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When We Believed in Mermaids: A Novel

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Jane Austen's subtle and witty novel of secrets and suppression, lies and seduction, brilliantly portrays a world where rigid social convention clashes with the impulses of the heart. It tells the story of two very different sisters who find themselves thrown into an unkind world when their father dies. Marianne, wild and impulsive, falls dangerously in love, while Elinor suffers her own private heartbreak but conceals her true feelings, even from those closest to her. In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again. A young woman without prospects at a ball in Gilded Age Newport, Rhode Island is a target for a certain kind of “suitor.”

When We Believed In Mermaids Reading When We Believed In Mermaids

Another distraction is an old house on an overlook that Mari’s husband (another uninteresting character) buys for her as a surprise. The house carries a secret related to a death/murder that happened long ago, one we are told about later in the story. There is also a great deal of time spent describing this house. The whole set-up has nothing to do with the main story. If it were left out, the main story would carry on without impact. Now, if two sisters are to reunite, it can only be by unearthing long-buried secrets and facing a devastating truth that has kept them apart far too long. To regain their relationship, they may have to lose everything. I had always wanted a grand adventure and I’ve always loved reading about epic journeys. When I was a teen, I read an article in National Geographic about walking the Appalachian Trail and thought, I need to do that. I grew up in an outdoorsy family and married a man who loved the outdoors even more. But we never got to an adventure until we were empty nesters. In our late fifties we decided to walk 1400 miles from the cold North Sea to the warm Mediterranean on the legendary long-distance trail the GR5. After finishing our epic journey, I needed to share my love of European walking with others.After arriving in New Zealand, Kit begins her journey with the memories of the past: of days spent on the beach with Josie. Of a lost teenage boy who’d become part of their family. And of a trauma that has haunted Kit and Josie their entire lives. I have to admit I may have a little extra love for this novel because the main characters are from my home state of California, but the story itself is so deeply moving; full of mystery and intrigue, wit and romance, and the simple thrills of catching an early morning wave, it’s impossible not to become completely engrossed in it. I load my board into my Jeep and drive south, not realizing that I’m headed for the cove until I get there. Pulling over into a makeshift space alongside the highway, I park and look down at the water. A few bodies out, not many at dawn. The water is northern Cali cold, fifty-three degrees in early March, but the waves are lined up all the way to the horizon. Perfect.

When We Believed in Mermaids book review - the book blog life When We Believed in Mermaids book review - the book blog life

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the…

O’Neal makes us examine our own youth through a different lens, to observe our parents and siblings as if through a kaleidoscope. One subtle turn transforms angels into demons, and in many ways, that is how the girls experience their lives. It is the subtle differences that ultimately create a chasm between them. Each has a unique story, even if they both grew up on the Pacific, surfing every opportunity they got, with parents who were admired by so many in a world that for most would seem like a golden life. But it wasn’t ever really that. Instead, it was a life plagued by abuse and addiction, one which marred the beauty and the possibilities of what should have been. Love, kindness, and empathy are at the core of this story, and it all stands on an imaginative, unique premise unlike any I’ve read before.

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