Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Authors: Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivadeneira
Publisher: River North Fiction
“For the first time, I began to see the stark reality of being born Maliseet. Mick’s reality for sixteen years. Being Maliseet in the Maine Northwoods was more than living on a dump or being ridiculed on the playground. It was more than going hungry or becoming desperate for a drink. Being Maliseet was about being seen as less than human,” Mercy considers in Anita Lustrea and Caryn Rivandeneira’s novel, Shades of Mercy.
Part of A Maine Chronicle series, this paperback is two hundred and seventy pages and targeted toward readers who enjoy a coming-of-age romance between opposite cultural races during the turbulent nineteen fifties while relying on God’s grace and mercies. With only minor slang, there is no profanity, overt sexual scenes, or extreme violence but the book does include bigotry, abuse, and alcoholism along with the eternal plan of salvation.
Written in first person by fifteen year old Mercy Millar who has always lived on her parents’ potato farm in Watsonville, Maine, God is daily thanked for food and a roof over-head and prayed to reverently. Her father, Mr. Pop, consistently hires the nearby Indian Maliseet tribe as farm workers, who have been forced to live in dilapidated shanties at the local trash dump.
Mick, a sixteen year old Maliseet, and Mercy have grown up together and now are in love, hoping someday to marry and live happily ever after. However, due to the town’s bigotry, they must keep their growing romance hidden from both sides of the track.
Although Mr. Pop has always treated Mick as his own son, he is initially oblivious to the desire that ignites between the two young people as he aims to protect the entire Maliseet clan by hiring, feeding, and being proactive in the Indian Rights Council.
As racial tensions escalate in their small community, Mercy and Mick have to put their love on hold as their families and the town’s citizens debate the ethnic issues surrounding the value and worth of the tribe.
While both young lovers consider what sacrifices they must give up to be together, others deal with bitterness and vengeance or acceptance and forgiveness as it relates to their pasts.
As each character finds his or her footing in the world God arranges, readers not only learn about these Indian kinfolk, they are reminded how the Almighty brings people together in spite of their stubborn differences.
This book was furnished by The Book Club Network, Inc. in lieu of an unbiased review.