Title: The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
Author: Imogen Hermes Gowar
Publisher: Harper 2018
Rating: 4/5 stars
Reading Challenges: UnRead Shelf; Dancing with Fantasy and Scifi - Set In Our World
One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of London. The captain of one of Jonah’s trading vessels is waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah’s ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned—the object the captain presents him is brown and wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead.
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see this marvel in Jonah Hancock’s possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city’s seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on—and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a dangerous new course as they come to realize that priceless things often come at the greatest cost.
Another Book of the Month selection that’s been sitting on my shelf for way too long. I picked this one up not really knowing what to expect. Ultimately, I really liked this story involving a merchant, a courtesan, a mermaid, and a real mermaid? However, this really took awhile to get into this story. The first 100 pages are pretty slow moving and are very focused on the Mr. Hancock and Angelica’s separate storylines. Once we get them together, the story really picks up. The writing style is a bit strange. It is written in the style of the late 1800s. Definitely a style that takes some time to get used to, but I did enjoy the writing. Interesting book, but not one that I would recommend to everyone.
Next up on the TBR pile: