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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

Written by: Imogen Hermes Gowar
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 17 hrs and 19 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, read by Juliet Stevenson.

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 doors of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on...and a courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting will steer both their lives onto a dangerous new course - one on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

What will be the cost of their ambitions? And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

In this spellbinding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

©2018 Imogen Hermes Gowar (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A cracking historical novel... The story is by turns intriguing, touching, funny, sad and heartwarming. It will make you laugh and it may make you cry.... The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is superb." ( The Times)
"A marvellous, high-energy, inventive romp through Georgian society. Rich in delicious period detail and written with a wickedly observant eye, the path of this unlikely romance leads down some unexpected byways to give a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable reading treat." ( Daily Mail)

What members say

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  • Joselo
  • 06-04-19

Magical realism in the Victorian Era

A mysterious mermaid unexpectedly affects the lives of a widowed merchant and a vivacious prostitute in Victorian Era England. Author Imogen Hermes Gowar renders the characters with great understanding and compassion. She's got massive talent. Juliet Stevenson's narration is pitch perfect. This is one of the most enjoyable audiobooks that I have come across. I don't want to give away the plot and I suggest that you investigate no further. Just let yourself go and dive into this fairy tale of sorts. It's a special one.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-11-18

Loved it

Really enjoyed it, fantastic story telling, bit of a weak ending but will remember this one for a while.

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  • Laura
  • 14-06-18

Highly recommend

A beautifully written novel made all the more exquisite by the voice of Juliet Stevenson.... highly recommend.

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  • ms.t.s.hutchings
  • 20-02-18

Utterly beguiling and brilliantly believable.

Oh my word, this book is almost impossibly good! I really cannot express how much I adored it. Imogen Hermes Gower's writing summons up such a beautiful recreation of Georgian London that I felt truly immersed in the time. The historical detail is sumptuous and meticulously researched, yet always fascinating and integral to the story telling.The characters are exquisitely well drawn and feel so authentic that it's hard to remember that they are fictional. I found myself thinking about them when I wasn't listening to the book and I have felt bereft at having to say goodbye to them since finishing it. The story is entertaining, engaging and very thought provoking and has given me a real desire to find out more about the lives of courtesans of that era. The book is brimming with gorgeous details of the clothing, furnishings and food of the time yet it doesn't shrink from showing some of the harsher realities of Georgian life, particularly for female sex workers.

Juliet Stevenson's narration is peerless and she brings all of the characters to life so vividly that it is almost as though you are watching the story played out rather than just hearing it. The combination of superb narrator and story makes this one of the best audiobooks I have listened to and one which will stay with me for a very long time. I am already looking forward to the pleasure of listening to it again.

38 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Yasmin
  • 10-03-18

Excellent

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is a delightful light read, not to heavy going but still full of story line.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the characters are so likeable, they seem very real.

What about Juliet Stevenson’s performance did you like?

Lovely clear speaking voice.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was a bit sad when the book ended as I enjoyed listening to it.

Any additional comments?

It is a bit saucy in places. You might want to put your ear phones on!!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-03-18

Absolutely wonderful novel. The best book I have read or listened to.

The combination of a truly accomplished and lyrical writer and a totaslly committed and very talented narrator was such a pleasure that finishing it left me bereft.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Spammy99
  • 23-02-18

Utterly stunning, brilliant read and great listen

Thoroughly enjoyable. . Great listen. Fantastic , beautiful writing . Well woven tale ,delightful !

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • L Douglas
  • 29-03-18

stunning narration and rich story

Juliet Stevenson is a superb narrator - she really lifts the characters and story. The plot is brilliant simply in being something so different and luxurious for luxury's sake. A long listen, but joy from beginning to end.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean Mc
  • 14-03-18

Utterly enchanting and equally surprising.

I have given this book five stars and it thoroughly deserves them. I have just finished it and I miss it already I so want to know what happens next.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • ms
  • 18-02-18

Lovely

Excellent story portraying great understanding of that period in history and the situation for women... believable characters and superb narrator...I hope more books are to follow

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • ncinci
  • 18-03-18

A tale that glimmers and twists

A cleverly construed story that artfully weaves an image of Georgian London's smooth sleek underbelly with threads of uncanny intrigue . A tale that glimmers and twists like an eel. The reader's narration is outstanding and the voice of each character distinct, adding inextricably to one's insight into the nature and physicality to each individual.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate
  • 16-03-18

Wonderful story, fantastic characters, great narration

Blown away by this. Or should that be swept away? What a heroine! Cannot recommend this highly enough.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • H S H
  • 18-03-18

Unexpectedly delughtful!

I often choose a book just because the title fascinates me, as I did with this one, and I'm so glad! You know that moment when the story finishes and you feel bereft? This is one of those.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • A mum
  • 17-02-19

Juliet Stevenson shines as ever but the novel does not.

I love Juliet Stevenson narrating almost any book so was looking forward to listening to her reading this much lauded new novel. Juliet does not disappoint, but sadly the novel does. I very rarely give up on a story but I couldn’t go on with this one. I persevered for several hours longer than I might have because of JS’ performance but during the mermaid in the whorehouse scene I decided life was just too short. I thought I must be missing something given the praise lavished on this book, but for me the characters never came to life so I lost interest in their increasingly sordid exploits.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-11-18

loved this story<br />

I was put off this book originally by the title but I really enjoyed this story and the narrator was excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-06-18

wonderful and unexpected

This was a recommendation for me that I almost didn't pick up and I'm SO GLAD I DID. Unexpectedly wonderful. Lovely prose, well constructed characters, unexpected storyline. Minor deduction for not wrapping up all the storylines. I would happily recommend this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • amanda
  • 10-03-19

lovely story wonderfully read.

Excellent glimpse into a different era brought about by excellent story telling . Original and thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • Melissa Moore
  • 06-03-19

Stunning

What a find...absolutely magical writing...what a mind and ear for language, poetry and the craft of story telling... beautifully brought to life by the genius of JS. Thank you both.