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“A moon tide rising was the worst time for bad weather, but moon tides are the best for working because the stronger gravitational pull makes the water recede farther.  Yet even a storm that clouts during the front of the moon tide can be capricious enough to leave one grant almost untouched while those adjacent might be fouled or wiped out.” (page 15 of uncorrected copy)

Forgiveness is a difficult story to write and to write it well, and yet Lynne Hugo does just that in A MATTER OF MERCY.  The author applies a mature voice to the process of redemption as she wraps an interesting fictional tale around an actual lawsuit.  The story gives us lots of details about the oyster farming business in Cape Cod Bay, lots of environmental information, great moments of confused decision making when one has not forgiven themselves, and what can happen when vacationing millionaires believe they own someone else’s land – life.

Laurie Buchanan on FB reminded me of this Brene’ Brown wisdom while I was reading this book and it helped me understand the point:

“You either walk inside your story and own it or You stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”

Caroline has reluctantly come home to Massachusetts from Chicago, where she has been hiding since she was in prison for a DUI resulting in a death, lost her teaching certificate, and her husband.  Her mother, a potter, is dying of Ovarian Cancer and with the help of Hospice and Caroline she can be in her last days close to her view of the bay and the oyster grants.  Her daughter is afraid to be in town because it is the scene of the crime and she believes everyone judges her still.   She is in the place where making decisions is very hard a kind of limbo and she loves the days her mother can talk with her.

Ridley Neal is a young man who also spent time in prison because of youthful drug issues.   He is the owner of one of the oyster grants in the bay; left to him by his father.  He has discovered he likes the hard work and that being an aquaculturist is in his blood and definitely part of his future.  Oyster farming involves driving trucks onto the beach at low tide and moving the vehicle as the tide moves back into the shore; the workers use lights for harvesting and maintenance work when the tides are low at night.  The wealthy folks in the vacation homes on the bluff have concluded that the trucks, oysters, workers and lights ruin their view and interfere with their rights.  They may just win because being an oysterman does not produce enough funds for expensive lawsuits.   The lawsuit is a good study for any coastal village or community to be aware of in this day and age.  I could relate.

Lynne Hugo did a great deal of research on the tasks of the oyster farmer and she gives a good credit to the aquaculturist community for providing her with needed information and resources on her quest for this novel.  Ms. Hugo sent me a gracious thank you note, bookmarks and postcards for agreeing to review her book here.

Lynne Hugo Online

There are quite a few pictures of the area of the oyster farmers on Cape Cod on the blog and more information sharing.

“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 GOES 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. “(from book cover)

tlc logo TLC online book tours  and the author sent me an uncorrected copy  of  A MATTER OF MERCY and I can highly recommend  A MATTER OF MERCY to my readers ,  a great gift read,  get it  on your list.

The Sowing 
When Women Were Birds
The North Road

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10 Responses to “A MATTER OF MERCY: a NOVEL ~Lynne Hugo”

  1. Lynne Hugo Says:

    Thank you so much for this beautiful review on your very thoughtful blog. I’m glad you liked the novel so much, and really appreciate that you’ve given it such a great recommendation!

    Patricia Reply:

    Lynne Hugo
    It was a pleasure to be asked to read your book and I hope it will continue to get great reviews on the tour and of course lots of folks will read the book!

    It is a hard subject matter and you have taken it on well and included forgiveness in an interesting story.

    Thank you for making a comment on the blog I find many of my readers enjoy knowing that the author dropped by

    Thank you for writing such a thoughtful and entertaining book
    Patricia recently posted..A MATTER OF MERCY: a NOVEL ~Lynne HugoMy Profile

  2. Sam Juliano Says:

    Beautifully written and ever-perceptive review, Patricia. Sounds like the unique setting and moving context would make for a fabulous read. And great to have that very profound statement from Laurie. So utterly fantastic to have Ms. Hugo herself confirm this lovely review. Definitely would be interested in reading this one. :)

    Patricia Reply:

    It was a good read and a solid voice to a difficult subject.

    The author lived her early years in the setting of the story and her love of the community is very evident and personalized.

    Wonderful story telling
    Patricia recently posted..A MATTER OF MERCY: a NOVEL ~Lynne HugoMy Profile

  3. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – Once again your review has pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. I’m intrigued by the fact that the storyline — while fiction — is based on an actual lawsuit. You can be sure I’ll check it out. THANK YOU!
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..Majestic WingsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    This book did not disappoint and I have purchased it for a friend’s birthday.

    Although the characters have lots of confusion, the author’s mature writing brings it home. I am recommending it to both of my book groups.
    Patricia recently posted..A MATTER OF MERCY: a NOVEL ~Lynne HugoMy Profile

  4. Sara Says:

    This review whet my appetite for more of the story:~) I liked the subject being about oyster farming, which is something I don’t know very much about.

    Like Laurie said, I am also intrigued that the book is based on an actual lawsuit.

    I will check it out. Thank you.
    Sara recently posted..SPC: Wailing Woman Uncovered at BeachMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    The author took a very difficult theme and put it to an actual lawsuit, and made an lovely to read story – Her blog site has lots more information about the lawsuit and pictures of the oyster farms and workers.

    Very interesting on many levels I put this book high on my list of re-reads and gifts
    Patricia recently posted..LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)My Profile

  5. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Aquaculture is pretty new to me – it sounds fascinating.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

    Patricia Reply:

    fascinating it was – Thanks for coming by Heather J it is reassuring
    Patricia recently posted..LUST: Sensual Poems (unabridged) ~Diana Raab (Narrated by Kate Udall)My Profile