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  • Location: London, Kingsland, Margate

Elijah’s Mermaid

Elijah’s Mermaid

Why a Booktrail?

Late 1800s: A mermaid child found in the Thames is to lead a life no one could have foreseen…

  • ISBN: 978-1409123354
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery

What you need to know before your trail

Pearl was found as a baby floating in the Thames one foggy night. Since then, she has been brought up in a brothel known as the House of Mermaids. Cosseted and pampered there, it is only as she approaches her 14th birthday that Pearl realises she is to be sold to the highest bidder.

Lily and Elijah are orphaned twins and have been raised by their grandfather Augustus Lamb in a lovely secluded country house. When the twins go to London, they happen to meet Pearl and soon their fates will be intwined in dangerous ways with unforeseeable consequences.

Travel Guide


There are two worlds featured in this novel – one, respectable, the world of Victorian art and literature, and the second  – the shadowy demi-monde of brothels, asylums and freak show tents – a world in which nothing and no-one is quite what they seem to be.

‘A Mermaid’ the inspiration for the writing of Elijah’s Mermaid and imagined as being one of the artist, Osborne Black’s, famous paintings of Pearl…in reality painted by J W Waterhouse.

This is a gothic world where the underbelly of London is fully exposed. Where a young fondling because she is has webbed feet is deemed to be a freak of nature and is treated as such. In the House of Mermaids which should be a nice place given the name, is really a brothel and a place of vice where Pearl has to fight to survive. Where her life and her body is not her own. This is a London where city streets and the river Thames is part of a dark and socially corrupt world. With the dark shadows and the dank streets, the blackness of Victorian London is evoked in every detail. This a world where the masters walk down the streets only yards away from the cobbled alleyways where the poor masses hobble and sneak in and out of the shadowy world in which they live.

Herefordshire and Margate

This is where the village of Kingsland in Herefordshire really comes into its own and starts to reveal the secrets and mysteries of its past. This is where Lily poses for a photograph and thinks about the story of Mortimer Cross which was a real life event during the time of the War of the Roses.This is also the setting for a story where the daughter of the rector was pregnant and the father unknown. The child was said to be cast out and left in the grounds to die – you can still hear it cry on a dark night apparently. The flora and fauna around this area is inspiring for what the men and artists in the novel are interested in.

Then we’re off to Kent for a visit to the Shell Grotto which really has to be seen to be believed. This ‘underground cave of shells’ is where Pearl poses for the artist Osborne Black and is a a magical place which forms an important role in her life. The history of the grotto itself is something that Pearl would have found the most amazing story of all.

Streetview Maps

1) London - Cheyne Walk
5) Kingsland and the Rectory

Booktrailer Review

Susan @thebooktrailer

What a novel! This was apparently inspired by Charles Kingsley’s ‘The Water Babies’  and if not you can definately tell that water means a lot here and has more significance that you first think. Essie Fox has so many words and ways to describe and evoke this fascinating world. A world so dark and dank that I swear I could smell the Thames from the pages as I read.

The way this novel is written is brilliant too – first person narrative. diary entries and other articles from newspapers and the like make for one very authentic search in Victorian times. Essie lives and breathes this world and you can tell. She recreates each and every sight, sound and smell with her words and it’s like having  a film in your head as you read. I loved the whole concept of the books – the water the mermaid and the Victorian underbelly and like the Somnambulist, deserves a nice place on my bookshelf.

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter: @essiefox

Blog: virtualvictorian

Web: essiefox.com

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