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By Erika Swyler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 6/23/2015
My Rating: 3 Stars
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE BOOK OF SPECULATION, a whimsical debut by Erika Swyler, with hints of mystery, magic, history, supernatural, circus themes, mermaids, and tarot cards, for a dark and bewitching family saga.
Unemployed librarian Simon Watson, discovers his mysterious family lineage traveling circus from more than 200 years ago, when a mysterious book detailing the wild history of a traveling circus arrives at his old house.
A letter is included from a Martin Churchwarry of Churchwarry & Son Booksellers, Iowa; a bookseller specializing in used and antiquarian books. Simon sees his grandmother's name inside the pages. Soon Simon discovers a frightening pattern among his female ancestors, and becomes obsessed into with digging into the past generations of family to unravel the tragedies, lurking behind the magic tricks, and generations of women in the family have committed suicide by drowning on July 24. However, these women are great swimmers and love the water?
Simon’s mother, Paulina, a former carnival mermaid, intentionally drowned herself, leaving Simon to care for his sister, Enola, after their father eventually died from heartache. They grew up in an Eighteenth century house on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. Eventually, Enola ran off to join the circus six years earlier as a tarot card reader and Simon is concerned about her and afraid she may be next. With it being June he has work to do as the July 24 deadline is fast approaching.
With Simon feeling trapped by the past and he is in love with a woman he has known since childhood; however, he is loyal to his family. Within the log of Peabody’s traveling circus up and down the east coast for years, and appears his mother was from a long time of women with abilities (like mermaid). Are they cursed?
Readers also learn of a tragic story two lost souls, Amos and Evangeline (Simon and Enola’s ancestors). Mute Amos who is adopted by Peabody's circus and his love, Evangeline, a young girl with her own secrets who is the first 'mermaid' in Simon's family.
The author flashes back and forth between the two time periods for a tale of family,
love, and loss. For those who enjoy fortune tellers, mermaids, books, and the circus; a certain audience of fantasy and quirky magical lovers may find intriguing.