Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull

Song of the sea maid

I am very grateful to Emma Daley at Hodder for providing an advanced reader copy of ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ which is released on 18th June 2015.

Living in the middle of the 18th century, foundling Dawnay Price confounds conventional expectations of women by being intelligent, strong willed and a natural philosopher. ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ charts her rise from street urchin to a respectable woman challenging the beliefs of the time.

I had absolutely no expectations of this novel except that I thought the cover was beautiful and enticing. It took me about three sentences to realise the prose has exactly those same qualities. This is a beautifully written book.

I found the experience of reading ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ more like listening to the entrancing voice of Dawnay weaving a narrative through conversation. I loved the authenticity of language throughout. The technique of using the continuous present tense and the first person means that there is an intimacy with Dawnay as a person and a vibrancy to following her experiences. I found real pace and exhilaration as I read. Each chapter seems to end with an enticement to the reader to carry on and it was difficult to tear myself away.

Rebecca Mascull provides a feast for the senses in ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ and her descriptions are exquisite. Gorgeously plotted, the novel is incredibly well researched and I have learnt a great deal from reading it, although I never found the information stuffy; merely erudite and literary. It felt as if I was reading a work by a modern and accessible Dickens.

‘Song of the Sea Maid’ is a highly intelligent novel – a feminist text, a scientific text, a philosophical text, a love story and an historical novel. However, above all else it is a fabulous blend of all these genres into a wonderful and hugely satisfying read. ‘Song of the Sea Maid’ enriches the reader’s life.

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