What is a summary of A Mercy ?

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A Mercy opens with the voice of the African slave girl Florens with a puzzling opening,

Don't be afraid....You can think what I tell you a confession,...but one full of curiosities familiar only in dreams and during those moments when a dog’s profile plays in the steam of a kettle. 

She is on a journey to a blacksmith, her lover, carrying a message from her mistress, who is very ill. Florens alludes to her former home in Angola where Mr. Jacob Vaark arrived at the plantation of D'Ortega in order to collect a debt. However,it became apparent that D'Ortega could not pay his debt, so her mother offered Florens  because she had seen how this man looked at her daughter. While Vaark does not want to take Florens, having been an orphan himself, he takes the girl.

The narration switches to a third-person and relates how Vaark has taken in a Native American girl, called Lina, who is the sole survivor of an outbreak of smallpox that has killed all the other members of her tribe. Also introduced are other members of the Vaark household, Messalina, or Lina as she is called, and Rebekka, Jacob's wife.  The addition of an orphaned girl named Sorrow, a mixed-blood child from a shipwreck completes the odd family of orphans. As the fourth chapter ends, Lina wonders if Florens will complete her long journey to the blacksmith. The history of Rebekka is also told in this chapter. Sold off as a mail-order bride by her father, Rebekka considers herself fortunate to have Jacob Vaark as a husband. But, when her two children die, the boy in the construction of Vaark's grand house, Lina consoles her. As the chapter ends, Lina wonders if Florens will return in time with the blacksmith.

In the middle of the novel, Florens continues her...

(The entire section contains 623 words.)

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