The Mermaid is Beside the Point

the mermaid and mrs. hancock

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

By: Imogen Hermes Gowar

Grade: A-

It seemed like there were a million books about the sea or some creature in it this summer but I knew I wanted to read this one ages ago. It’s an adult novel about a merchant in 1700’s London whose Captain sells his ship for a mermaid corpse. (He takes it a hell of a lot better than most people would by the way.) And how his life intersects with a courtesan trying to manage a better position for herself.

Mermaids and courtesans seemed like a great combination.

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I Prefer the Ruin

love and ruin

Love and Ruin

By: Paula McLain

Grade: B+

*I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Love and Ruin is the story of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn’s tumultuous meeting, romance and eventual marriage. Paula McLain wrote Circling the Sun which was one of my favorite books a few years ago and remains so. Whereas I definitely have more mixed feelings about this book but mainly I preferred the ruin part.

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We Want the Myth

I Was Anastasia

I Was Anastasia

By: Ariel Lawhon

Grade: B

Anastasia Romanov was one the daughters of the last Czar of Russia. The family was taken prisoner during the revolution and disappeared. (No one learned until decades later what their actual fate had been.) A couple of years later a young woman throws herself off a bridge in Germany. She later comes to be known as Anna Anderson but for many people she was the Duchess Anastasia.

I’m not sure if I should mark spoilers or not but if you aren’t aware of the real life story or it’s resolution and you want to go into the book that way- you probably shouldn’t keep reading.

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Naked A Novel of Lady Godiva


Naked A Novel of Lady Godiva

Author: Eliza Redgold

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Little bit Lifetime Movie

Grade: A

All I know about Lady Godiva is that she rode naked through her town once and hundreds of years later they named one of my favorite stores in the world after her.

Turns out there isn’t that much to know about her. Even the ride itself may not have happened. Eliza Redgold weaves a story that I have to admit bound me up quite nicely. More so than I thought it would. I read this in a little over a day thinking all the while that someone should make a movie out of it.

Godiva is the only heir to Coventry like most of England at the time threatened by the Danes. Godiva is smart, brave and incredibly loyal to her people who are in turn incredibly loyal to her. She’s also a warrior. She marries Lord Leofric, basically a stranger to her at the time, in order to make an alliance that will help her protect her people. In doing so she royally pisses off Edmund a Knight of her father’s who she’s been friends with since childhood.

Leofric and Godiva start out rocky in a lot of ways and a lot like Jaime and Claire from Outlander in others. In other words they may not know each other but they learn pretty fast they like sleeping with each other. 🙂 What comes after that is, to be honest, not very surprising. The ride is based upon Leofric breaking a promise to raise the taxes on her people. The betrayal I saw coming from the beginning so I’m not sure it’s going to surprise anyone.

With no real surprises why did I like this one so much? Redgold does a wonderful job with Lady Godiva herself.  She’s likable and despite the time period a very relatable heroine without feeling too out of place. I wanted her to prevail. I wanted her and Leofric to work out. Basically I was rooting for this girl to survive and win despite everything that was against her. I enjoyed the fact to that her gender doesn’t get in her way. She fights with the men when Coventry is at risk. She agrees to the marriage but demands her rights from the beginning. She was a first class heroine in her own right and that helps sell the strength of the romance with Leofric and his character as well.

Recommend: Yes. A well-written lively heroine and a good romance made me fall for the type of story that I usually don’t enjoy this much. I really hope they do make it a movie.