The Mermaid Collector
The Mermaid Festival draws people from all directions to Cradle Harbor, Maine every August. They dash into the ocean and shop for souvenirs, especially the town’s signature wind chimes, which are meant to drown out mermaids’ siren songs. After all, four men, including the lighthouse keeper had vanished in 1888. It is said that they followed their fishy lovers under the sea. Shortly afterward, the anguished keeper’s wife, Lydia, plunged to her death from the lighthouse.
Over a century later, the mermaid legend has special meaning for Tess Patterson. When Tess was a child her own mother had walked into the ocean, never to return. Now the sculptor is learning to accept the insular little town, and vice versa. Tess finds a kindred spirit in Tom Grace. He and his charming, impulsive younger brother Dean were willed the lighthouse keeper’s house – by the man who had killed their parents and ended Dean’s Olympic hopes in an auto accident. Now Tom must discover if CradleHarbor can become the brothers’ home – while taming Dean’s self-destructive ways.
Erika Marks deftly twines the stories of Tess and Tom, and of the doomed Lydia and her husband Linus in The Mermaid Collector. Both couples must deal with loss and conflicted feelings, and the difficulty of life on the isolated and beautiful Maine coast. I really enjoyed this beautifully-told tale with its flawed, complex cast, and heartily recommend that you try The Mermaid Collector.