Merry Mary by Ashley Farley

November 13th, 2015 Kimberly Review 53 Comments

13th Nov
Merry Mary by Ashley Farley
Merry Mary
by Ashley Farley
Genres: Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A young woman longing for a child stumbles upon a Christmas miracle. Investigative journalist Scottie Darden is photographing the homeless for her Lost Souls series when she makes a discovery that could change her life forever. Under a makeshift tent in subzero temperatures in a downtown city park, she finds a woman's dead body with her infant child. Without her cell phone to call for help, Scottie makes the split-second decision to take the baby home. Her initial instinct is to provide the baby with food and shelter until her family can be located. But as her fondness for the baby grows, she finds herself facing a life on the run or worse—prison time for abduction. Curl up with Merry Mary this holiday season. A heartwarming story of the powerful connection between a caring soul and an innocent child in need.

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Merry Mary, by Ashley Farley is a heart-warming, pull at your heartstrings novella and perfect for the holiday season. Farley beautifully captured the story of Scottie Darden, a motherless woman who on a cold winter morning makes a discovery that changes her life in an instant. Things could go terribly wrong and the author takes us through the events that unfold making us connect.

Espresso Review of Merry Mary:

Merry Mary delivered a believable story allowing us to connect with Scottie. While we might condone her actions, as the story unfolds we certainly understand her motives and feel her internal struggle. It highlights human connections and the power of love between a child and a mother, a brother, and a sister. It portrays the way family willing protects those they love. Farley does a great job of sharing Scottie’s mindset, her volatile marriage and the hardships she has endured. As events unfolded, I understood her actions and the way she reasoned things in her mind.  I appreciated how realistic the story was particularly the ending. This story could have been heartbreaking, but Farley focuses on the powers of faith, family, and love delivering the perfect holiday read.

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 1
The first rays of pink sunshine ushered in another day of suffering for the people who called Monroe Park in downtown Richmond home. An early winter storm had dumped six inches of snow on the city. With no clouds to blanket in warmth, temperatures had dipped into the teens for the third night in a row.

Scottie Darden parked her 4Runner alongside the dirty snowbanks on Main Street. She pulled her stocking cap down over her blonde mane and tucked her camera inside her down coat. Grabbing the two Bojangles’ bags and carton of coffee from the backseat, she trudged through the snow to a cluster of men and women huddled around a burning trash can.

Eyeing the bags of food, the group of five homeless people navigated toward Scottie. She handed out sausage biscuits and paper cups of coffee.

Scottie had stumbled upon the Five by accident a year ago while investigating a series of muggings in the area. Their despondent faces had such a profound impact on Scottie that she’d returned the next day with warm blankets and buckets of fried chicken from Lee’s. Their gratitude had moved her even more, and over the next twelve months, she’d stopped by on a regular basis, always delivering nourishment and supplies. She’d seen others come and go, but this core group of five banded together like a family.

“I brought extras today.” Scottie held up the second bag.

Mabel gestured toward a row of makeshift tents fifty feet in front of them. Her name wasn’t really Mabel. At least not as far as Scottie knew. With gray hair pulled back from her café au lait face, the old woman reminded Scottie of the housekeeper who once worked for her grandmother.

Scottie had never exchanged names with any of the Five. She’d grown to know them by their physical appearances instead.

Buck was a strapping black man of about thirty, the one Scottie feared the most because of the temper she sensed smoldering just beneath the surface Then there was Pops, the oldest male, with leathery skin the color of dark chocolate. While he never showed his teeth, Scottie often detected the hint of a smile tugging on his lips. She’d named the woman with the plain face and dull green eyes Miss Cecil after her third-grade teacher. She referred to the man in the wheelchair, with both legs amputated at the knee, as Dan, after Lieutenant Dan in the movie Forrest Gump.

Scottie offered each of the Five another biscuit before moving to the makeshift tents. She passed out biscuits to women and men who were buried under blankets and sleeping bags. She heard the faint sound of crying outside the fourth tent. She tapped lightly on the cardboard door. When no one responded and the crying grew louder, she pulled back the cardboard and peeked inside.

“Hello in there,” she called in a soft voice. “Can I interest you in some breakfast?”

The crying intensified to a squall. Beneath a threadbare blanket, Scottie made out the unmoving form of an adult-sized body and the flailing limbs of a smaller figure next to it.

