Author: Erika Swyler
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Number of Pages: 352
How I Got It: NetGalley
I came across this book at auction as part of a larger lot I purchased on speculation. The damage renders it useless to me, but a name inside it led me to believe it might be of interest to you or your family.... Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off to join the circus six years ago. One June day, an old book arrives on Simon's doorstep. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things-including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of "mermaids" in Simon's family have drowned-always on July 24, which is only weeks away. As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon's family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he stop it in time to save Enola? The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler's gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic.
Let's begin with the cover....Books! I know the old adage about not judging books by their cover but I do. The stack of books caught my eye and made me read the description, which made me request this release...which made me fall in love. THE BOOK OF SPECULATION is THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS with a dash of THE STORIED LIFE OF A.J. FIKRY. Main character Simon loves his sister, his neighbor, his job, and his family's crumbling house...but he's losing them all. As he researches his family's history in hopes of saving his sister, readers are taken on a genealogical treasure hunt into a second narrative. Amos "The Wild Boy" falls in love with Evangeline, much to the delight of his traveling circus master and to the dismay of his fortune telling mentor. Filled with circus acts, mermaids, and tarot cards, THE BOOK OF SPECULATION is fast-paced, layered, and full of magic. The fact that this is author Erika Swyler's debut is reason to celebrate since it means we can expect more wonderful adventures to come.
** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review **