Sep 20, 2012

Reader Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous BeautyMonstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Available: Now!
Publisher: Macmillan Audio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher, Synopsis: 

Monstrous mermaids, ghosts, and a century-old curse feature in this beautifully crafted, compulsively readable thriller.
In 1872, mermaid Syrenka falls in love with a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
One hundred thirty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger and feels drawn to him in a way she can’t explain or resist. For generations, love and death have been inextricably linked for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? Hester’s investigation of her family’s strange, sad history leads her to the graveyard, the crypt, and the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

Gorelenore Review:

Background: In the 1800’s in Plymouth, Syrenka is in love with Ezra; the only problem is that Ezra is human and she is not. Current day, Hester is just a teen with a horrible family problem, after having children, all of the mothers die. Hester has sworn off love and children, until one day she meets Ezra and begins to think that there is a chance for her to have everything she dreams of.

Review: Two intertwining stories are told in this wonderful, creepy, and dark take about sea creatures, magic, and ghosts. With alternating point of views we learn about Syrenka and Ezra and about Hester and her modern life. I received this via audio book from Macmillan and was at first a little put off by the audio reader; but as the story progressed, the strength in her voice added to the strength of the female characters and how they interacted throughout the book.
Syrenka and Ezra’s story is full of ups and downs, first I hated her and then I felt for her. Their story is set in the 1800’s in Plymouth and how they came to be together. Alternating is Hester’s tale, a normal history-buff teenager, working/ living in historic Plymouth, trying not to fall in love. Syrenka’s and Hester’s tales start to mold together and the darkness begins with a good portion of the story taking place in a cemetery and an old church. Later, there is drama, murder, trickery, and myth all rolled into one amazing story. Fama did a wonderful job recreating the time periods and the layout of Plymouth, as well as researching extensively to do so. Very well written, in vernacular at times, and overall a wonderful read/ listen. Highly recommended.

Audiobook received from Macmillan Audio in Exchange for an honest review.

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