“Set in 18th-century England, with characters you might meet in a Jane Austen novel…. Gowar writes rounded, believable personalities. Her language crackles with ingenuity and grace, and she has an eye for the everyday particulars.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
This is a fantasy novel that takes place in the late 18th Century.
Jonah Hancock, a shipowner and a seaman is awaiting word of the return of one of his ships when our story begins. The Captain of that ship returns, but in place of the ship and its cargo he claims to have something more valuable. In fact it is so rare and valuable that on his own discretion he has trade d the ship and all it contains for a mermaid.
While although the mermaid is now dead he insists that Hancock can make a fortune by putting it on display. And so he starts to do so. Money is pouring in when he accepts an offer from a Madam to put it on display at her house of ill repute for a month for a significant amount of money. Hancock agrees, but when he attends the opening party for the mermaid he becomes disgusted at what he sees, leaves the party, and demands the return of his mermaid.
At that party he is entertained for a bit by one of the ladies of the house, Angelica Neal, a stunning courtesan who will end up becoming an obsession to the pious Mr. Hancock.
The rest of the story concerns how Mr. Hancock becomes extremely wealthy, and his chase of Ms. Neal. Ms. Neal demands a steep price for her attention. She wants a Mermaid of her own.
The story of the lives of both of these characters and the world they live in is well thought out and very interesting and entertaining. It will hold your attention until the final ending when they both must come face to face with what they desire against what is best for their existence. A strong first effort from the author.
Added 2nd February 2019