While the inaugural Lebanon County Reads campaign launched in 2018, planning for Lebanon County’s own community read campaign began a year prior. All six Lebanon County public libraries support the campaign which runs from summer through early fall and culminates in the title selection’s author’s visit to Congregation Beth Israel in the Fall. We hope you’ll read with us and check out the special events affiliated with the campaign!

Thank you for voting for this year’s Lebanon County Reads selection! The winning title Mercy House by Alena Dillon.

Here’s a few words from Alena Dillon, author of this year’s Lebanon County Reads selection!



Find A Copy To Borrow
Borrow The eBook
Borrow The eAudiobook

Inside a century-old row house in Brooklyn, renegade Sister Evelyn and her fellow nuns preside over a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Mercy House will be investigated by Bishop Hawkins, a man with whom she shares a dark history. In order to protect everything they’ve built, the nuns must conceal many of their methods, which are forbidden by the Catholic Church.

Evelyn will go to great lengths to defend all that she loves. She confronts a gang member, defies the church, challenges her own beliefs, and faces her past. She is bolstered by the other nuns and the vibrant, diverse residents of the shelter—Lucia, Mei-Li, Desiree, Esther, and Katrina—whose differences are outweighed by what unites them: they’ve all been broken by men but are determined to rebuild.

Amidst her fight, Evelyn discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.

From the author’s website

People are saying:

“A life-altering debut featuring fierce, funny, irreverent women who battle the most powerful institution in the world. This is the book we’ve all been waiting for.”

 —Amy Schumer, actress/comedian and author of The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

Alena Dillon is the author of Mercy House, a Library Journal Best Book of 2020, which has been optioned as a television series produced by Amy Schumer; The Happiest Girl in the World, a Good Morning America pick; My Body Is A Big Fat Temple, a memoir of pregnancy and early parenting; and Eyes Turned Skyward, a novel forthcoming Fall 2022.

Alena’s work has appeared in publications including The Daily Beast, LitHub, River Teeth, Slice Magazine, The Rumpus, and Bustle.

She teaches creative writing and lives on the north shore of Boston with her husband, son, black lab, and lots of books.

From the author’s website

2020/21Running With Sherman: The Donkey With The Heart Of A Hero by Christopher McDougall

2019 – The Baker’s Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

2018 – America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Additional reading available to borrow from Lebanon County libraries:

No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us by Rachel Louise Snyder

See What You Made Me Do: The Dangers of Domestic Abuse That We Ignore, Explain Away, or Refuse to See by Jess Hill

Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County. | This local organization provides resources and support for survivors and their friends and family; for the local DVI hotline call 717-273-7190 or toll free 1-866-686-0451.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. | The U.S.’s leading grassroots organization against domestic violence aims to be a catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change. Find resources including research, statistics, webinars, training, and assistance, such as safety plans, cosmetic support, financial education, and resources.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline. | Find resources to get help, how to tell ‘if this is abuse,’ information about healthy relationships, and resources for victims and survivors. The hotline is 24/7/365 call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for assistance or visit www.thehotline.org for live chat assistance.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center. | This non-profit organization provides resources including research, statistics, statutes, training curricula, prevention initiatives, and program information.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network). | The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline; call 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org/online for chat, to find a local provider, or for more information.