Title: The Mermaid Collector
Author: Erika Marks
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Tess Patterson has lived in the small town of Cradle Harbor, Maine for all her life, but she’s never felt accepted by her fellow residents. So when another outsider, Tom Grace, arrives in town, it’s only natural that the two would connect. Tom was bequeathed the lightkeeper’s house, though it’s a mystery to everyone in town how Tom knew the former occupant. As Tess and Tom learn each other’s secrets, they also begin to heal from the hurts of their pasts.
The Mermaid Collector is a novel told in two different time frames. The main storyline is in the present, but Marks brings the past to life as well. In 1888, legend says that the lightkeeper left his wife Lydia behind in order to be with the love of his life, a mermaid. Marks tells the story from Lydia’s point of view, juxtaposing her tale against Tess and Tom’s. At times, it may seem unclear what this story has to do with the present, but it’s nice that Marks weaves some history in with her main characters.
Tess can be a difficult character at times in The Mermaid Collector. She means well, but she doesn’t always think of the consequences of her actions. She’s been hurt many times in her past, and she’s never fully healed. It’s clear that Tom can help with that, but also that he has his own issues to work out. These two characters are very well-developed. It’s easy to sympathize with both of them, even when things get difficult.
The setting of The Mermaid Collector is really rich and well-described. It’s evident that Marks feels an affinity with this area and she brings it to life for the reader. Her attention to detail is wonderful, and as a result the reader will be able to feel the breezes on their skin and smell the salt in the air. At times, the book seems a bit overloaded with subplots, but it’s the well-written characters and wonderful atmosphere that will keep the reader going.
If you’re looking for a light, easy read, The Mermaid Collector is a good choice. While it does have some issues with subplots and pacing, it’s still a fun read that will satisfy anyone looking for a good women’s fiction novel.