The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock (Hardback)Imogen Hermes Gowar (author)
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Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018
‘Roll up, roll up, a true wonder is on display: a mermaid magicked out of words… Imogen Hermes Gowar delights in the feminine fakery of mermaids, but as a writer she is the real deal.’ - Hermione Eyre, The Guardian
Already hailed as this year’s Essex Serpent, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock leads the pack of 2018’s most keenly anticipated debuts. It arrives on a wave of critical acclaim, with the Daily Express calling it 'a dazzlingly original novel, full of heady pleasures… shot through with irreverent humour'. Submerging the reader in the melee of 18th century London, this is a riot of uncanny wonders, wit and unforgettable voices.
It begins on an autumn night in 1785. Merchant Jonah Hancock waits anxiously for news of his ship, but a knocking at the door brings him instead a curio beyond his imagining: a sea goblin, a monster, a mermaid.
As the whisper of his find spreads across London, Jonah finds himself swept into an ambitious, topsy-turvy world of collectors, voyeurs, brothels and courtesans and into the path of Angelica Neal, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
Join us on our own voyage of discovery as author Imogen Hermes Gowar takes us on a video tour of London's most historic Waterstones locations, revealing their extraordinary hidden histories. Equal parts grit and shimmer, it’s a pearl of a novel just waiting to be discovered.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 786 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 42 mm
'The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is superb' - The Times
'...rich and inventive…extremely enjoyable' - The Sunday Times
'...a fantastical and thoroughly enjoyable reading treat.' - Daily Mail
'Like the recent historical-fiction hits Franics Spufford's Golden Hill, Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent and Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, this is a novel pungent in historical detail' - Sunday Times
'Imogen Hermes Gowar nails the 18th century as convincingly as Francis Spufford in Golden Hill, but with supernatural elements that bring to mind Susannah Clarke and Sarah Perry.' - Alex Preston, The Observer
'Imogen Hermes Gowar is a soon-to-be literary star.' - Sunday Times
'This ambitious debut has many virtues: the writing is rich, opulent, at times witty, and Gowar captures the decadent, febrile atmosphere of late-18th-century London in impressive detail.' - Simon Humphreys, The Mail on Sunday
'A wonderfully written and richly descriptive novel, its brilliantly drawn characters driven by heady and dangerous desires.' - The Express
'Pure storytelling pleasure' - Metro
'A story of curiosity and obsession, this is full of rich detail and is a book to get lost in' - Stylist
'The bustling, bawdy world of 18th-century London [is] expertly evoked in Imogen Hermes Gowar's The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. This is undoubtedly the start of a major career for this young writer." - Vogue
'An epic and intricately researched historical novel evokes 1780s London - an era of spectacle, Soho courtesans, lavish parties and dark secrets.' - Elle
'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
'A wonderful romp through Georgian London.' - Independent
'A gloriously assured debut, set in a beautifully drawn London... A story of obsession and destruction, hope and heart, which beguiles as much as the mermaid herself.' - Red Magazine
'If you liked The Miniaturist, try The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar. Transport yourself with a sumptuous mystery story.' - BBC
"Beautiful courtesans, destructive mermaids, mercenary madams, raucous sailors; there's little Imogen Hermes Gowar doesn't throw at her extraordinary debut novel. And thanks to her deft, skilfully weaved plot and gorgeous writing, it all comes together beautifully." - iBooks 2018 Hotlist
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“Utterly bewitching debut novel....”
This is a pure historical indulgence set in London at the end of the 18th century. We follow Mr. Hancock a merchant, trying to make a fortune with his mermaid and an ex-courtesan , Angelica striving for a better... More
“A voyage of discovery!”
This atmospheric tale is packed with so much exquisite detail, which fans of historical ficition will love. The setting is vividly depicted. We are introduced to Mr Hancock, a merchant and Angelica Neal, a courtesan.... More
“Atmospheric and enchanting”
‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ was advertised to fans of ‘The Miniaturist’, ‘Golden Hill’ and ‘The Essex Serpent’, so I jumped at the chance to read it and this book definitely did not disappoint.
The novel is set in... More
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