“Hello.” Scottie dropped to her knees and crawled inside. “Can I hold your baby for you while you eat a biscuit?”

When the adult body remained still, Scottie peeled back the blankets to reveal a baby—three or four months old if she had to guess—with blonde peach fuzz on top of her head and a beet-red face. A girl, judging from the dirty pink fleece sleeper she was wearing. She pulled the covers back the rest of the way and gasped at the sight of the woman’s gray skin and purple lips. Scottie assumed the woman was the baby’s mother. She backed slowly out of the tent. “Someone, please help!” she cried. “I think this woman in here is dead.”

The Five fled the scene, along with every other homeless man and woman in sight. Scottie patted her pockets for her phone, then remembered she’d left it connected to the charger on her bedside table. She surveyed the area for help—a policeman, a student, a businessman on his way to work—but the park was deserted.

Scottie crawled back inside and picked up the baby, rocking her back and forth until she settled down a bit. She scooted over closer to the baby’s mother and checked her wrist and neck for a pulse, but there was none. The woman had been dead long enough for her skin to grow cold. Her eyes were closed, but her rosy lips were turned up into a smile, as though she’d seen an angel. Poor woman was probably no more than twenty years old.

Scottie pulled the blanket over the woman’s face and said a silent prayer.

Getting to a phone to call for help was the only thing on her mind when she zipped the baby inside her coat and made a dash for her car.

*Disclosure: I work as a virtual assistant for this author and was gifted a copy of Merry Mary. These factors did not influence my opinion.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

53 Responses to “Merry Mary by Ashley Farley”

  1. Lily

    Ahhh it’s been so long since i visited you (or anyone in the blogosphere really) I’ve missed you and your awesome reviews Kim! I’m so happy you enjoyed this one and since i hadn’t heard of it before i’ve made note and added it to my list!

  2. Lorna

    I love a good heartwarming Christmas read, but I have to wonder why you say it’s heartbreaking-that kind of scares me?

  3. Ashley Farley

    Thanks for your lovely review, Kim. I’m so glad you enjoyed Merry Mary. More importantly, thanks for your amazing skills as a virtual assistant. I would be lost without you.

  4. Ramona

    Sounds quite lovely, Kimba. And it would make a nice Christmas gift too, which I’m always on the lookout these days… Happy Friday 🙂

  5. Heidi

    I am cracking my holiday books out today, I meant to last night, but I fell asleep. This sounds like a nice read, and I am glad that it wasn’t sad.

  6. kindlemom1

    Even if we don’t always like a character’s actions, if we can understand them, then I am always okay with it, well unless it something horrendous of course. 😛

    Wonderful review Kim, short and sweet! Have a great weekend!

  7. Candace

    I don’t read a lot of holiday books but I try to squeeze in some novella’s so this might be perfect. Especially since it focuses more on family rather than a romance.

  8. Tracy Terry

    A book I’ve been hearing lots about – most of it positive though a few bloggers seem to be a bit disappointed that it isn’t more heart wrenching. Great review, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  9. Jee Ann

    Aw, this makes me want Christmas to come earlier! Yes, there’s some terrifying aspect of getting arrested for taking the child, but at the same time, it sounds so warm and sweet. I’m looking forward to reading this on Christmas when I’ll be splurging on books! YES!

  10. Jenny

    I’m just now starting to get in the holiday spirit Kim, I can’t bring myself to start thinking about Christmas yet, but I am ready to eat my weight in mashed potatoes. Books like this always help the holiday spirit along though, so I’m adding to my list!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Pre-blogging I would begin reading holiday books Thanksgiving weekend, but I must admit I am enjoying starting them earlier..they get me in the mood.

  11. Nick

    I thought it would be some mystery book from the cover. I don’t think is for me, but it sounds like a sweet and heartwarming story.
    Glad you enjoyed it, Kim! 🙂

  12. Bookworm Brandee

    Wow! Certainly seems like a book that’d put some holiday spirit in you, Kimberly. I like that Scottie and her actions were portrayed realistically, even though you didn’t necessarily condone her actions. I’m adding this one to my wishlist. 🙂

  13. Silvia

    Sounds like a heartwarming read we shouldn’t miss, especially this time of the year!
    Thanks for sharing and also for the giveaway 😀