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Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox

Elijah's Mermaid

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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

May 2013 Book of the Month.

A panoply of characters bring Victorian London’s polarised society vividly to life. The lives of two orphans brought up by their grandfather and a baby found in the Thames become dangerously bound together. This is the gloriously gothic follow up to The Somnambulist.

Click here to read a Q&A with Essie Fox about this book.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Elijah's Mermaid a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'Elijah's Mermaid is a book that is totally different...What a marvellous eye-opener and a pure piece of escapism!' - Sallyann Spittle. Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Essie Fox you might also like to read books by Anthony Quinn, Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox

Saved from the Thames one foggy London night, Pearl grows up at the House of Mermaids - a brothel that becomes the closest thing to home. But despite being cosseted and spoiled by the Madame, come her 14th year, Pearl is to be sold to the highest bidder. Orphaned twins Lily and Elijah are on a rare trip to London when they meet the ethereal Pearl. And the repercussions of this chance encounter will bind all their fates together, in a dark and dangerous way. Bewitching, gothic and sensual, this is a tale of love and betrayal in a world where nothing is quite as it seems.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Elijah's Mermaid. You can read their reviews below.

Sallyann Spittle - 'Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox is a book that is totally different...It weaves the story through Victorian London's underworld with wonderfully evocative characters and plots...What a marvellous eye-opener and a pure piece of escapism!' Click here to read the full review.

Donna Smith - 'Once again Essie Fox has written, in my view, a masterpiece. This book has all the elements essential to a great read. It has mystery and intrigue, romance, history, twists, turns...I can’t wait for the next Essie instalment!!' Click here to view the full review.

Amanda Donovan - Essie Fox’s descriptive writing takes the reader into the heart of Victorian London...This book is a must read for all Gothic fiction fans.' Click here to read the full review.

Shelley Fallows - 'What a wonderful book! Full of atmosphere, and intrigue...Her prose is wonderfully descriptive, sometimes dark and yet beautifully evocative; painting her story expertly to keep us eagerly reading.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Martin - 'This author has a rare talent. Her settings are pure Victorian Gothic with wonderful characters who could be straight out of Dickens. A truly well-researched subject with so many twists and turns I found myself rushing to see how it would turn out - but not wanting it to end!' Click here to read the full review.

Barbara Gaskell - 'Like her earlier book Elijah’s Mermaid explores the contrast between the comfortable middle class Victorian family and the darker undercurrents of Victorian society – the poverty and the brothels.' Click here to read the full review.

Kathy Howell - 'The story is about twins Elijah and Lilly and the connection between them and Pearl, the mermaid of the title...This book is not an easy read because it is very atmospheric and quite unsettling.' Click here to read the full review.

Rebecca Jayne Barrett - 'Elijah’s Mermaid told of a story-world I easily fell into and as I read more, it was obvious that I wasn’t putting the book down until I had finished. Overall, it was fascinating, with gripping characters and twists and turns that kept me wanting to read more and more. A true five star read.' Click here to read the full review.

Lindsay Healy - 'Essie Fox has used her knowledge and research combined with imagination and an evident keen passion for this period to vividly depict varied aspects of Victorian life from the beautiful to the sordid and unusual, leading the reader on an intriguing journey involving love, betrayal, art and literature.' Click here to read the full review.

Joan Hill - 'Meticulously researched locations, ways of life and general Victoriana bring to life the huge divide between the rich and the poor, as does the vivid contrast between light and darkness within the story...This is a novel full of secrets, twists and turns that will keep you guessing right to the very end.' Click here to read the full review.

About the Author

Essie Fox

Before taking up writing Essie Fox worked as an illustrator – designing greetings cards and wrap, and decorative ceramics. She is the creator of The Virtual Victorian a wonderful guide through the Victorian world. Her debut novel The Somnambulist was selected as a Channel 4 Book Club choice in January 2012 and was shortlisted in the New Writer of the Year category of the 2012 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS. Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London.

Click here to read a Q&A with Essie Fox about Elijah's Mermaid.

Author photo © Graham Keuteniu

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Book Info

Publication date

9th May 2013


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Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) an imprint of Orion Publishing Co


416 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Historical Fiction
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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