A Matter of Mercy
by Lynne Hugo
Why did you choose this book? I like the cover and the idea of second chances
When did you read this book? September 2014
Who should read this book? readers who enjoy contemporary stories of forgiveness
Source: TLC Book Tours
Here is a synopsis of A Matter of Mercy from TLC Book Tours
Caroline Marcum thought she’d escaped the great mistake of her life by leaving Wellfleet harbor, but is forced to face it when she returns, reluctantly, to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal put his past-and his prison term-behind him to return home to take over his father’s oyster and clam beds. Casual acquaintances long ago, when a nor’easter hits the coast, Rid and Caroline’s lives intersect once again. When Rid and two other sea farmers are sued by the wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down, and Caroline accidentally meets the person she most wronged, they each must learn to trust-and love. Inspired by a 1996 lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a riveting novel about treasuring the traditional way of life in the shallows of beautiful Cape Cod bay by discovering where forgiveness ends. And where it begins.
I really enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it got off to a slow start for me! The main reason the book started slow is because one of the main characters is an aquaculturist, or sea farmer, in the Cape Cod area, and there is quite a bit of detail about his work. I’m sure people from the northeast are familiar with the terms, but it was a learning curve for a midwesterner who does not eat seafood! I mean….what is a quahog??? It worked though, because I enjoy learning new things! I googled, and found a site that really helped me out by explaining that a quahog is a clam. Until then, I didn’t even know a quahog is a living organism, and not a structure! And by the way, it is pronounced COE-hog and not KWA-hog! Apparently I am truly a ‘washashore’...or would be, if I visited the Cape!
Anyway, once I got past the learning curve, I was able to become involved with the story. The main characters are Cici, or Carolyn, a former teacher who lost her job when she went to prison for killing a toddler in a drunk-driving accident, and Rid, the sea farmer who is also an ex-con. They both grew up in the area and were acquainted with each other in high school. Cici has returned to care for her mother who is close to death after battling ovarian cancer. Terry, the mother of the toddler that Cici killed, is a librarian in the area. Terry has not yet managed to move past the death of her son when Cici accidentally crosses paths with her, and ends up stalking her. The book really brought home what a lot of us have known; that forgiveness does more the the person doing the forgiving than the one being forgiven.
WIthout giving a lot of spoilers, I will say I wish the book would have looked a little farther into the future. I feel like it ended on a hopeful note, but at the same time, left things hanging. A lot of the issues between Rid and Carolyn, and even Carolyn and Terry, were not totally resolved, so we were left to assume that everything works out in the end. And that is what I am assuming, so this is a happily-ever-after for me….I just wish the book would have explicitly said so. Just the same, I really enjoyed the book!
And if you are also a ‘washashore’ who would like to know more about quahogs, check out this site: The Real Cape. Lynne also has information on sea farming, complete with photos!, as well as discussion questions, available on her website.
About Lynne Hugo
Lynne Hugo is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient who has also received grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She has published five previous novels, one of which became a Lifetime Original Movie of the Month, two books of poetry, and a children’s book. Her memoir, Where The Trail Grows Faint, won the Riverteeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize. Born and educated in New England, she and her husband currently live in Ohio with a yellow Lab feared by squirrels in a three state area.
My Rating: ★★★1/2 3-1/2 Stars
This book review is included in a tour by TLC Book Tours. I was provided a copy for review purposes and have written an honest review which appears above.
Lynne’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, September 2nd: Bibliotica
Wednesday, September 3rd: 5 Minutes for Books
Thursday, September 4th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Friday, September 5th: Vox Libris
Monday, September 8th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, September 9th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Friday, September 12th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, September 15th: Fiction Zeal
Tuesday, September 16th: Time 2 Read
Wednesday, September 17th: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, September 17th: Stitch Read Cook – author guest post, “A Day in the Life”
Thursday, September 18th: Chronicles…
Monday, September 22nd: Walking with Nora
Tuesday, September 23rd: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, September 24th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, September 25th: Musings of a Bookish KittyMonday, September 29th: Deckled Edge Books