The Speed of Mercy

The Speed of Mercy

by Christy Ann Conlin
  • from-the-atlantic-canada
  • literary
  • mystery-crime
  • upmarket

A searing and tender novel about the unbearable cost of childhood betrayal, set in a secluded coastal town riven by generations of money and brutal power.

Fifty-three-year-old Stella Sprague is a sweet and agonizingly shy woman living a quiet life at a care centre in the Nova Scotia countryside where she has spent most of her adult life. Stella suffers from lifelong mental illness and hasn’t spoken in forty years. But Stella’s carefully arranged life begins to collapse when Mal, a feisty young journalist, shows up on the grounds of the centre asking questions about a dark family secret of murder connected to a strange religion. The discovery of a cryptic antique book pushes Stella into the depths of her personal and family history, where she must unearth and connect long-forgotten clues in order to outwit the nefarious forces conspiring against her.

Accompanied only by her best friend Dianne, a wise and hilarious eighty-year-old, Stella is compelled to launch a journey to an old family cottage on the Bay of Fundy and into the depths of her family history.

Stella may not be able to change the past, but if she puts her mind to it she just might discover her true inheritance, finally finding her own voice and a long elusive sense of belonging.


Christy Ann Conlin, author

Christy Ann Conlin is the author of the novels The Memento and Heave, which was a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book, and a finalist for the First Novel Award, the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the Dartmouth Book Award. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed short fiction collection Watermark, and her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals and longlisted for both the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the American Short Fiction Prize.


  • This is honest and revealing writing from an artist at the top of her craft. - Alexander MacLeod, author of Light Lifting
  • Moving, funny, and propulsive. In prose both lyrical and sharp, compassionate and wise, Christy Ann Conlin delivers a page-turner with a fierce heart at its core. - Mona Award, author of Bunny and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl
  • Christy Ann Conlin is a conjurer: of place, people, and the haunting past. I was instantly caught up in the darkly mysterious world and indelible characters she has brought to life. Gripping, suspenseful, and lyrically written, "The Speed of Mercy" caught me by the throat and didn’t let go. - Alix Ohlin, Scotiabank Giller Prize–shortlisted author of Dual Citizens

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: House of Anansi Press



rights available: World

Additional Information

publication date: 03/23/2021

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript