The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

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...

Details The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

TitleThe Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
Release DateJan 25th, 2018
PublisherHarvill Secker
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy

Reviews The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

  • Paromjit
    This debut atmospheric historical fiction by Imogen Hermes Gowar is an enthralling tale set in 18th century London, where much is in flux with the world irrevocably changing culturally and so much that is new is being introduced to society such as the tantalising strange foods. It should be made clear the fantasy element suggested by the mermaid in the title stays in the background until the latter stages of the story. It is 1785, and John Hancoc...
  • Simon
    I insist you all read Imogen Hermes Gowar’s fabulous debut The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock; a historical romp with wonderful characters, saucy shenanigans, dark glimmering corners of 1700’s society and possibly a mermaid or two. An utter treat. I need say no more.
  • Hannah
    In this historical novel, Jonah Hancock, a widowed merchant, comes into possession of a dead mermaid. While trying to find a way to make money of this, he crosses paths with Angelica Neal, a courtesan whose protector has unexpectedly died.My thoughts on this are very complicated. I don’t think I have been this unsure how to rate a book this year yet. Therefore, here are my thoughts, first in list form and then more elaborate:Pros:- mesmerizing ...
  • Sara
    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review,I think I was expecting more from this than delivered - and I don't think that's entirely the books fault. I was expecting magical realism, fantasy and mermaids based on the blurb. What I got was a well written historical romance novel, steeped in descriptive prose that felt a little flat to me.The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock follows a humble merchant and his love for a courtesan, whom h...
  • Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
    Keeping in mind the name of the book, this is the rough experience of me reading it: 10% --- hm, super curious. No mermaid, no Mrs Hancock. What is to come of this?20% --- yes. The mermaid. Still no Mrs Hancock though. But there are other interesting things going on, so no matter!50% --- o....kay. Back to square one. But I'm attached to the characters by now! There's still half the book... WHY is it called that though?? 75% --- it seems everyth...
  • Emma
    Superlative immersive historical fiction! Loved it. The writing was evocative with details of sights, sounds, behaviours and vocabulary of the age. There was no way for me to predict how events would turn out, but it was a wonderful read. Heartily recommended to lovers of (Georgian) historical fiction.Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book. All opinions are my own.
  • Melanie
    This has been one of my most anticipated reads for 2018. As a fan of historical fiction, I was excited that Imogen Hermes Gowar has chosen to set her tale in the 18th century London and her description of the town and its people is colourful, atmospheric and drew me right in. The story is sold as a mix of historical fiction with magical realism and yes, there is some magical realism but that really only occurs at the end of the book (as in the la...
  • Claire
    One of my favourite books of the year!
  • Cathy
    Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog: Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is notable for its cast of memorable female characters. There’s Angelica, the beautiful, capricious, independent-minded courtesan who’s unfortunately insufficiently financially independent not to be in need of a new protector. There’s the procuress to high soc...
  • Emma
    First of all, I'd like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.I don't think I've ever read a book that was so thoroughly not for me in my life. I really struggled to get through the pages - it took me well over a month to read, even though I've been known to read books of equal length in two days flat - and I just never warmed to it at all.I'll start with the good points, ju...
  • Thebooktrail
    image: Visit the locations in the novel1700s LondonMerchants, mystery and mermaids....what’s not to like!? Now, this book is not as focused on the mermaid as you might think from the blurb but take the mermaid as a mystery in the background which draws the world of traders and courtesans together then you have the full focus of a historically intriguing read.The author has a knack for evoking London of the 1700s. The ships in the dock, the sten...
  • Kate
    This remarkable debut, set in the mid 1780s, brings Georgian London alive, or at least those parts of it that make their living, or take their pleasure, in its fashionable 'nunneries' or brothels. Merchant Mr Hancock has fallen in love with probably the most beautiful courtesan of them all and for her he will do anything, even if it means finding her a mermaid. This is beautiful prose, witty and elegant, and the character portraits are gorgeous. ...
  • Kate Neilan
    Utterly bewitching, completely charming, deeply moving. This beautifully written novel is everything I could have hoped for. Bravo!
  • Nicola Clingham
    ‘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 the 18th century and follows a number of plot threads: these include the merchant Mr Hancock trying to make his fortune and attempting to dazzle the public with his rare find; an ex-courtesan and widow at the turning p...
  • Adiba Jaigirdar
    I was super excited about this book because - okay - I love mermaids. Who doesn't, though? And for about the first half of the book, I was intrigued enough to enjoy the story and the characters. But the more I read, the less I enjoyed it, the less I was intrigued by it, the less I wanted to keep reading.Don't get me wrong. There is so much to praise about this book. Starting with the wonderful prose and ending with the crafting of some very inter...
