In 1872, budding naturalist Ezra Doyle follows stories of sea demons to the fishing town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ezra comes face to face with Syrenka, a mermaid who has lived for over 1000 years. Over time, they fall in love, but when they are discovered by a local townsman, their future takes a horrific and drastic turn that will influence generations to come.
Fast forward to present day Hester who is determined to learn why for five generations, women die after giving birth to daughters. This must be a curse but why? She begins to uncover the history of this family curse when she happens upon a young man on the beach one day. She feels instantly drawn to him, intoxicated by his touch. But he never leaves the beach and she soon realizes that no one else can see him. With his help, Hester dives into her family history and uncovers secrets and myths she could never imagine.
Monstrous Beauty is a captivating story that is expertly written, weaving together history, myths, ghosts, and love. The story jumps back and forth from the 19th century with Ezra and Syrenka to modern day Plymouth with Hester, allowing the reader to uncover clues in just the right order and pace and from many points of view. This is no sappy mermaid tale but creepy dark lore that hits the mark. Mermaids and ghosts and curses, oh my!
Netgalley review Publication date 9.4.12