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Elijah's Mermaid [Paperback]

Essie Fox
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2013

Saved from the Thames one foggy London night, Pearl grows up at the House of Mermaids - a brothel that becomes the closest thing to home. But despite being cosseted and spoiled by the Madame, come her 14th year, Pearl is to be sold to the highest bidder.

Orphaned twins Lily and Elijah are on a rare trip to London when they meet the ethereal Pearl. And the repercussions of this chance encounter will bind all their fates together, in a dark and dangerous way.

Bewitching, gothic and sensual, this is a tale of love and betrayal in a world where nothing is quite as it seems.


Frequently Bought Together

Elijah's Mermaid + The Somnambulist + The Goddess and the Thief
Price For All Three: 20.67

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (9 May 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1409121208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409121206
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Essie Fox writes Gothic Victorian novels. The Somnambulist, Elijah's Mermaid, and her latest, The Goddess and the Thief, are published by Orion Books.


Born and raised in Herefordshire, after studying English Literature at Sheffield University, Essie moved to London, first to work for the Telegraph Sunday Magazine and then for the book publishers, George, Allen & Unwin. A change of career when a daughter was born saw Essie become an illustrator - a passion that lasted twenty years until she began to write instead.

Essie now divides her time between Bow in East London and Windsor - from where she pursues her writing career.

For more information: http://www.essiefox.com/

For news about talks and events: http://www.essiefoxnews.blogspot.com/

To read Essie's popular Victorian blog: http://www.virtualvictorian.blogspot.com

See many of the images that have inspired Essie's novels on her Pinterest page: http://www.pinterest.com/essiefoxauthor/

Product Description

Review

Fox's vivid, sensual prose is - fittingly - as seductive as a siren's song, drawing you into a shadowy Victorian world of obsession and guilt... An intoxicating follow-up to 2011's acclaimed THE SOMNAMBULIST. Recommended to fans of Sarah Waters (HEAT)

Fox's story of obsessive love is memorable and unusual (SUNDAY TIMES)

The author behind the Virtual Victorian blog has followed up her Channel 4 Book Club choice THE SOMNAMBULIST with this Wilkie Collins-style sensation novel... An obvious comparison is with early Sarah Waters...The glee with which Fox approaches her material is infectious. All Victorian life is here ...Intriguing. (GUARDIAN)

A fabulous foray into a shadowy Victorian world (WOMAN AND HOME)

This is a modern Gothic novel with a beguiling story at its heart. Big themes of love, obsession, betrayal, tragedy and madness fill the pages, as a shadowy underworld collides with the art and literature elite. Fox weaves her story with dramatic style and allure, creating a cast of enticing characters and an intriguing plot that I couldn't get enough of (The White Company 'What We're Reading')

Transports us to the Victorian squalor of London's East End for a tale of illegitimacy, incest and theatricality with so many twists that you'll want to read it in one sitting (COSMOPOLITAN on the SOMNAMBULIST)

Vividly compelling, dark and dazzling (Katherine Webb on THE SOMNAMBULIST)

[THE SOMNAMBULIST] has taken me to new worlds, is riven with suspense, has made my imagination wander, and my fingers itch to turn the last page (JoJo Moyes)

Expose[s] the mouldy underbelly of Victoriana... the effect can be deliciously unsettling. (THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Weaving an intoxicating tale that is both sinister and seductive as it depicts passion, betrayal and obsessive love in every guise, the novel certainly captures the less-palatable aspects of Victorian society with sensuous conviction (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

A bewitching historical gothic tale of obsessive love 'recommended to fans of Sarah Waters' [Heat] from the author of the highly acclaimed TV Book Club-selected THE SOMNAMBULIST.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read. 4 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
'Elijah's Mermaid' is the story of three people, the twins, Elijah and Lily, and Pearl, a baby found in the Thames river following her mother's suicide. Elijah and Lily lives begin in the Foundling Home where they abandoned by their mother after their birth, eventually the twins find their home with their grandfather, the father of their deceased father who died before their birth which led to their mother leaving her home in shame and subsequently disappearing.

Whilst Elijah and Lily have a settled and loving childhood, Pearl is brought up in a brothel where she is shown as 'The Mermaid' due to her web toes. Pearl is protected and raised by Mrs Hibbert, a woman shrouded in black which hides her face from the world. Pearl's life changes as her fourteenth birthday approaches, she is told by the sinister Tip Thomas that she will be sold to the highest bidder. Pearl finds herself sold to Osborne Black, an obsessive artist who wants Pearl for a specific reason. As the story progresses the three characters come together and find out how they are all connected.

'Elijah's Mermaid' was a pleasant surprise because I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. There were parts which I found hard to believe but the story works well and I loved the description of Victorian London. Pearl was my favourite character, at times whilst reading I did think (and wish) that she would get some backbone but as the story progresses Pearl changes and its a positive change. The twins, Elijah and Lily were interesting to read but due to their childhood, they both seemed unaware of the world around them which frustrated me. The rest of the characters are also well written especially Tip Thomas, who actually makes your flesh crawl as you read.

