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. It’s 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.
I found this novel an absolutely enchanting and unusual read. It exudes a feeling of lustful decadence and richness for the time setting and characters involved, and uses the vocab and language of the late 1700’s in a wonderfully enjoyable but manageable way.
Set in 1785/6 the historical details are well researched. I particularly liked the attention to detail given to the ladies fashion and clothes of the time. Not just how they looked but how uncomfortable they would have been to wear, how much space they took up when sitting and moving around and also how risqué it was to wear fewer garments.
The characters were well written and likeable. I particularly liked Suzie who came across to me as having a modern edge to her in contrast to the other characters. The book for me was a period love story between Mr Hancock and Angelica, 2 outwardly opposite characters that come together and slowly bring out the better person in each of them.
Gorgeous inside and out this book was a lovely read and a keeper for the bookshelf.