Review: The Mermaid Collector
When Tom Grace is left a lightkeeper’s house in Cradle Harbor, Maine, he decides that moving there will be just the thing to help him and his brother Dean get their lives in order. Their parents were killed in a car accident years ago – Tom blames himself and has felt responsible for Dean ever since. Tom and Dean arrive in Cradle Harbor just as the town’s annual Mermaid Festival is getting underway. The first person Tom meets is Tess – a wood-carver who believes in the magic of the sea. There’s an instant attraction but the secrets of their pasts just might be too much for them to overcome.
There’s a lot going on in The Mermaid Collector, by Erika Marks, and my description doesn’t really do it justice. Besides Tess and Tom’s story, which is set in the present day, there’s the story of Lydia – a lighthouse keeper’s wife – set in the 1880′s. Lydia’s story is the inspiration for Cradle Harbor’s Mermaid Festival. There’s also the story of how and why Tom came to inherit the coveted lightkeeper’s house. I know that sounds like a lot, but the book is written so that the stories all flow and mesh together and I was never confused. In fact, I was fascinated with it from beginning to end. I thought I had the ending figured out early on and, for the most part, I did, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book at all. I needed to know how and why things worked out the way they did.
The Mermaid Collector is chock full of great characters. Tess is a free spirit with a sad past who’s looking for acceptance. Tom was a caregiver and he was the one I related to the most – I feel this need to make everything right for everyone. Lydia is a wonderful character, too – she was petrified of the water yet lived at the shore so she lived a somewhat tormented life. There are several secondary characters who add a lot to the story as well.
Marks expertly weaves the present day story with the story of the past and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this book. I recommend it to those who enjoy women’s fiction and those who enjoy just a touch of mysticism. Watch for a giveaway of this book coming next week!