An interesting read and I hope to read more by Essie Fox.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Lauraaa
Format:Kindle Edition
Elijah’s Mermaid by Essie Fox is a thrilling tale of love and betrayal which sweeps the reader through 19th century England, from London’s murky brothels to the contrasting upper-class society. The novel follows Lily and Elijah, orphaned twins who are taken to live with their grandfather on a prosperous estate, and Pearl, and orphan who grows up in a brothel being groomed for life as a prostitute. A chance meeting of all three in a freak show tent leads to their very different lives becoming entwined.

Without giving too much away about the book, the story is told from two perspectives – Lily and Pearl’s – and follows the twists and turns in their lives as they grow up. I do feel it’s a shame that there isn’t another part told from Elijah’s perspective, but the mixed-media style, with its inclusion of newspaper cuttings and diary entries, gives alternative accounts of events and offers the reader a small insight into various other character’s experiences, including Elijah’s.

I was a little disappointed that all the females in the novel seemed very much to be victims of the ‘stronger’, domineering males – put perhaps this simply reflects the situation most women were in at the time, particularly when considering the way women were treated as the weaker, unstable sex.

One of the things I loved about reading this novel is the bizarre, often unsettling images Fox includes – from the misshapen physical manifestations of syphilis to the shrivelled mermaid and the awful treatment of women medically in mental institutions.

Although at times I felt the story lost its focus at points, Fox writes with suspense, painting a picture of what Victorian London’s gloomy underbelly was like for all walks of life without being excessively descriptive, resulting in a dark and unsettling social commentary that surely cannot fail to capture the imagination!

Read more reviews on my blog: [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An atmospheric novel of darkness and delusion 24 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox explores the all consuming nature of obsession in the pursuit of perfection, until reason is lost and morality dies.

Pearl is the jewel in the crown of the House of Mermaids, a notorious brothel in Victorian London, 'a glittering palace of dreams'.

As a baby, Pearl was carried to the House on a tide of misery.

An unusual child with webbed feet and astonishing beauty, Pearl is cosseted and looked after, brought up on tales that she was sent to the House by the 'mermaids' of the Thames.

Until her fourteenth birthday when she learns that she is to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Our introduction to Pearl is as a young confused adult, one who has had her sense of innocence torn away from her. Vile images writhe in her descriptions of her early life, her detached tone evoking a sense of the deep depression that resides within her.

Her fear is palpable.

Sensuous and dark, the prose flows through your senses gently like stream at first, before pulling you down into the murky depths of the The House of Mermaids.

Meanwhile, orphaned twins, Lily and Elijah, are adopted from a Foundling Hospital by their grandfather, author Augustus Lamb.

They grow up in the countryside and enjoy an idyllic childhood, sheltered from the world that Pearl resides in.

It is while on a visit to London that they first encounter Pearl.

A chance meeting that is set to change the direction of all their lives in the future, when the twins will enter a world where reality shifts like sand underfoot, unreliable, unsteady, ever changing.

A world where they won't know who to trust.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of read
Set in Victorian times this Gothic novel has an array of fantastic characters to match a Dickens's novel. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sue Roebuck
4.0 out of 5 stars Gothic
I really enjoyed this novel and will check out more of Fox's work as a result. It's not 'high-brow' literature but it's definitely not fluff. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cece de la Vela
4.0 out of 5 stars Eijah's Mermaid
Easy to read held my attention with its mystery. relationships were very complicated and I would love to have heard a little more detail about their lives as they grew old.
Published 5 months ago by Wendy Veazey
2.0 out of 5 stars Elijah's Mermaid
Initially tempted by the premise of the novel, I soon lost interest in the characters. Disappointing that the complex back story has to be explained by the author in a clunky... Read more
Published 8 months ago by carolf
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful jacket and beautiful writing
Elijah's Mermaid is told from the point-of-view of Pearl, the baby saved from death in the murky Thames, and Lily, herself saved from a Foundling home as a young child. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Julie-Ann Corrigan
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Essie Fox
I really enjoyed reading Elijah's Mermaid. Fox's writing seems so well researched and the plots are so thorough and dense. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Hankie
5.0 out of 5 stars A pearl dropped into me waiting hands...
I found Elijah's Mermaid a joy from start to finish and here are a few reasons why...

If gothic Victoriana isn't your bag, then this really isn't going to be for you. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr. J. P. Clarkson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Thought I'd try this after reading the somnambulist by the same author. I wasn't disappointed. It was clever, intriguing, thought provoking and gripping.
Published 11 months ago by farquadd
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read.
Intriguing book and very readable.Bigger than I expected so not easy to read everywhere.The relationships were complex but cleverly portrayed.
Published 11 months ago by Wendy
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Essie Fox's writing
I adored The Sonambulist so was really excited to read Elijah's Mermaid. I wasn't disappointed. This novel captures London during the Victorian period in such detail. Read more
Published 12 months ago by sm1975
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