The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock - Review

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Hello everyone! 

I'm back again with a book review, today let's talk about Imogen Hermes Gowar's debut novel The Mermaid And Mrs Hancock. This book has been massively hyped so I was equal parts nervous and excited to read it :-) 

The story follows the lives of Mr. Hancock and Angelica Neal as their stories intertwine. Jonah Hancock is an ordinary merchant until his Captain rushes to him in the middle of the night telling tales of mermaids and fortune. He has sold Jonah's ship and exchanged it for a mermaid. This mermaid is a far cry from the beautiful sirens of legend, it is ugly and deformed, yet captivates the senses. This mermaid fascinates the people of London, catching the eye of high society. Among them is the most infamous brothel mistress. She throws Mr. Hancock a party, with Angelica Neal, celebrated courtesan, as the sparkling jewel of the ball. Mr. Hancock becomes more fascinated with her than all the mermaids in the world, promising to acquire one for her very own...


The narrative of this story is stunning, the way it switches between the two protagonists is clever and spell-binding. I struggled to put this book down and found myself thinking about it all the time that I wasn't reading it. It's clear that Imogen did a lot of research into the mermaid phenomenon that swept through Victorian society. There are clear influences from the Fiji mermaid story, which if anything made this story more original. 

Jonah Hancock is silly and pompous, but relatable in his desire to impress the woman he cares for. The more you read about him the more you see he is sweet and kind, the sort of man you should choose over the attractive, but devious younger men of society. Angelica, though experienced in the art of love and sex, is naive and juvenile in her decisions, making all the wrong ones. She ignores her better sense and you begin to get frustrated with her at times. However, you grow to see she has a core of steel and can overcome situations which make others tremble. 


There is so much depth to this book. I completely understand the hype around it and have since found myself recommending it to people left, right and centre. Not only is the inside decadent and beautiful,  but the cover matches it! Just look at the cover design and those endpapers! I applaud not only the writer, but the publisher and illustrator too. 

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and it was a no-brainer 5 star read. I would say this is one for lovers of fairy tales, the Brontes and Philippa Gregory! Who else has read this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below :-) 

xoxo

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