Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book #47: The Mermaid Chair

Nothing beats the feeling of a good read. Well almost nothing. A feeling that would rival it is finding out that the author of said good read, has written another one (or two!) and you didn't even know about it!

It was how I came to add The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd to my bookshelf. Years ago I had utterly devoured and thoroughly enjoyed - yes, the book was as sweet as honey itself - The Secret Life of Bees. In fact, it has been so long ago that I may just have to put it on the TBre-read pile. But I hadn't realised Kidd had another book to her name, and after seeing it on a fellow book blogger's site - thank you Lucy at The Secret Life of Books (how apt is the name of her blog!) - it immediately went to the top of the pile.

The Mermaid Chair is very different to The Secret Life of Bees. It's the story of Jessie Sullivan, a mother, wife, daughter, friend and woman who is desperately seeking that extra 'something'. And, as the opening line of the story reveals, she finds it in a rather unusual place:

"In the middle of my marriage, when I was above all Hugh's wife and Dee's mother, one of those unambiguous women with no desire to disturb the universe, I fell in love with a Benedictine monk."
p1, Prologue, The Mermaid Chair

Jessie finds her Benedictine monk on Egret Island, the place she grew up in and the place she returns to in order to look after her increasingly frail - and slightly disturbed - mother. But it's also here that she returns to memories of her childhood and discovers the truth about an event that shaped much of her younger years.

It's an easy read, but not one I'd place high on my list of books I've most enjoyed. I got a little frustrated with what I deemed to be the selfish acts of Jessie, but then perhaps in a voyage of self-discovery one needs to put themselves first. I just didn't enjoy the fact that in doing so she was hurting loved ones around her.

This is the only catch with finding another book written by an author who's work you've already enjoyed. Can they live up to expectations? Produce another novel that captures you in the same way their previous one did?

Which authors have done that for you?

1 comment:

  1. I totally adored "The Secret Life of Bees" and also have "The Mermaid Chair" on my bookshelf collecting dust. After reading this review, it just might have to stay there a little longer. ;)