In March, we discussed The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gower. In late 1785, the merchant Jonah Hancock discovers that one of his ships’ captains has sold his ship for a dead mermaid. Although ugly, this curiosity from afar arouses great interest and opens doors to high society for the honest Mr Hancock, where he meets and falls for the courtesan Angelica Neal, with unexpected consequences for both.

The book is extensively researched – the author spent 10 months in the British Library – and provides a great deal of historical period detail. A couple of the group really enjoyed it but most were less keen, mainly due to the subject matter. If fantasy is your thing, this book is very well reviewed and was shortlisted for the 2018 Women’s Fiction Prize.

Our April book is The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne