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Review: The Mermaid Collector

October 9, 2012

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!

Review copy provided by Penguin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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24 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2012 5:20 am

    I always admire authors who can successfully mix a story from the past with one from the present!

  2. Beth F permalink
    October 9, 2012 6:18 am

    I like stories with more than one time period and I like books set in Maine … I’ll keep this in mind.

  3. Caite permalink
    October 9, 2012 6:39 am

    Maine…lighthouse on the cover..that might be enough to win me over.

  4. October 9, 2012 7:50 am

    Have you read The Mermaid Chair? Your description of this one reminds me of that, just a little bit.

  5. October 9, 2012 8:26 am

    Maine, lighthouse, past and present — sounds good to me.

  6. October 9, 2012 8:34 am

    I also like the mix of past and present but lots of authors somehow dont get it quite right.

  7. October 9, 2012 8:38 am

    Kathy, it is even more special to read your thoughts now that we’ve met IRL! Thank you for such kind words–and I’m so glad we got to visit. Here’s to another one soon! (And my husband is VERY anxious to visit a certain someone’s son-and-husband’s burgeoning business–as am I!:))

  8. October 9, 2012 9:19 am

    This one sounds wonderful. I love when an author skillfully connects all the stories within a story.

  9. October 9, 2012 10:12 am

    You make this sound like an intriguing read. I’d give it a try. Here’s My First Paragraph, Tuesday Teaser

  10. zibilee permalink
    October 9, 2012 11:22 am

    This is a book that I have been seeing around a lot lately, and really want to read. There is something about stories that have multiple plot lines going on that I really enjoy. I am so glad that this one was such a good read for you, because when it comes to these types of books, we have similar tastes. I need to read this one soon! Great review today, Kathy!

  11. bookingmama permalink
    October 9, 2012 12:10 pm

    After reading your review, I think I’ll be reading this one sooner rather than later.

  12. October 9, 2012 12:29 pm

    Lovely review, Kathy! It sounds like you really enjoyed this book.

  13. October 9, 2012 12:56 pm

    Nice that you enjoyed this one!

  14. October 9, 2012 12:57 pm

    sounds like a nice one 🙂

  15. October 9, 2012 1:41 pm

    Sounds like a lovely read and your character descriptions especially make me want to read this book.

  16. Literary Feline permalink
    October 9, 2012 1:45 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful book, Kathy. The title caught my eye immediately. I will be adding this one to my wish list.

  17. October 9, 2012 1:59 pm

    She was all over the place at SIBA, and such a nice lady. You don’t have to ask too many times for me to read something that has a lighthouse in it.

  18. October 9, 2012 2:13 pm

    I like stories with a touch of mysticism.

  19. October 9, 2012 3:20 pm

    I like the sound of this

  20. Patty permalink
    October 9, 2012 3:29 pm

    I love when endings surprise us! This book sounds lovely!

  21. talesofwhimsy permalink
    October 9, 2012 5:31 pm

    O you’ve convinced me to try this one 🙂

  22. October 10, 2012 12:43 am

    Hi Kathy,

    This is definitely an author for my list, along with both her books to date.

    I love the way that ‘The Mermaid Collector’ has two storeis running in parallel, yet in different times and Erika’s first book ‘Little Gale Gumbo’, deals with family relationships and acceptance, in a way which sounds captivating and emotional.

    Thanks for a nice review and for the recommendation.

    Yvonne

  23. Kaye permalink
    October 10, 2012 7:48 am

    Sounds like a good one, indeed! I love books set in Maine so may have to check this one out..

  24. October 11, 2012 8:29 pm

    I am liking the sound of this one!!!

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