Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulencak


Sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering would do anything to protect her little sisters—even if that meant shooting their father in the back. It was a scandal that rocked the town, estranging Cissy from her mother, Caroline, and her beloved sisters. Only Cissy’s grandmother Janelle stands by her, and she needs her more than ever after further discoveries are made while Cissy is at the state psychiatric hospital. Determined to save her granddaughter at any cost, Janelle takes Cissy on a road trip that will leave them bonded more closely than ever before.

Beautifully written, with unforgettable characters you won’t soon forget, Forgiveness Road is a haunting tale about the measures someone is willing to take for the sake of the those they love.

I love to read novels that explore family relationships, particularly when they somewhat troubled or distant. Generational tales, especially, catch my eye because it’s always interesting to see how missteps of the past affect the future. A common thread between the relationships Janelle, Caroline, and Cissy had with one another was a lack of the closeness they all privately wished they had with one another. For me, that adds another element of heartbreak to the story, because they weren’t able to support one another when things went wrong. As I read, I kept hoping they would take the risk of being honest about their feelings to one another, because it physically hurt to read how badly they wanted to connect, but felt too afraid to try most of the time. It made the times when they did connect have an even greater impact, though.

I appreciated the attention Mikulencak gave to Cissy’s way of coping—by counting things and making lists— because it showed her taking control of something, when there was little she could do to control her father’s abuse.

There is a great deal I would like to discuss about this book, but spoilers are inevitable. Suffice to say that I found this book to be incredibly moving, and I really loved it. I have a feeling these characters will live on in my mind for quite some time.

This is a great read for fans of historical fiction, and I definitely recommend it!

I received an advance reading copy of this book courtesy of John Scognamiglio Books via Netgalley.


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Author: Mandy Mikulencak
Title: Forgiveness Road
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: February 26, 2019 by John Scognamiglio Books
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

In this powerful and ultimately uplifting new novel set in 1970s Mississippi, the acclaimed author of The Last Suppers tells of three generations of women whose lives are thrown into upheaval when a dark secret is brutally exposed …

On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back.

To their Mississippi community, the death of well-regarded attorney Richard Pickering is a fascinating scandal. To Cissy’s distraught mother, Caroline, it’s an unforgivable crime. But in Cissy’s troubled mind, killing her father was the only way she knew to save the two people she loves most in the world. For years, Cissy has endured a devil’s bargain with her father, hoping that he would leave her younger sisters alone if she kept his abuse to herself. When that thin trust shattered, she saw no other choice.

Janelle Clayton, the family’s matriarch, has kept her distance from her daughter, Caroline—a fact she now regrets—yet she hopes to do right by her granddaughter. Cissy has always been an unusual girl, given to compulsive counting and list-making, but Janelle believes her implicitly. When Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a caring psychiatrist tries to help, yet new revelations drive Cissy to retreat even further from reality. It will fall to Janelle, despite her own failing health, to become Cissy’s advocate and rescuer. And over the course of an unlikely road trip, Janelle and Cissy will confront the truths they’ve hidden from the world and themselves, finding courage, deep-rooted resilience, and a bond tender and tough enough to transform them both.

About the Author

MANDY MIKULENCAK has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist, then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband. Her historical novel, THE LAST SUPPERS, was released by Kensington Publishing in late 2017. Her next book, FORGIVENESS ROAD, comes out in March 2019.

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