The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
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 meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.Where will their ambitions lead? 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.

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock Details

TitleThe Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
Author
ReleaseJan 25th, 2018
PublisherHarvill Secker
ISBN-139781911215721
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Fiction

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock Review

  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    My feelings about this are complicated. It is beautifully written with wonderfully immersive descriptions but both the plot and the characters did not quite work for me. At times excruciatingly slow I don’t think I can give this a higher rating. I will have to gather my thoughts.Review to come.
    more
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review,I think I was expecting more from this than delivered - and I don't think that's entirely the books fault. I was expecting magical realism, fantasy and mermaids based on the blurb. What I got was a well written historical romance novel, steeped in descriptive prose that felt a little flat to me.The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock follows a humble merchant and his love for a courtesan, whom he meets after a chance encounter with a mermaid.Jo I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review,I think I was expecting more from this than delivered - and I don't think that's entirely the books fault. I was expecting magical realism, fantasy and mermaids based on the blurb. What I got was a well written historical romance novel, steeped in descriptive prose that felt a little flat to me.The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock follows a humble merchant and his love for a courtesan, whom he meets after a chance encounter with a mermaid.Jonah was a little dull in character, and felt as though he was severally lacking in any emotional depth (and backbone). Angelica, our courtesan, in comparison is scatty and all over the place. I wasn't keen on her characterization either, as she felt so different to Jonah, and I couldn't really understand her interest in him at all.The pace is agonizingly slow, and the romance takes a long time to develop. I understand that the constraints of the time meant a romance of this nature would be upheld with trepidation and many longing glances - but unfortunately I felt it meandered too much before anything really happens. The ending, although it took a long time to get to, also left a lot of loose story lines which annoyed me.I really didn't get what I expected out of this unfortunately. If it was targeted more as a historical romance it would perhaps find a better audience.
    more
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Superlative immersive historical fiction! Loved it. The writing was evocative with details of sights, sounds, behaviours and vocabulary of the age. There was no way for me to predict how events would turn out, but it was a wonderful read. Heartily recommended to lovers of (Georgian) historical fiction.Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favourite books of the year!
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I don't think I've ever read a book that was so thoroughly not for me in my life. I really struggled to get through the pages - it took me well over a month to read, even though I've been known to read books of equal length in two days flat - and I just never warmed to it at all.I'll start with the good points, just to get them out of the way - firstly, the autho First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I don't think I've ever read a book that was so thoroughly not for me in my life. I really struggled to get through the pages - it took me well over a month to read, even though I've been known to read books of equal length in two days flat - and I just never warmed to it at all.I'll start with the good points, just to get them out of the way - firstly, the author's writing style is admittedly lovely, and does a very good job of evoking the era, the places and the characters depicted. However, even the writing rang a bit hollow to me at times - it was a bit like a courtesan's glamour, all frothy, pretty little turns of phrase which cleverly disguised the lack of any underlying substance.The premise of the whole book is based around the relationship that kindles between one of London's most famous courtesans and a staid middle-aged merchant, and the mermaid that unexpectedly enters the latter's possession. A note to any fans of fantasy (like me) who are tempted to pick this book up because the mention of a mermaid intrigues you: don't. The mermaid barely features, and the elements of magical realism are severely underused in general; they only really have an effect on the last 20% or so of the book, and barely at that, fizzling into nothing in the last few pages.I also found it almost impossible to connect with any of the characters in this novel. While I was pleased by how many of the characters were women, I'm utterly sick of fiction in which women are constantly at each other's throats. Meanwhile, the two main characters' romance was surprisingly tolerable, and one quiet scene between them early in their relationship was actually one of my favourite scenes in the whole novel, but I found both of the characters themselves unbearably insipid. The narrative also dipped into the side characters' stories fairly often, almost randomly, and in most cases without any satisfying resolution. I actually found several of the side characters more interesting than the main characters - Sukie and Polly were probably my favourites, and I hated how neither of them got any real narrative resolution. In fact, the entire plot just kind of ambled along with no real drive or cohesion throughout the whole book.Finally, the book seemed to be trying to make a point about women's place in society, but utterly unable to actually figure out what that point might be, and it was even clumsier when trying to comment on historical race relations, which made a couple of scenes downright uncomfortable to read. All in all, not my cup of tea at all, and not a book I'll be recommending.
    more
  • Kate Neilan
    January 1, 1970
    Utterly bewitching, completely charming, deeply moving. This beautifully written novel is everything I could have hoped for. Bravo!
  • Nicola Clingham
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ was advertised to fans of ‘The Miniaturist’, ‘Golden Hill’ and ‘The Essex Serpent’, so I jumped at the chance to read it and this book definitely did not disappoint. The novel is set in the 18th century and follows a number of plot threads: these include the merchant Mr Hancock trying to make his fortune and attempting to dazzle the public with his rare find; an ex-courtesan and widow at the turning point in her life; and the young courtesan who takes a risk for a b ‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ was advertised to fans of ‘The Miniaturist’, ‘Golden Hill’ and ‘The Essex Serpent’, so I jumped at the chance to read it and this book definitely did not disappoint. The novel is set in the 18th century and follows a number of plot threads: these include the merchant Mr Hancock trying to make his fortune and attempting to dazzle the public with his rare find; an ex-courtesan and widow at the turning point in her life; and the young courtesan who takes a risk for a better life. This book is predominantly a historical fiction novel, and although there is an element of fantasy, it is used well and works to make the book more enchanting. The book is well written, with great character development, and atmospheric descriptions. I enjoyed it from start to finish and I can’t wait for ‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ to be officially released because it is one I will definitely read again.
