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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Erika Marks - The Mermaid Collector

written & read live on the bookshow by Ro Bennett 30th Oct 2014 
In the hotel in Southampton, just before I was due to go on my cruise, my Kindle died. Fortunately the ship had a library and I got this book to read. It’s an unusual but charming book, set on the coast of Maine in the USA.  

More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbour, Maine, honoured by the town’s Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song.

The novel begins with a letter from the 1800s, then an extract from the coastal Maine town’s history book, “The Mermaid Mutiny and More,” and then an email correspondence hinting at a core conflict in the story, so it  immediately pulls you in to the story. 

As the book fluctuates between 1888 and the present day, the story of Linus and Lydia his wife unfolds and intermeshes with the present day story of Tess Patterson, Tom Grace and his brother Dean. The book has a good plot, there is suspense, romance, tragedy and mystery as well as interesting, unexpected developments throughout which make it a real page turner. 

Although it is basically a  love story, it also deals with the issues of infidelity, mental illness, bereavement and grief, life after the death of loved ones, guilt, parent-child love and the struggle between responsibility and the longing to follow one’s heart - so plenty to sink your teeth into. The characters were well drawn and interesting, and there were some lovely descriptions, so it was easy to relate to the characters and visualise the location. 

It was a pleasant read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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