A Matter of Mercy by Lynn Hugo
Release Date - August 2014
Blank Slate Press
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
A Matter of Mercy is based loosely on a court case involving landowners along the coast and the men who farm the sea for clams and oysters. Using that basis, author Lynn Hugo spins a romantic suspense tale that I found had its ups and downs.
Caroline (CiCi) Marcum, grew up in Wellfleet, became a teacher, and ended up ruining her life. When her husband asked for a divorced, Caroline had a drink, got in the car, and hit a woman as she was getting her son out of the car. The young boy didn't survive and Caroline went to jail for DUI. She's back in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Home to care for her dying mother.
Rid is one of a line of sea farmers. Despite what his grant may say, Rid and his friends are being sued by a rich landowner. The landowner claims he owns the land where Rid grows and harvests his oysters and that makes the grant invalid. Sea farming is the only career Rid has, and it's one that many generations of his family has held.
It isn't long before CiCi and Rid notice each other, and that causes many complications. Rid believes CiCi to be another of the rich landowners who might jump on this lawsuit. CiCi hides her own secret from Rid. Working through their issues isn't easy, but if the couple are to have any chance at a life together, they have to get through them.
I loved the detail Lynn Hugo put into the aspect of growing and harvesting oysters. The details provided made for fascinating reading. The lawsuit added to the tension, but I wished it had been more fleshed out. When the resolution comes, it seemed too easy. Readers never even get to meet this evil landowner who is suing the sea farmers.
As for CiCi's predicament, I had more issues with that. Her storyline involves meeting the mother of the child she killed, being stalked by someone who wants her out of the picture, and then there is the issue she has with Rid. I don't want to give out any spoilers, but as the mystery behind her stalker comes to light, I again felt cheated. At that point, I simply wondered if anyone in this town was capable of acting like an adult, other than CiCi's mother and her mother's respite nurse.
Yet, despite my issues with the story, I felt compelled to keep reading. I loved the setting, the pace was excellent, and the descriptions drew me in. For that reason, I really do recommend A Matter of Mercy.