    more
  •  Natasa
    January 1, 1970
    Immerse yourself in the story of London at the end of the 18th century. Find the place where everything seems possible, where, at one point, you may be at the bottom of the social ladder, and already in the next one, town could be under your feet. What can happen when you are in a city like that while one of the most mystical creatures, a subject of so many unexplained legends, is in your hands!?Late one evening, while someone knocks on his door, Mr Hancock, a humble merchant and a widower, sure Immerse yourself in the story of London at the end of the 18th century. Find the place where everything seems possible, where, at one point, you may be at the bottom of the social ladder, and already in the next one, town could be under your feet. What can happen when you are in a city like that while one of the most mystical creatures, a subject of so many unexplained legends, is in your hands!?Late one evening, while someone knocks on his door, Mr Hancock, a humble merchant and a widower, surely doesn't know that his life is about to change. There is the captain of the ship, whose return he has been waiting for a long time, with some news that could be Hancock's ticket for a better life. Although seemingly crazy, the captain's decision to sell his valuable ship to buy a mermaid, could really change his life. But of course, only if he decides to do something about it.There is a thin line that separates the world of imagination from the reality, that's what this novel teaches us. Sometimes, all it takes is one little miracle for our lives to go in a new direction. A mermaid was that wonder, needed to change the fate of a few people, but also to make the paths cross for the two people who would never have met otherwise. The first person is, of course, Mr Hancock, and the second is the most famous London courtesan, Angelica Neal. The development of this unexpected romance will lead us though many unpredictable paths, if we follow them to the end of the novel.It's been a great, imaginative and interesting book that I literally couldn't put down and out of my hands. In the last few days I had literally moved into the book, and lived there with those characters. The atmosphere was perfect, but the countless details and descriptions also helped me to go deep into the story. Yes, maybe you'll find a few minor flaws, like I did, but I will not even mention them because I believe they really do not affect the overall impression, and it is very likely you won't even notice them to the very end, when you'll be forced to say goodbye to this book.If you love those historic settings and life stories mixed in with a bit of mystique and some interesting, but unusual romances, this is the book for you. The only thing you need is a little patience because the book will not be published till January 2018. Still, it will be worth to wait, believe me…
    more
  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    image: Visit the locations in the novel1700s LondonMerchants, mystery and mermaids....what’s not to like!? Now, this book is not as focused on the mermaid as you might think from the blurb but take the mermaid as a mystery in the background which draws the world of traders and courtesans together then you have the full focus of a historically intriguing read.The author has a knack for evoking London of the 1700s. The ships in the dock, the stench of the streets, the glamour of the courtesans, th image: Visit the locations in the novel1700s LondonMerchants, mystery and mermaids....what’s not to like!? Now, this book is not as focused on the mermaid as you might think from the blurb but take the mermaid as a mystery in the background which draws the world of traders and courtesans together then you have the full focus of a historically intriguing read.The author has a knack for evoking London of the 1700s. The ships in the dock, the stench of the streets, the glamour of the courtesans, the theatres and then there’s the mermaid. Such a discovery and a source of amazement. Pineapple was hailed as a new wonder at the time so the mermaid takes their breath awayThe mermaid is the link between two worlds - fact and fiction, rich and poor, man and woman, the world of business and that of make believe. From this wonder, the romance between two very different characters swims between two worlds not linked until now.The mermaid is not just a creature of intrigue, it’s a symbol for so much more. How London was changing, people within and how the world was becoming smaller with ships exchanging goods from one world to the other, and the people in it players in the theatre of its day.This isn’t a fantasy novel about a mermaid as the blurb suggests, but an insight into a world where marvel and mystery was opening up, knocking down borders, bringing new cultures and foods to new markets and the marvels of what can happen when two worlds collide, and the awe and mystery of a mermaid cast into a love affair with magic at its heart.
    more
  • Nkisha
    January 1, 1970
    (I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from Random House UK in exchange for an honest review)This story is an exciting historical romance with many unexpected twists and turns which made for an enjoyable read. The story is based on two central characters Mr Hancock and Angelica Neal who are from very different walks of life whose paths would not have crossed if it wasn’t for one Mermaid and the meddling of other people. Both characters are unique and could not seem anymore different f (I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from Random House UK in exchange for an honest review)This story is an exciting historical romance with many unexpected twists and turns which made for an enjoyable read. The story is based on two central characters Mr Hancock and Angelica Neal who are from very different walks of life whose paths would not have crossed if it wasn’t for one Mermaid and the meddling of other people. Both characters are unique and could not seem anymore different from one other if they tried. Mr Hancock is a humble merchant who comes a cross and as very simple, weak and lacks a backbone. Although despite this you can’t help but find him endearing for it. Angelica is the complete opposite she is glamorous, lavish, and comes across as a bit selfish. Although as the story progresses it becomes clear that Angelica is just a product of her surroundings and is not what she seems and you can’t help but develop a soft spot for her. Honestly the best part of the story is these two characters and how flawed they both are and how the author still manages to make them loveable for it. I would also say that the author did also include some characters that did not seem necessary although I suppose that was to keep the story coming along. I have decided to give this book three stars as although the story was good I found the writing a little too descriptive and the pace slow at times. Overall this book was a nice entertaining read that gives you a very unlikely hero, an unexpected damsel in distress and some very necessary villains.
    more
Write a review