The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

A Novel

by Imogen Hermes Gowar

On Sale: 09/11/2018

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

Enlarge Book Cover

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

A Novel

by Imogen Hermes Gowar

On Sale: 09/11/2018

Format:

About the Book

"Imogen Hermes Gowar is a soon-to-be literary star."—Sunday Times (UK)

"Historical fiction at its finest, combining myth and legend with the brutal realities of the past. . . . Comparisons will be drawn to the works of contemporary authors Sarah Waters and Michael Faber . . . but The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock has more in common with the novels of Dickens and Austen."—Irish Times

In 1780s London, a prosperous merchant finds his quiet life upended when he unexpectedly receives a most unusual creature—and meets a most extraordinary woman—in this much-lauded, atmospheric debut that examines our capacity for wonder, obsession, and desire with all the magnetism, originality, and literary magic of The Essex Serpent.

One September evening in 1785, Jonah Hancock hears an urgent knocking on his front door near the docks of London. The captain of one of Jonah’s trading vessels is waiting eagerly on the front step, bearing shocking news. On a voyage to the Far East, he sold the Jonah’s ship for something rare and far more precious: a mermaid. Jonah is stunned—the object the captain presents him is brown and wizened, as small as an infant, with vicious teeth and claws, and a torso that ends in the tail of a fish. It is also dead.

As gossip spreads through the docks, coffee shops, parlors and brothels, all of London is curious to see this marvel in Jonah Hancock’s possession. Thrust from his ordinary existence, somber Jonah finds himself moving from the city’s seedy underbelly to the finest drawing rooms of high society. At an opulent party, he makes the acquaintance of the coquettish Angelica Neal, the most desirable woman he has ever laid eyes on—and a shrewd courtesan of great accomplishment. This meeting sparks a perilous liaison that steers both their lives onto a dangerous new course as they come to realize that priceless things often come at the greatest cost.

Imogen Hermes Gowar, Britain’s most-heralded new literary talent, makes her debut with this spellbinding novel of a merchant, a mermaid, and a madam—an unforgettable confection that explores obsession, wonder, and the deepest desires of the heart with bawdy wit, intrigue, and a touch of magic.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“It feels like 2018 has more than its share of debut novels to get excited about. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar nails the 18th century as convincingly as Francis Spufford in Golden Hill, but with supernatural elements that bring to mind Susannah Clarke and Sarah Perry.” - The Observer (London)

“The bustling, bawdy world of 18th-century London [is] expertly evoked in Imogen Hermes Gowar’s The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. This is undoubtedly the start of a major career for this young writer.” - Vogue

“A terrific debut.” - Press Association

“A story of curiosity and obsession, this is full of rich detail and is a book to get lost in.” - Stylist (UK)

“From the first page of this dazzling debut novel, you are pitched into a sumptuously detailed adventure set in the bustle and swagger of 18th century London. . . . The result is a wonderfully written and richly descriptive novel, its brilliantly drawn characters driven by heady and dangerous desires.” - Sunday Express (London)

“Historical fiction at its finest. . . . Early as it is in the year to be predicting Booker nominations, if debuts feature as prominently as they did on last year’s longlist, this will surely merit consideration.” - Irish Times

“There is much to chew on here, and much to savour, presented with wit and showmanship. . . . Imogen Hermes Gowar delights in the feminine fakery of mermaids, but as a writer she is the real deal.” - The Guardian

“Wonderful . . . completely transporting.” - Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443456692
  • ISBN 10: 1443456691
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 09/11/2018
  • Pages: 496
  • List Price:24.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Historical
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / General

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.

SELECT:

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.