I decided to read The Mermaid Chair because I am a big fan of romance novels and the title of this book caught my eye. After reading the back cover and hearing from other people who have read it and liked it I decided I wanted to read it too. This book was challenging to read for a few reasons, there were quite a few words I didn’t know the meaning of, there was a religion I wasn’t familiar with, and the island where the book takes place had a lot of history that was hard to remember. Still, this book was a very good read and I would suggest it to anyone wanting a good romance novel.
The most difficult part of reading this book was keeping track of the religion practiced by the main characters. The mother in the story lived right next to a monastery and so religion was a very dominant part of the story line. For one they kept talking about multiple saints. Ones of which I had never heard of but were very important to their religion. They would explain the stories behind the saints once and then bring them up periodically throughout the book and some of the things they would say wouldn’t make sense until I would flip back and read the story belonging with the saint again. Also, throughout the book they would use jargon words like cowl or penance and I had too look up both the words to find that a cowl is a hooded garment worn by monks, and a penance a punishment undergone in token of penitence for sin.
Another difficult part of this book was the vocabulary. The author would often use words I didn’t know and I would have trouble understanding what the characters were saying or thinking. I would often look them up in order to better understand the story line. For example some of the words they used were battening, which means to feed gluttonously or greedily, Pagan, which is a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, and perfunctory, which means performed as a routine duty; hasty and superficial.
The last challenge I had to over come while reading this book had to do with location. The island where this book takes place was located in the Caribbean islands, but in reality the island doesn’t actually exist. There was a lot of things you had to remember about the island in order to understand the book such as the history of the monastery on the island, and the Indian burial ground. There were also legends of mermaids coming up onto the island with out their fins and roaming about. There was also a story about how the mermaid chair came to be.
Even with all the challenges presented by this book it was still a very interesting read. I really enjoyed learning about monasteries and saints and also I’m just happy to have read another romance novel. I would defiantly recommend this book to others who enjoy a good love story and don’t mind learning some new vocabulary along the way. Over all this was a very good book and I never wanted to put it down.