2016 Book 362: MERCURY by Margot Livesey

Mercury by Margot Livesey 
ISBN: 9780062437501 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062437532 (ebook)
ASIN: B01A5CB3FS (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 27, 2016 
Publisher: Harper

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Donald believes he knows all there is to know about seeing. An optometrist in suburban Boston, he is sure that he and his wife, Viv, who runs the local stables, are both devoted to their two children and to each other. Then Mercury—a gorgeous young thoroughbred with a murky past—arrives at Windy Hill and everything changes.

Mercury’s owner, Hilary, is a newcomer to town who has enrolled her daughter in riding lessons. When she brings Mercury to board at Windy Hill, everyone is struck by his beauty and prowess, particularly Viv. As she rides him, Viv begins to dream of competing again, embracing the ambitions that she had harbored, and relinquished, as a young woman. Her daydreams soon morph into consuming desire, and her infatuation with the thoroughbred escalates to obsession.

Donald may have 20/20 vision but he is slow to notice how profoundly Viv has changed and how these changes threaten their quiet, secure world. By the time he does, it is too late to stop the catastrophic collision of Viv’s ambitions and his own myopia.

At once a tense psychological drama and a taut emotional thriller exploring love, obsession, and the deceits that pull a family apart, Mercury is a riveting tour de force that showcases this “searingly intelligent writer at the height of her powers” (Jennifer Egan).  

Donald and Vivian are living the American dream. They’re married with two adorable children, in a loving and committed relationship, and have a close circle of family and friends nearby. Sadly, their dream relationship begins to take a wrong turn and things go from bad to worse in Margot Livesey’s latest, the psychological thriller Mercury.

Donald was born in Scotland and came to the United States with his family as a child. He went back to Scotland as an adult and studied medicine before returning to the US to work as an ophthalmologist. He enjoyed his career and serendipitously meets and falls in love with Vivian (Viv). Soon they have two lovely children, a boy and girl, get married, move to the suburbs, and restructure their lives to suit their families needs. Fast forward a few years and Donald is working as an optometrist and Viv is no longer working in high finance but is now a horse trainer working at a local stable with her childhood best friend. Viv seems happy with her life as a trainer, mother, and wife until a new horse is brought to board at the stables. Soon she is spending all of her time at the stables, obsessing over training with this horse, obsessing over possible danger to this horse, and just obsessing. She’s no longer the woman Donald married and Donald isn’t quite sure when things went wrong, how to fix it, or whether he even wants to fix his marriage.

I found Mercury to be an engrossing read that hooked me from the very beginning. Although I read this book in one day, it is quite possible (and highly probable) that I would have finished it in a few hours if I weren’t dealing with a migraine that progressed from moderate to severe throughout the day. Even with the multiple breaks I was forced to take, I couldn’t wait to return to this story to find out what happens next. Ms. Livesey has crafted an incredible story with amazingly real and realistically flawed characters that made me believe the action was really happening rather than mere words on a page. I was intrigued by this book’s synopsis and the cover image and smiled when I got to the point where the image layout made sense (read the book and you’ll understand). I also enjoyed reading about a character with my first name, Vivian (even though I didn’t really care for the abbreviated Viv). I could tell you more about what happens in the story but I won’t (okay, there is a parrot that you’ll enjoy reading about). It is sufficient to say that Mercury includes family angst and drama, marital discord (not knock-down drag-em-out fights or anything but discord nonetheless), obsessions, lying to family and friends, cover-ups, and more. If you enjoy reading books about family drama, psychological suspense, or just want a good book to read, then I strongly urge you to grab a copy of Mercury to read. Trust me, this is one must-read book you’ll want to read sooner rather than later. I also recommend you make sure you have sufficient time set aside to read this book (like a weekend) because you probably won’t want to put it down once you start.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

margot-livesey-ap-photo-by-tony-rinaldiAbout Margot Livesey

Margot Livesey is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Find out more about Margot at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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