It’s been too long. I just haven’t been able to find the time to write a blog post, though I have been planning lots and lots!
This post is about a book that I read last month which I LOVED.
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar is a historical fiction book. The story starts with Jonah Hancock, a merchant, sitting alone at his desk. There’s a knocking on the door. One of his captain’s has returned from sea bringing with him a mermaid. Though Jonah is immediately a bit disgruntled (his captain sold his ship to buy this “mermaid”), Jonah ends up using the mermaid to his advantage. Along this journey, Jonah meets Angelica (a courtesan) and their relationship develops in just as much magic and mystery as the story of the mermaid itself.
I really loved this book. Not only did I fall in love with 18th Century London, but I fell in love with Imogen Hermes Gowar’s writing. I can’t wait for her to bring out more; I will be devouring it. Much like I devoured this book…
The atmosphere and the setting were so beautifully created. Gloomy, mysterious, and mesmerising. The atmosphere created perfectly emulated the reasons why I love reading historical fiction. I was able to perfectly picture everything Imogen described; the shipyard, Jonah’s office, the brothel where Angelica works. Imogen’s description was rich and London and all its changes were magnificently described.
A lot of people don’t like when stories are told via multiple perspectives, but I personally really enjoy this way of storytelling. Not at any point did I find this book confusing; it was always very clear who was speaking and I always remembered where the plot was picking up from. I found all of the perspectives we were reading from enchanting. I will say, however, that I would have really loved to have delved deeper into certain storylines (particularly Polly).
Ther mermaid in The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock was not the typical, beautiful-with-long-flowing-hair-and-a-shell-bra kind of mermaid that you read about in fairytales. Though this story kept those fairytale, magical elements, it was definitely a different, more believable take on the classic mermaid story.
You could definitely tell that the book was set during a time where cultural changes were rife; from the dress, to the food, to the opinions. Again, this is another reason why I love reading historical fiction; when I read it, I feel like I’m learning something about the time it’s based. It’s sort of a mini history lesson in itself.
I would highly recommend this book if you love fantastical, historical, mysterious, atmospherical books. It was a real treat to read and I can’t wait to read whatever Imogen Hermes Gowar brings out next.