The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Pub Date 25 Jan 2018
A Sunday Times bestseller.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S FICTION PRIZE.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.
‘A brilliantly plotted story of mermaids, madams and intrigue in 1780s London and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it become the Essex Serpent of 2018’ - The Pool
'Imogen Hermes Gowar is a soon-to-be literary star’ - Sunday Times
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, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.
Where will their ambitions lead? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?
In this spell-binding 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.
'Good god, it is a wonderful book'
Louise O'Neill, author of Asking For It
'Beautifully written...As seductive as any siren's song, this remarkable, glittering Georgian tale has a heart of purest gold.'
'Beautiful written, sinuous, enchanting, brilliantly researched, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
goes deep into the eighteenth century - its grand front rooms, the
secret places, the streets and the ocean that changed everything about
Britain and it lays bare the hearts of a cast of unforgettable
Kate Williams, author of The Edge of the Fall
'Exquisitely written, flawlessly imagined, The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock's
siren song - of courtesans and merchants, shipwrecks and wonders, love
and grief, ambition and passion - will echo like the ocean in a seashell
long after the last page is turned.'
Katy Darby, author of The Whores' Asylum
THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
The subjected of a hotly contested auction
Launched with a major promotional campaign
For fans of The Miniaturist, The Essex Serpent and Golden Hill.
Jacket design by award-winner Suzanne Dean.