A Matter of Mercy

A Matter of Mercy

by Lynne Hugo


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A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo

Caroline Marcum thought she'd escaped the great mistake of her lifeby 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 Mercyis 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985808617
Publisher: Amphorae Publishing Group, LLC
Publication date: 08/01/2014
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Lynne Hugo is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient and grant recipient from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Ohio Arts Council. She's published five 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. With roots in New England, she and her husband live in Ohio with a yellow Lab feared by squirrels in a three state area. lynnehugo.com

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A Matter of Mercy 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
A Matter of Mercy  By Lynne Hugo The book, A Matter of Mercy, looks into the concept of mercy and payment for a crime. Cici is a young woman, a teacher who in a moment of weakness and anger drank, and drove. The consequences of her actions gave her jail time and lost her position. Now facing her mother emanate death she brings to question where her life is going. She finds a connection with Rid, an ex-con aquatic farmer. Rid farms the tide lines below Cici’s mother’s house. In an attempt to find comfort she helps Rid before a hurricane, their one moment of passion after she helped him has consequences.  After her mother’s death, Cici spirals out of control.  She wallows in indecisive grief, morning her personal losses and the consequences of her actions. This book takes this time to look into the nature of the human character. It delves deep into human definition of self, and responsibility. How Cici battles from depression, and recovers from the traumas of her life, shows that life is a matter of mercy. To give someone a second chance and find that they may life up to more than their mistakes. 
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
This was a beautiful book, albeit one that was hard for me to read for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book and everything to do with me.  It is the story of Caroline Marcum, who has come home to care for her mother in her final days.  There is so much sadness, so much heartache, so much emotion.  It tugged at my heart from start to finish, even as the suspense of the mystery underlying Caroline's life unfolded. The last several years have been less than perfect for Caroline.  The pain of it and the pain and guilt she carries with her threatens to overwhelm her, especially when faced with the fact that her mother is dying from cancer.  She is emotionally wrought when she runs into an old friend and, in a moment of vulnerability, has a fling.  That one moment changes everything for her and, in many ways, makes her feel even more lost and confused and guilty. This is a story of moments.  In a moment with Ridley, her life changes.  During a trip to a nearby library, another moment sets in motion a scary series of events in Caroline's life.  There is a lesson there, that those small moments can change your life in ways you can't possibly imagine. The characters are wonderful in this story.  Caroline and Rid seem rather flat at the beginning of the story, but I think that this was intentional on the part of the author.  It seems to underscore the idea that life without the presence of love is not really living, that with love comes pain and loss, but that we can survive that pain and loss.  Caroline has become so guarded with her emotions over the last several years and she has to learn to be vulnerable again, even to her mother in her dying days.  Rid is used to relying on himself and is going through some things that make him distrustful of most everyone outside his immediate circle.  Love and trust does not come easy to either of them.  As they grow, their characters develop beautifully! This is a beautiful story set in the midst of the Cape Cod oyster culture.  The setting is rich with detail and teaches without feeling like a lesson.  I felt like I was on the dunes of the oyster flats, experiencing the area right along with the characters. Things to love...    --The detailed setting.    --The emotions and growth of the characters. My Recommendation:  I loved the depth of the characters and the depth of the emotions for me as a reader.  Parts of Caroline's story were painful for me, in light of my own loss, but it was beautiful nonetheless.  I gave this 4.5 mugs!
SherDEMomma More than 1 year ago
A story of love, loss, that oh-so-heavy burden of guilt, and the sometimes ever-elusive hope of forgiveness. I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Using a real lawsuit from 1996 between wealthy vacation home owners and sea farmers who cultivated oysters and scallops on the outer banks of Cape Cod as a stepping off point, author Lynne Hugo weaves an intriguing story in her terrific novel, A Matter of Mercy. Caroline, known as CiCi to her high school friends, moves back home to Wellfleet, a small fishing community in Cape Cod to care for her dying mother Eleanor. Slowly, we find that something bad happened to Cici, something for which she served time in jail. Eleanor would like to see CiCi settle down, marry and start a family. She reminds CiCi that Rid, an guy whom CiCi knew in high school, is working as an aquafarmer and looking very good. I love that Eleanor describes him as "built like a brick s@#thouse. Eleanor had abandoned prim language with no explanation after she was widowed."  That is a fabulous line, such a great way to establish Eleanor's character in one sentence. During a bad storm, CiCi runs out to help Rid, and they end up at her home where they have sex. Rid spent some time in prison for a drug charge, so he and CiCi have something in common. The next morning, Rid races out, leaving a confused CiCi. The aquafarmers, who have owned and worked oyster beds in the water behind the now-ubiquitous McMansions forever, are being sued by the new homeowners, claiming that the farmers are trespassing on their property to harvest their oyster beds. Some of the farmers believe that CiCi may be involved in the lawsuit, even though the home she inherited is modest in size and scope, and her family has been in Wellfleet forever too. When someone starts stalking CiCi, trying to scare her and throwing rocks through her window, she becomes afraid. CiCi accidentally runs into someone she hurt in the past, and she desperately wants to find out how the person is doing, almost to the point of obsession. Does CiCi hope to be forgiven or is this person the stalker? The characters in the story- CiCi, Rid, Terri the librarian, Elsie (Eleanor's hospice nurse), Billy the bartender- are fascinating and completely realistic. If I ever visited Wellfleet, I believe I would run into them somewhere in the village. The relationships between the characters are well-drawn too, between Rid and CiCi, Rid and his fellow aquafarmers, with the one between Rid and his faithful dog Lizzie being my favorite. Hugo's language is beautiful too, with these sentences really moving me: "And suddenly, she was crying at the too-largeness, the mystery of things, needing to make them small enough to think about, to get her arms around." "The mercy I can show you is in not asking for your forgiveness." Hugo manages to beautifully blend a love story with a mystery, with a story about forgiveness, all set in a fascinating place that becomes an important character in the book. My family has vacationed several times in Cape Cod, and so I was particularly interested in reading A Matter of Mercy. She manages to put us in CiCi's shoes, and had me wondering if I would make the same decisions the characters did. I became completely invested in this amazing story, my heart aching for the characters and what they went through. (Bonus: I learned a lot about aquafarming, something I knew nothing about.) I read A Matter of Mercy in just two sittings, unable to break away from this emotional, moving story.
SusieH5 More than 1 year ago
Caroline (Cici) is back home looking after her very sick mother. Home is Wellfleet where oysters and quahogs are harvested at low tide - a hard life for those involved. An event in CiCi's past has kept her away, and she plans to leave again as soon as possible. In the meantime she gets drawn into the rhythms of oyster farming, and renews friendships. Rid, one of the oyster farmers, also has an unfortunate past, and has only recently returned to Wellfleet, to take over from his father.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming read, A MATTER OF MERCY is a story of loss, love, trust, forgiveness, redemption, and second chances. An engaging and complex read about tough choices, and living with a past you wish you could change. Two lost and flawed souls, grieving from their own dark past, connect again years later on not so happy terms in their home town. Each has their own demons and fighting furiously, to stay afloat in the present. Each have more in common than they may think, and share something which will bond them for life. Inspired by the 1996 lawsuit depicted in the Cape Cod novel, Lynn Hugo, masterfully crafted the history and the people of the area, as well as aquaculture in Wellfleet, MA with sensitivity, and detailed research. The main character, Caroline (CiCi), has a past, she is guilt ridden, with no desire to return to her hometown of Wellfleet, MA. Her mother (Eleanor) is dying with cancer and she is called home from Chicago to spend her final days caring for her mom. Her mom,her mom’s friend Noelle and hospice nurse Elsie, want the best for Caroline, as she is alone in the world. She has no friends except her mom's friend and nurse, offering their support. Ridley (Rid) also has a past, with a prison term behind him and returning home to take over his father’s oyster and clam beds. He does not trust easily and he is focused on carrying out his father’s legacy-and will not allow anything to get in the way. However, Rid and two other sea farmers are being sued by wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down. In the meantime, CiCi and Rid connect briefly, as they knew one another from high school; however, not that close. CiCi’s worst nightmare faces her, as the one person she never wanted to meet again (the one act she lives with daily, her mistake--the person she most wronged), the mother, Terry is here in this town working at the local library. As someone begins to try and run her out of town, terrorizing her, she is afraid for her life and yet she trusts no one. She has no way of knowing if it is about the land, her past, or the one person she is connected to. A diamond in the rough, Ridley with his truck, his oysters, and a lab named Lizzie, will warm your heart, as his layers are peeled away. He and Caroline (you will sympathize with her), will need to face their fears, take some risks, put their past aside, and learn to forgive themselves and others, in order to experience love and happiness. (Some other mystery, suspense, and surprises, along the journey--no spoilers). A MATTER OF MERCY is a riveting novel about holding strong to history and family, and the land and seas of beautiful Cape Cod, as three people discover redemption and forgiveness. Beautifully written, this is my first book by Lynn Hugo and look forward to reading more from this talented author. If you are a fan of author, Mary Alice Monroe or Karen White, you will enjoy reading this rich and intimate look of more than sea and the land, but family and community, and the lives of those who protect and nurture—those they treasure and hold close. A special thank you to Blank Slate Press, AuthorBuzz, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.