The blurb: Since she was found as a baby, floating in the Thames one foggy night, the web-toed Pearl has been brought up in a brothel known as the House of Mermaids. Cosseted and pampered there, it is only when her fourteenth birthday approaches that Pearl realises she is to be sold to the highest bidder.
Meanwhile, the orphaned twins, Lily and Elijah, have shared an idyllic childhood, raised in a secluded country house with their grandfather, Augustus Lamb. But when Lily and Elijah go on a visit London, a chance meeting with the ethereal Pearl will have repercussions for all of them, binding their fates together in a dark and dangerous way…
In this bewitching, sensual novel, Essie Fox has written another tale of obsessive love and betrayal, moving from the respectable worlds of Victorian art and literature, and into the shadowy demi-monde of brothels, asylums and freak show tents – a world in which nothing and no-one is quite what they seem to be.
My Review: This is a beautiful book inside and out. I had a tricky few moments at the beginning, Essie Fox’s style is like the great writers of the Victorian era, long sentences, intricate words and I had to switch my brain back on to fully appreciate her writing style which was definitely a good thing for me! Her style reminded me of Wilkie Collins, flowing and full of subtleties of meaning.
This is a book to be savoured. A brilliant piece of Victoriana, a Gothic Mystery, deserving of capitalisation, where you follow the threads of Lily, Elijah and Pearl and their intricately woven histories from before they were born to how they struggle to find the truth amidst all the spectacle and lies of the House of the Mermaids.
It’s brilliantly plotted, completely immersive, I very nearly missed my train stop more than once whilst reading this book! The characterisation is flawless from the dark and complicated Osborne Black to the seemingly warm-hearted Uncle Freddie, the mirror twists and intrigue abounds. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to be taken on a journey by a very clever story-teller.
8 out of 10 stars! ********
BUY ME! Elijah’s Mermaid