  • Vicky
    A visual feast for the eyes, this book. Quite aside from the gorgeous cover, this equally gorgeous book served up rich characterwork, a fascinating story and a world that you wanted to dive into. Yes, I loved it- and quite right too.Set in Georgian England, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock focusses mainly on the stories of two people, Mr Hancock, a lonely man fast approaching fifty, and Angelica Neal, a courtesan who is past her prime and trying to st...
  • Sanjana
    Set in the England (close to London) of 1785-1786, this story infuses elements of a historic setting and magic spinning a believable tale. Here Mr. Handcock acquires a mermaid by chance and it becomes the talk of the town. Alongside this, we get to know more about the life of a courtesan, Angelica Neal and the environment she is a part of. This book dwells more into the society and setting of the 1700s. We follow Mr. Handcock’s journey after ac...
  •  Natasa
    Immerse yourself in the story of London at the end of the 18th century. Find the place where everything seems possible, where, at one point, you may be at the bottom of the social ladder, and already in the next one, town could be under your feet. What can happen when you are in a city like that while one of the most mystical creatures, a subject of so many unexplained legends, is in your hands!?Late one evening, while someone knocks on his door,...
  • Jules
    I’d heard lots of great things about The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock & when I saw an early copy available in Waterstones, I couldn’t resist! Historical fiction is my favourite genre so it was right up my street. And it really didn’t disappoint!The Mermaid is so wonderfully descriptive, I felt completely immersed in life in 1785. The characters are delightful. Despite my taking an initial dislike to Angelica, I found myself warming to her & loved ...
  • Emma Robertson
    This book is set in 1785 when a merchant Mr Hancock is handed into his possession a shrivelled body of a mermaid in lieu of a ship he was expecting to return. This starts an event of trying to recoup his losses by displaying the oddity to those of interest at a sum.Angelica Neal is a women used to being kept but has fallen on hard times, her previous lover has passed away and she finds herself fighting for survival and recognition to keep herself...
  • Amanda
    The year is 1785 and merchant John Hancock is sat quietly at home when there is an urgent knocking on his door. Stood on the threshold is the Captain of one of his ships with the news that he has sold it in exchange for a dead mermaid.Hancock is somewhat baffled and bemused wondering what an earth he can do with a dead mermaid. Persuaded to show his mermaid, his unlikely exhibit begins to garner notoriety and fame and before long Hancock is immer...
  • Olive Sparrow
    This is the best book I've read in months, it immediately made my list of favorites and I'm sure that I'm starting to annoy people with my demented raving about this book.Visually the book is a stunner and one you can definitely judge by its cover. It's rare to find a historical fantasy where the fantasy aspect takes more of a backseat. I love both genres but this was a perfect balance between the two. The Regency London setting rather than Medie...
  • Nkisha
    (I received a copy of this book through NetGalley from Random House UK in exchange for an honest review)This story is an exciting historical romance with many unexpected twists and turns which made for an enjoyable read. The story is based on two central characters Mr Hancock and Angelica Neal who are from very different walks of life whose paths would not have crossed if it wasn’t for one Mermaid and the meddling of other people. Both characte...
  • Jo Bunt
    This is a book that has left me with mixed feelings. Some of the passages demand to be read and reread, they are so beautifully written. There is great detail about 18th century London and I felt like I was given a good insight into this period. I devoured the first two-thirds of this book but found the final third to be hard going. The ending was a little flat for me and didn't deliver on the premise. I was expecting a little more magical realis...
  • Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
    I hardly know what to think about this. It is strikingly and gorgeously written; the evocation of 18th century London is brilliant and there are so many extraordinary characters here. For a debut writer Imogen Hermes Gower has worked miracles. But I’m unconvinced by the magical realist shift in tone in the last fifth of the novel. It feels like it belongs to a different book, and has a cast of characters from a parallel universe. The Jonah Hanc...
  • John
    I haven’t had this much fun in breeches since Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill, though don’t expect this book to be quite as pacy as Spufford’s. I don’t think it suffers for that: it captures the 18th-Century just as vividly and the language is consistently beautiful. The story develops slowly, but this allows time for the characters’ journeys to be fully explored. And what characters! The cast is almost Dickensian in size and I relishe...
  • Lucy-May
    Due to work commitments, I wasn't able to read this book how I would have wanted to; I was forced to pick it up in short spouts & it took me far too long to finish. When reading a book in this way, it has to be very good to capture my attention enough for me to finish it, & the fact that I did finish it shows how much I enjoyed it. I loved reading about London in this time & I love books that include the gritty truths about English brothels. The ...
  • Birgitte Bach
    Det er langt fra en perfekt bog, men jeg synes den var lytningen værd.
  • Lady R
    Hard to believe this is a debut novel - it completely transports you to another world with very clever subtle studies about love, happiness, grief and revenge. I loved it