Thursday 28 December 2017

When the Mermaid Sings by Helen Hollick

note from Helen: Yes, I know this is my book, but I had a space to fill and I thought the only way to show no cronyism favouritism was to put up one of my own books - I hope it is acceptable to #DDRevs visitors to post this genuine review here.

This novella is not eligible for cover or book of the month.

Amazon UK £0.99

nautical / fantasy / novella
18th Century

This is where the story begins. A young Jesamiah has been trapped on his family's plantation in Virginia, at the mercy of his cruel older half-brother Philippe, and now is orphaned. His somewhat haphazard father has followed his beloved Spanish mother to the grave and Jesamiah has no one to turn to. Having burned bridges in return for a burned ship, Jesamiah discovers that there are people in Virginia and further afield willing to help him. He leaves his home and finds himself following in his father's wake and goes to sea.

There is just one thing wrong with this story - it is not long enough. I wanted to keep reading and following Jesamiah's adventures on the high seas, sailing around the Caribbean and the Sargasso Sea. There is still so much to tell between the ending of this and the start of the first in this saga, Sea Witch

As it is, this novella is deeply satisfying for all lovers of Jesamiah Acorne. We learn so much about how he began the journey that takes him to the man he is as we know him from the Sea Witch books, the trials he has faced and the talents he begins to demonstrate, and how others view the growing boy. 

There is also a lot of background squeezed into this volume about pirates, real ones and fictional, about how pirate ships operated, how the Royal Navy viewed them and the fine line between legitimate privateers and the fully fledged pirate ship. Jesamiah may be a fictional character, but he is firmly rooted in fact.

A fantastic little book that delivers in spades. More please!

© Nicky Galliers

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  1. I really enjoyed this as well. It's the first Jesamiah Acorne book I have read - I will definitely be reading the rest! �� (I loved A Hollow Crown and Harold the King, by the way).

  2. Thank you Chris. I was a little dubious about 'Mermaid' as it gives away a few of Jesamiah's traits (his blue ribbons for instance) but so many people wanted to know what happened _before_ 'Sea Witch' (Voyage One) and had asked questions about 'Why did...?' that, well, 'Mermaid' just had to be written. (And actually, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jesamiah as a young lad!) I do hope you like the other Voyages as much. (And thank you re 'Hollow Crown' and 'Harold'!)

  3. Good to see. Your books here, too, Helen.

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  5. This deserves a place here Helen! It was the first Jesamiah book I read, but definitely not the last! Loved it. (sorry had a typo in the previous post and have no idea how to correct it!).


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