When Sadie was twelve years old, her mother got an itch for gambling, and she scratched it more often than she should have. Often forced to parent herself, Sadie’s life is full of empty promises and big responsibilities. The book opens when Alice and her boyfriend drop off Sadie at her uncle’s farm in South Dakota so they can go south to look for work and a new place to live. Sadie meets her Uncle Charlie for the first time, a reclusive Vietnam vet who raises and boards horses. Faced with the very real possibility that her mother isn’t going to come back, Sadie and Charlie discover that family can come in all shapes and sizes. Mercy is a coming-of-age story that reverberates with the basic human need to be loved.