News of emancipation reaches the southern town of Mercy where within its boundaries four women journey to define freedom within their lives. They endure abuse, tend to unrequited love and ache from broken families. Suffering too long, only their dreams, desires and secrets hold them up each day.
Sylvia, the cook and confidant of her former mistress, hungers in silent desperation for a life with her sons who were sold years ago and for her husband who sleeps beside her filled with fury in his fists. She is not the only bruised soul on the plantation. Mistress Vivian Purvis moves about Mercy with a veneer of perfection, a fabricated likeness of the perfect wife to one of the town s wealthiest and distinguished men. He, too, is lined in a pretty caul to conceal his brilliant misimpression. In their suffering, the two women discover they can help each other stand up and heal.
The resounding news marks the lawful end of slavery for Blacks, yet, on a neighboring plantation, they do not scatter and run, they do not gather up their children and move their free limbs in a joyous, gallant departure. Instead, they are trepidatious not eager, frightened not doughty. The deaths of Blacks brave enough to leave the plantation behind have their legs stiff with fear as they watch their neighbors kick up dust pulling their belongings behind them. There, with sharp eyes and long ears resides, Nella Jo, First Lady, a black slave and the Master’s mistress, who lives in luxury and exploits her position among the other slaves. When the comforts of her life begin to dwindle at the onset of emancipation, frenzied and despondent, she strives to maintain the past to secure the future for herself and her daughter, Yuna. A woman with her own desires, Yuna, struggles against her mother’s manipulations and stingy love for a different life all her own.
In Mercy, secrets hide in sluggish water and misfortune roams upright, and without restraint. When freedom rings, each woman finds she is a prisoner grappling for some of it. Within their journeys, they discover the passageway to freedom resides within and always will.
EXPOSING SECRETS AND TAKING A JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
FORT WORTH, TX – October 25, 2013 – After the signing of Emancipation Proclamation, two women, enslaved their entire lives struggle with their newfound freedom. Is a gift or a continued life of oppression by a new name? What happens to an enslaved woman who has endured a lifetime of abuse? How does the other find her true identity amongst the non-privileged? How do both they find their way out of fear and despair? Local Author, Poet and WriteLife™ Coach, Brook Blander helps us to understand the answers to these questions in her well anticipated historical fiction novel, The Secrets of Mercy (246 pp.$17.99).
In recognition of the signing of 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, The Secrets of Mercy gives readers a realistic view of the slave women and their former mistress’ journey into freedom and the challenges they experienced. Still holding to the wounds of bondage, the women grapple with the longing for children sold away long ago, struggle with her husband’s misdirected frustrations, while others long for the comfort of their former lives. Each woman, alike and different from the other, works through the challenges of the secrets in their lives to find their way to their true freedom.
“The Secrets of Mercy was written to shed light on the fallacy of domestic violence being something new, something just surfacing. Not only is the dis-ease not new, it is a learned behavior passed from generation to generation. It does not discriminate. The Secrets of Mercy illustrates a truth of its effect across race, age, and class.” Blander stated.
With the release of The Secrets of Mercy, Blander’s initiative, SistahGifting, was started to help provide her book(s) to victims of domestic violence through donations made from other readers. If a buyer is interested, a donation can be made toward the purchase of a book that will be donated by the author at various domestic violence prevention events across the nation.
Title: The Secrets of Mercy
Publication Date: October 25, 2013
Price: $14.99 USD +$2.50 Shipping
Available Online: www.brookblander.com, NOOK, KINDLE (Ebook $4.99 USD)
To order your copy of The Secrets of Mercy or to learn more about the author for signing/speaking engagements, please call Management | ebonyLotus at (888) 255-5182.
Brook Blander was born in Savannah, GA, “heir to ignorance of self love” and “entrenched six generations deep” in abuse of all sorts and measurements. In her newly released and highly anticipated fifth book, now that I’m here; lyrics from the mud to the sun (2010), she tells of her conception in a damp basement through the rape of her mother. She calls the book her lyrical autobiography. Nikki Giovanni, author of Bicycles, described it “a wonderful introduction to a new voice in poetry.” Detroit Poet Laureate, Naomi Long Madgett’s praise read “This is a book of triumph…”
During her early years, she lived outside the presence and comfort of her mother and in the unbearable discomfort of pain which strained the limits of her tender heart. “When I was a girl, I thought crying was for pain only and didn’t cry my first tear of joy until I saw my mom walking up the street from the bus stop, ready to take me home with her. When I was a girl…” It could have been anything but, perhaps, it was despair which flung her, at the age of five, into the imaginative world of the stories she penned.
Back then her audience included the strangers aboard city buses to whom she read her stories while she traveled alone. Today, her audiences fill stadiums, museums, auditoriums, libraries and coffee houses throughout the country. She was a featured author/poet sharing the stage with a few of her (s)heros, Nikki Giovanni, Pam Grier, Suzzanne Douglas-Cobb, and Sheryl Lee Ralph at the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 50th Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA and a feature poet and spokesperson for the I Am Woman Expo in Detroit, MI.
When asked about the purpose of writing she said, “My goal is to bring awareness to the secrets that are buried deep with people’s lives. Those same secrets hinder relationships, growth and inner peace.” She uses her writing as a form of activism and believes it can change the world, and aid in the rebuilding of victims of abuse as it has done for her. Reaching beyond the confinements of walls of layered bricks, she has been featured in numerous magazines such as From The Inside Out Magazine, Black Pearls Magazine, and Detour Memphis among others. She has also been a guest on several popular radio shows including internet radio shows Motown Writers Literary Network and Sippin’ on Ink.
Blander’s first book titled From This Day Forward (2003) is a writer’s journal designed to motivate dedication to writing and daily journaling, one of her favorite engagements with her self. As in past years, she continues to lecture and facilitate writers groups upon request. SoulSpoken (2005), her second book and debut poetic collection of “fully grown” pieces tells of her violent entry into this world, a tribute to one of her favorite artist, a call to fathers, and the strength bound in her locs and love. During the fall of 2007, her third book, Lyrics Of An Awakening, emerged. It is the rhythmic telling of her resistance and surrender to the art of poetry, chapters of her life, politics, pain, and love. Always love. WB Burkholder of Trabadour21 said, “Ms. Blander’s reflective writings are a gift to anyone who has the good fortune to experience fine poetry.” In 2009, the perfect storm, quiet and mighty, arrived in her fourth book, Personal. Intimate Comforts Of Reflection (2009). With her personal journal entries included, the book portrays love and exposes the horrors of physical abuse victimization passed on by women generations before her, and in beauty with grace tells of their strength to endure.
In a moment of wonder, she spoke with Alice Walker whom she has admired for almost her entire life, whom has provided light for a lengthy portion of the way. A week later, she met another admired pioneer, Nikki Giovanni. The meetings made clear the path she has sought is the path she is traveling. In the present, she can be found giving her time, talent and contributions to assist in the restoration of broken spirits as a result of domestic violence and child abuse. She continues this journey without the promise of triumph and reward to tell the wounded that “love harbors within…every other kind of love sought is secondary.” This world is her stage to champion change. “There is no more room left in my heart to be afraid.”
Media Photos available upon request
now that I’m here: lyrics from the mud to the sun Poetry
Personal: Intimate Comforts of Reflection Poetry
Lyrics of an Awakening Poetry
Soul Spoken (out of print) Poetry
From This Day Forward (out of print) Writer’s Journal