More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbor, Maine, honored by the town’s Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song.
For thirty-five-year-old Tess Patterson, the legend is more than folklore; it’s proof of life’s magic. A hopeless romantic who is profoundly connected to the ocean in which she lost her mother, Tess ekes out a living as a wood-carver and longs to find a love as mystical as the sea. But when she’s hired to carve the commemorative mermaid sculpture for the coming festival, a chance to win the town’s elusive acceptance might finally be in her grasp.
For Tom Grace, life’s magic was lost at eighteen, when the death of his parents left him to care for his reckless brother, Dean. Now thirty-five and the new owner of Cradle Harbor’s prized lightkeeper’s house, Tom hopes the quiet town will calm Dean’s self-destructive ways. But when Tom discovers Tess working on her sculpture, an unlikely and passionate affair ignites between them that just might be the stuff of legend itself—even as it brings to the surface a long-buried secret that could tear everything apart.
CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED
Marks returns to coastal Maine for her flat second novel (after Little Gale Gumbo). Mermaid lore plays a big part of life in Cradle Harbor in fact, the town's annual Mermaid Festival pays tribute to the legend of four local sailors who were allegedly seduced by mermaids. When woodcarver Tess Patterson is chosen to create a mermaid statue for this year's festival, she sees it as her opportunity to find acceptance among Cradle Harbor's stodgy natives and gain the recognition that her late mother, a free-spirited artist, never managed to earn. But it's the arrival of another outsider who'll help Tess finally feel at home. How a Chicago boy came to inherit the harbor lighthouse keeper's cottage is a source of consternation for the town's historical society, but Tom Grace, whose parents were killed years ago in a car accident, intends to move in and make do. The two outcasts connect instantly, but they must relinquish their tragic pasts in order to move forward together. Marks has built a memorable and richly detailed setting, but her romance lacks conflict and conviction.
Great story with equally good back story
The Mermaid Collector is great modern story with an intriguing back story and even better historical story about the light house. I was fully engaged by the Mermaid Collector's multiple stories.