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Elijah's Mermaid Paperback – 8 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409123359
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409123354
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 446,550 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

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. (John O'Connell GUARDIAN)

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

"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)

"A fabulous foray into a shadowy Victorian world" (Fanny Blake WOMAN & HOME)

An absorbing novel that twists and turns through a labyrinthine plot to reach a satisfying conclusion. (BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE)

"If you like imaginative, romantic stories then this book is definitely the one for you! A beautiful gothic novel we loved and know you will too." (ESSENTIALS)

Dark Secrets, hidden pasts and childhood mysteries are the focus of the sensual melodrama...an entertaining slice of Victoriana, rich in historical detail... (Marie Claire)

a highly enjoyable and evidently well-researched page-turner, packed with dramatic twists and turns, colourful locations and well-realised characters (Metro)

The author captures the essence of Victorian life in this richly textured novel...If you love all things Victorian, you will love this (Historical Novel Society)

Fox's well-researched novel is a gripping insight into the Victorian discrepancy between the respectability and morality. (NORWICH EVENING NEWS)

Book Description

Following the success of Essie Fox's highly acclaimed debut THE SOMNAMBULIST, this is a gloriously gothic novel from one of the most talented historical writers around.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paula Mc on 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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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 9 Nov 2012
Format: Hardcover
A real cornucopia of Victoriana and peopled with some weird and wonderful characters, Essie Fox's second novel 'Elijah's Mermaid' makes for an atmospheric read. Orphaned twins, Elijah and Lily are rescued from Coram's Foundling Hospital, by their writer grandfather, Augustus Lamb. The twins are brought up in Kingsland House, their grandfather's delightful country home, cocooned from the outside world, listening to Augustus's stories about fairies, hunting for "treasure and magic things" and dreaming about mermaids with golden hair. Meanwhile, in London, a beautiful web-toed baby is found floating in the Thames one dank, foggy night and taken to the House of Mermaids, a brothel, where she is raised in luxury by the Madame of the house, Mrs Hibbert. The child is given the name Pearl and is cared for lovingly by Mrs Hibbert, or at least she is until she reaches her fourteenth birthday, when she is made aware that she and her virginity are to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Shortly before the auction, the paths of Pearl and the Lamb twins cross by chance, when Elijah and Lily come to London, where Elijah is struck by Pearl's luminous beauty, falling in love with her after just a glance. But Pearl is not destined to be Elijah's mermaid, for she is soon sold off to an eccentric artist, who is delighted to find his very own mermaid and muse. A few years later, Elijah meets up with Pearl again when he has become a talented photographer and has been offered a job in London. But soon after arriving in London, Elijah disappears and when no news about his whereabouts reaches his sister and grandfather, Lily realizes that she will have to travel to London herself, in order to discover what fate has befallen her beloved brother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Snazzy on 21 May 2014
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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