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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock - Imogen Hermes Gowar

Title: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock

Author:  Imogen Hermes Gowar

ISBN:  9781911215721

Weight:  990g

Signed first edition, first printing



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The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This voyage is special.  It will change everything…

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.  Its 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, on which they will learn that priceless things come at the greatest cost.

Where will their ambitions lead?  And will they be able to escape the destructive power mermaids are said to possess?

In this spell-binding story of curiosity and obsession, Imogen Hermes Gowar has created an unforgettable jewel of a novel, filled to the brim with intelligence, heart and wit.

Peer & Press Reviews

Roll up, roll up, a true wonder is on display: a mermaid magicked out of words.  The author of this debut set in Georgian London gulled me, by the zest of her writing and sustained authorial slight of hand, into forgetting for a second that they do not exist…  Imogen Hermes Gowar delights in the feminine fakery of mermaids, but as a writer she is the real deal.

Hermione Eyre, author of Viper Wine

A cracking historical novel – with a twinge of the surreal – about passion and obsession, dreams and reality…  The story is by turns intriguing, touching, funny, sad and heartwarming.  It will make you laugh and it may make you cry.  Mostly, though, the cast of endlessly engaging characters will keep you turning the pages until you get to the wholly satisfying ending…  The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is superb.


Exquisitely written, flawlessly imagined, The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock’s siren song – of courtesans and merchants, shipwrecks and wonders, love and grief, ambition and passion – will echo like the ocean in a seashell long after the last page is turned.

Katy Darby, author of The Whores’ Asylum

Bibliographic Info

Attribute Details
Title: The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock
Author: [an Observer ‘New Face of Fiction 2018’]
Book Features
Edition / printing: First edition, first printing
Overall condition: Fine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
Signed: On the title page
Awards and Media
Awards and prizes:

Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 – longlist

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018 – shortlist

Book Stats
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Imprint: Harvill Secker
Publication date:
Printed by: Clays Ltd, Bungay
ISBN 13: 9781911215721
ISBN 10: 1911215728
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 484
Size (h x w x d): 242 x 166 x 47mm
Weight: 1.089kg [heavy book]
Image and Design Credits
Author photograph: Ollie Grove
Jacket illus. / design: Suzanne Dean (incorporating eighteenth-century textile and pattern details © Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

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