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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, read by Juliet Stevenson.

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 - one on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

In this spellbinding 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.

©2018 Imogen Hermes Gowar (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"A cracking historical novel... The story is by turns intriguing, touching, funny, sad and heartwarming. It will make you laugh and it may make you cry.... The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is superb." ( The Times)
"A marvellous, high-energy, inventive romp through Georgian society. Rich in delicious period detail and written with a wickedly observant eye, the path of this unlikely romance leads down some unexpected byways to give a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable reading treat." ( Daily Mail)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly beguiling and brilliantly believable.

Oh my word, this book is almost impossibly good! I really cannot express how much I adored it. Imogen Hermes Gower's writing summons up such a beautiful recreation of Georgian London that I felt truly immersed in the time. The historical detail is sumptuous and meticulously researched, yet always fascinating and integral to the story telling.The characters are exquisitely well drawn and feel so authentic that it's hard to remember that they are fictional. I found myself thinking about them when I wasn't listening to the book and I have felt bereft at having to say goodbye to them since finishing it. The story is entertaining, engaging and very thought provoking and has given me a real desire to find out more about the lives of courtesans of that era. The book is brimming with gorgeous details of the clothing, furnishings and food of the time yet it doesn't shrink from showing some of the harsher realities of Georgian life, particularly for female sex workers.

Juliet Stevenson's narration is peerless and she brings all of the characters to life so vividly that it is almost as though you are watching the story played out rather than just hearing it. The combination of superb narrator and story makes this one of the best audiobooks I have listened to and one which will stay with me for a very long time. I am already looking forward to the pleasure of listening to it again.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Unexpectedly delughtful!

I often choose a book just because the title fascinates me, as I did with this one, and I'm so glad! You know that moment when the story finishes and you feel bereft? This is one of those.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful story, fantastic characters, great narration

Blown away by this. Or should that be swept away? What a heroine! Cannot recommend this highly enough.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Utterly stunning, brilliant read and great listen

Thoroughly enjoyable. . Great listen. Fantastic , beautiful writing . Well woven tale ,delightful !

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • ms
  • 18-02-18

Lovely

Excellent story portraying great understanding of that period in history and the situation for women... believable characters and superb narrator...I hope more books are to follow

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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stunning narration and rich story

Juliet Stevenson is a superb narrator - she really lifts the characters and story. The plot is brilliant simply in being something so different and luxurious for luxury's sake. A long listen, but joy from beginning to end.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely wonderful novel. The best book I have read or listened to.

The combination of a truly accomplished and lyrical writer and a totaslly committed and very talented narrator was such a pleasure that finishing it left me bereft.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Utterly enchanting and equally surprising.

I have given this book five stars and it thoroughly deserves them. I have just finished it and I miss it already I so want to know what happens next.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is a delightful light read, not to heavy going but still full of story line.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the characters are so likeable, they seem very real.

What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

Lovely clear speaking voice.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was a bit sad when the book ended as I enjoyed listening to it.

Any additional comments?

It is a bit saucy in places. You might want to put your ear phones on!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A tale that glimmers and twists

A cleverly construed story that artfully weaves an image of Georgian London's smooth sleek underbelly with threads of uncanny intrigue . A tale that glimmers and twists like an eel. The reader's narration is outstanding and the voice of each character distinct, adding inextricably to one's insight into the nature and physicality to each individual.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful