than the graphic language, I didn’t find the book to be outre in terms of the sex. It did have erotic overtones because of the nature of the book: i.e., Shamus sculpted erotic pieces and therefore needed to explore those aspects of a woman.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the names: Mercy and Shame (his nickname). I felt that they were so unusual that they should mean something but I wasn’t sure where they fit into the overall story.

The niggles in this book would be that some of the secondary characters were too broadly drawn for my taste, their actions were too extreme. Further, I felt that Shamus was really a mystery. I couldn’t understand the attraction between Shame and Mercy because I really never understood Shame. This is a good book, but not a great book. B-.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

6 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 19:13:13

    I must admit, the derivative of Shamus’s name, pissed me off a bit. I had a WTF moment, when I learned that he preferred to be called Shame. Shame? Shame? Nope, didn’t work for me. Liked the book though!

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  2. Jane
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 21:52:24

    The nickname was so strange that I felt it had to mean something (ala Billy Budd from Moby Dick) but I couldn’t figure out the symbolism.

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  3. Karen Scott
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 00:00:46

    I was thinking that maybe it meant he had no shame, but that doesn’t make sense either.

    ReplyReply

  4. May
    Sep 13, 2006 @ 06:06:20

    I’ve the pubbed by Loose-Id version. I’m going to have to read it really soon now that you’ve reviewed it.

    ReplyReply

  5. Deanna Lee
    Oct 06, 2006 @ 15:56:07

    Thanks for reading Undressing Mercy.

    The original novella was published at Liquid Silver Books but was extended into a full length piece for Kensington.

    Have a great day!

    ReplyReply

  6. lina
    Jun 15, 2008 @ 18:41:53

    I loved reading, undressing mercy. I actually like the name Shame. I have read some of Deanna Lee’s other books, I read bare naked jane first. loved it also. since it was labeled erotic romance. I’m not gonna be fake surprised by the steamy sex. I think she did a great job keeping the story line through out the book interesting, some romances get a little to much about sex. And i might get cursed down about this but i have to say it, I love that she made it a biracial story. Not because it matters but it wasn’t a cheap description of tall dark and handsome so cliche nowadays. I give this book and A. and I will be looking for more of Deanna lees work. A new fan ~lina * major typos im a lover not a writer spare me please: )

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