Title: Shades of Mercy: A Maine Chronicle
Authors: Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivadeneira
Publisher: River North
Notes: I received a free copy of this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
This is an incredibly well written novel.
Mercy Millar works hard to help her father on his potato farm in Watsonville, Maine. She also dreams of someday having him see her as the young woman she is, not as the son he never had. She also dreams of someday being able to move her relationship with her boyfriend Mick out from the shadows. The barrier to their being open about their attraction to each other is that Mick is a Maliseet Indian. There is a huge amount of racial tension between the white people of Watsonville and the Maliseet tribe of Maine’s Northwoods during the summer of 1954. Then suddenly disaster strikes, even though it looks surprisingly like the grace of God.
I was caught up in this book from the very beginning. I wanted to see how Mercy and Mick would be able to navigate the rocky road of racial strife. I had heard much of the way African Americans had been treated. But I had never really heard about the harsh treatment of Native Americans other than through school history books. This book is an eye opening look at the living conditions that many of them were forced to live in, even as recently as the middle of the 20th century. My heart ached for them as I rooted for them to rise above the conditions and the way they were treated.
This story is so well crafted and the descriptions are so clear that I can totally see the picture painted by the authors. I would love to see this made into a movie. It definitely deserves 5 stars. I highly recommend it.