Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox
My thanks to newbooksmag for an advance copy to read and review.
In Elijah’s mermaid, Essie Fox, has with Dickensian precision revealed a passionate story of obsessive love, and sordid betrayal. Beautifully descriptive, the highly regarded worlds of Victorian art and literature, meet the dark and repellent world of the demimondaine, in a story that abounds with duplicity, and scandalous intrigue.
Pearl has been brought up in the notorious brothel, The House of Mermaids, where she has been cosseted and pampered as a child of the house; however, as she nears her fourteenth birthday, she is aware that her innocence will be soon be sold to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, in a secluded country house, the twins Lily and Elijah, who were rescued as children from the Foundling Hospital, live in isolated splendour with their grandfather, the reclusive author Augustus Lamb. In an unexpected incident in London, Lily and Elijah, cross paths with Pearl, and the fickle finger of fate combines, to bind these characters together.
The dark and socially corrupt world of Victorian London is brought vividly to life, the narrative never falters, and the rich assortment of characters that flutter in and out of the story, add a fascinating glimpse into the shadowy world of the Victorian underclass.
Overall, I found much to enjoy in Elijah’s Mermaid and if you enjoy Victorian Gothic in the style of Sarah Waters excellent books Fingersmith or Affinity, then this is certainly one to try.
To be published 8 October by ORION Books