Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace

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It’s 1952 in the small western Kentucky town of Paducah and Mrs. Minerva Place would prefer that everyone mind their own business, follow the rules, and if dead, stay dead. Nosy neighbors and irritating church members are bad enough but when residents of the local cemetery start showing up, the quirky widow wonders if she’s going crazy. Just as distressing, a new boy in the neighborhood seems intent on disrupting her life. Minerva, aggravated by the precocious six-year-old, holds him and his father at arm’s length. Nevertheless, with charming perseverance, they find a way into her closed-off life and an unlikely friendship begins. But just when Minerva starts to let her guard down, a tragic accident shatters her emerging reconnection with life. Now more than her sanity is at stake. With the help of the living and the dead, Minerva is forced to face issues she thought she had buried. She discovers the power of forgiveness and why it’s worth it to let others into your life, even when it hurts.

Praise for Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace

“The story of a hilariously prickly writer who finds inspiration in her imagination (or is it?), Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace is about finding the courage to carve your own path while you still have time. Tracey Buchanan is a welcome new voice in women’s fiction.”

–Camille Pagán, bestselling author of Everything Must Go

“My new favorite female curmudgeon! Prickly as a pinecone, Mrs. Minerva Place would rather chat with the residents of Oak Grove Cemetery than her own nosy neighbors. Prepare to have your funny bone tickled and your heart melted as Minerva wrestles with the inescapable vulnerability of being alive.”

–Lynne Bryant, author of Catfish Alley and Alligator Lake

“A page-turning, beautifully written novel reminiscent of the fiction from Pulitzer-winning Anne Tyler. Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace introduces us to heart-warming and unforgettable characters, including the wonderfully complex Minerva Place, who is poised to become one of the most memorable in modern fiction. Place is somewhat of a loner who prefers the company of the dead until one unruly little boy steals⸺and heals⸺her heart. Southern fiction at its finest.”

–Susan Reinhardt, author of The Beautiful Misfits and Chimes from a Cracked Southern Belle

“Tracey Buchanan delivers an unforgettable and unlikely heroine in Mrs. Minerva Place. A crusty old church organist who feels more at home with the dead than the living, Minerva is perfectly content to keep herself safe behind her own walls. At least, she’s content until the day a child walks into her life and, entirely against her will, teaches her the meaning of love, forgiveness, and second chances. With a vivid, unforgettable voice, Buchanan leads the reader on a journey that reminds us that no matter our past wounds or present mistakes, everyone is worthy of love.”

–Kathleen M. Basi, award-winning author of A Song for the Road

“With the sure hand of a skilled writer, Buchanan transports us to a world where ghosts from the past stalk a historian and living in the present is fraught with hardships. This author hits the sweet spot of humor and tragedy where anything, even love, is possible.”

–Jacqueline Sheehan, NYT bestselling author

“Cranky and clumsy Minerva Place has a problem: The whole town thinks she’s odd and maybe a bit crazy. And what with her habit of visiting the local cemetery and talking to dead people, she wonders if maybe they’re right. Still, if they’d just leave her alone, she’d be content. Then a young widower and his six-year-old son move to Paducah and turn her life upside down. This touching and deeply affecting novel brims with humanity and will leave you contemplating: What does it mean to be connected to others and what do we owe the people whose paths we cross? This gentle-hearted and intimate glimpse into the soul of Minerva Place will stay with you long after you’ve read the last words. It’s a gem.”

–Maryka Biaggio, award-winning author of Parlor Games, Eden Waits, The Point of Vanishing, and The Model Spy

"Charming and quirky, Toward the Corner of Mercy and Peace is about the importance of forgiveness and family. There’s a little bit of all of us in Minerva Place, and she is as eccentric as they come as she learns in the oddest of ways and through the most unusual of circumstances how to love herself. Her journey is beautiful, a satisfying read that’ll leave you smiling.”

—Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post & Amazon Charts Bestselling Author

"...[Minerva's] no-holds-barred observations and criticisms and character studies give the novel a fine sense of humor...An often humorous tale of a curmudgeon who writes the undead back into the world of the living."

—Kirkus Reviews