On Sale: September 11, 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
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Women's Fiction Historical
In 1780s London, a prosperous merchant finds his quiet
life upended when he unexpectedly receives a most unusual
creature—and meets a most extraordinary woman—in this
much-lauded, atmospheric debut that examines our capacity
for wonder, obsession, and desire with all the magnetism,
originality, and literary magic of The Essex Serpent.
One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an
urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of
London. The captain of one of Jonah’s trading vessels is
waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news.
On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah’s ship for
something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is
stunned—the object the captain presents him is brown and
wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and
claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is
As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops,
parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see
this marvel in Jonah Hancock’s possession. Thrust from
his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving
from the city’s seedy underbelly to the finest drawing
rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the
acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most
desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on—and a shrewd
courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a
perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a
dangerous new course as they come to realize that
priceless things often come at the greatest cost.
Imogen Hermes Gowar, Britain’s most-heralded new literary
talent, makes her debut with this spellbinding novel of a
merchant, a mermaid, and a madam—an unforgettable
confection that explores obsession, wonder, and the
deepest desires of the heart with bawdy wit, intrigue,
and a touch of magic.
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