Happy Wednesday! Today I have a review of The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, a much talked about book now available from Harper! Look at that cover! Ahhh!
In 1780s London, Jonah Hancock is a merchant and owns a ship. A captain knocks on his door urgently with the news he’s sold Hancock’s ship in return for a mermaid.
Word of the mermaid spreads quickly like sensational things do, and everyone wants to lay eyes on the sight. This mermaid is the key to Hancock climbing into high society, and that he does, with speed.
It is at a most prestigious party that Hancock meets the alluring Angelica Neal. Two ambitious minds have now collided, and their futures are full of intrigue.
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is a big, larger-than-life, smart story. It spotlights those strange curiosities of the time and is full of atmosphere. The writing is lyrical and stunning setting up a vivid sense of time and place. I found it immersive and all-consuming.
You should know there is not as much true magic or fantasy in the story as one might think, given the title, and the fact that a mermaid is most definitely present (but in the background). The story goes far beyond the oddity, including how humans are always grappling for more: more stature and wealth, more attention. It ends on a magnificent note, and I was most satisfied with the story from start to finish!
Thanks to Harper for the electronic ARC. I also purchased a hard copy from Book of the Month. All opinions are my own.
This voyage is special. It will change everything…
One September evening in 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock hears urgent knocking on his front door. One of his captains is waiting eagerly on the step. He has sold Jonah’s ship for what appears to be a mermaid.
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels, everyone wants to see Mr Hancock’s marvel. Its arrival spins him out of his ordinary existence and through the doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on… and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This chance meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, a journey on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost…
What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?
In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.
Have you read The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR