Some fiction books are just that; but some fictional tales also include enough facts and history to add to the readers collected knowledge in unexpected ways. Such was the case of this wonderful seaside legal drama.
I was not attracted to the book because of its seaside environment. Neither did the legal case which forms its foundation draw me in - at least at first. As a Christian, I have heard about mercy, but this book is not a Christian drama. In the end, I learned more about mercy, I also learned about a regional culture located in and around Cape Cod, MA. Aquaculture, the growing and harvesting of shellfish, serves of the major industry off of the southern tip of Massachusetts.
Caroline (CiCi) Marcum moves back into her Cape Cod home to care for her ailing mother after spending a number of years in jail for an accident that led to the death of a young child. She had lost her teaching certificate in the process and her future was uncertain. She found herself unexpectedly drawn to one of the aquaculturists who worked the grants along Cape Cod harvesting clams and oysters. Ridley (aka Rid) Neal’s past was also checkered - with time spent in jail for some youthful indiscretions that continued to shadow his life.
As the fall harvesting season comes to an end, Rid finds himself one of three aquaculturists being sued because their work obstructed the view of the bay for the “washashores” that return to Cape Cod every spring and leave as winter arrives. Woven into this work of fiction, the lawsuit is based on an actual case which made its way through the courts in 1996.
As the book seeks to resolve the relationships and the legal issues involved around the lawsuit, the reader learns much about the people who supply the world’s best oysters and clams. The shellfish which are harvested from Cape Cod are not only know locally, but are shipped around the world to the best restaurants located in such locales as London and Paris. I find that the best fiction will make me want to explore - by finding maps, historical milestones, etc. As I read this week, I found myself exploring Google for details about the culture and history of Cape Cod and its aquacultural industry.
Though fiction, A Matter of Mercy contributed to my education. My hope is that others will enjoy this book, as I did, for the picture of mercy it presented and the glimpse of culture and history to which I had not previously been exposed.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.