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A Matter of Mercy


Winner of the 2015 Independent Publishers Silver Medal for Best North-East Fiction

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, Rid and Caroline’s lives intersect again when a nor’easter hits the coast. 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 an actual 1996 lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a 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.

Praise for A Matter of Mercy

"With dazzling prose, a merciless eye for truth, and a gotta-know story, A Matter of Mercy stapled me to the couch. Between the remarkable story of class war and aquaculture in Wellfleet, grief etched in acid on glass, and the miracle of love in the most unlikely of connections, author Hugo offers pure gold."  Randy Susan Meyers, international bestselling author, Waisted

"There are two love stories in Lynne Hugo’s masterful A Matter of Mercy: the burgeoning relationship of two people struggling to forgive themselves for past mistakes and Hugo’s ode to the wild beauty and traditional way of life of outer Cape Cod. At the heart of this compelling novel is a 1996 lawsuit in which a new resident challenged the rights of Wellfleet oyster farmers to harvest shellfish on the flats in front of his vacation home. Seamlessly blending fascinating historical detail with a legal drama and a contemporary romance, Hugo exquisitely captures not only the wind-swept landscape of the outer Cape, but also the complicated landscape of the heart."  Karen Dukess, author of The Last Book Party

… full of intrigue and heart, as gritty as the inside of a clamshell and tender as a beach sunset. You won’t soon forget this story of two Cape Cod residents struggling against the tides for mercy and reaching out for each other despite the dark currents of their own pasts.”  Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save UsThe Stormchasers and “The Lucky One” in Grand Central.


“A richly detailed, intimate look at the struggles of love and hard work and hard choices. With wisdom and compassion, Lynne Hugo explores how we sometimes find our homes in the places and people we’ve left behind. This book draws you in and won’t let you go. A Matter of Mercy is the kind of novel one longs to read – beautifully written, full of crooked fates, terrible loss and hard-won second chances.”  Laura Harrington, author of Alice Bliss and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction


I absolutely loved A Matter of Mercy. The characters were entirely human and real, and very sympathetically drawn. writing, and a wonderful sense of place. I highly recommend A Matter of Mercy, especially for readers who enjoy the books of Nancy Thayer and Jodi Picoult.”  Bibliophiliac 

“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.” Bookchick

“Lynne Hugo has rendered a universe so precise it sings of truth and so human it plucks at all the right strings…a symphony for both the heart and the ear.”  Kim Triedman, author of The Other Room



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