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The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: I can't wait to dive in!

Hurry up Harper Collins will you? I’m dying to read The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower, published in January in the UK and already one of the UK’s hottest new fiction books of the year.  The book is on the list for The Women's Prize for Fiction—said to be the UK’s most prestigious prize for fiction written by a woman—as well as the Desmond Elliot Prize, called the UK’s most prestigious prize for first time novelists. Harper Collins is publishing in the US sometime this year.

I’m especially eager to read this book, not just because of its prestigious awards, not just because it sounds fantastic but because—wait for it—the film and television rights for the historical fantasy have already been nabbed up. And by a quality entity: Colin Callendar and his British production company Playground Entertainment, the company behind the exquisite Howard's End and Wolf Hall, which starred Mark Rylance and The Crown’s Claire Foy, and which we watched with slavish fascination. The book is 496 pages—I LOVE a nice long read—so a television series ala Wolf Hall sounds more likely than having to fit the novel into the constrains of a film.

I’m hoping some of our British friends will have read the book, which while it’s set in 1785 is said to be all about sexual politics and power games which resonate today.

About the book


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.

Imogen Hermes Gowar: The author of The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock is said to have done intensive research into 18th century courtesans

Callendar notes that Playground is ‘‘very excited to bring to the screen Imogen’s remarkable debut novel. We are honoured that she has entrusted us with her gloriously enthralling original story.”

Melissa Gallant, creative director at Playground UK, adds, “We instantly fell in love with Imogen’s extraordinary and spellbinding novel. It is such a vibrant and moving love story full of originality and purpose.”

The author Hermes Gowar previously studied archaeology, anthropology and art history and and it sounds like she brings that academic background to her work, enriching her novels in the same way that Deborah Harkness does with A Discovery of Witches. Gowar won the Malcolm Bradbury Memorial Scholarship to study for an MA in Creative Writing at UK college UEA.

Source: Deadline