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The Old Mermaid's Tale: A Novel of the Great Lakes [Kindle Edition]

Kathleen Valentine
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $17.00
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Book Description

(Novel - 132k words. Love Story, Coming-of-Age, Historical - Paperback or eBook) In 1960 when Clair Wagner's friends are showing off their new bikinis at the local swimming hole and planning weddings, Clair is plotting her escape from her rural farm-community life. She is headed for college on the shores of Lake Erie with plans for the future and dreams of a "handsome sailor with the constellations of the Northern Seas in his eyes". 
          Into her life comes Pio, a beautiful Italian fisherman, who longs for a life of adventure on the Great Lakes under the aurora borealis. Clair soon meets Gary, the dashing son of a wealthy shipping magnate, who introduces her to Canal Street on the waterfront where she encounters The Old Mermaid Inn, a tavern that, as Gary tells her, "deserves its reputation".
          But The Old Mermaid Inn, with its giant painting of a seductive mermaid, is home to some fascinating people including Tessie, the owner and original mermaid, and the intriguing Baptiste, a Breton mariner injured in a shipwreck, who earns his living as a musician.
          With Pio, Clair discovers passion, with Gary she gains entry into the world of the commercial waterfront, and with Baptiste she discovers all-consuming love. But as her relationship with Baptiste grows she discovers he is far more complex and mysterious than she could imagine. He has secrets and his secrets will alter her life forever.
           Set against the backdrop of Great Lakes shipping legends and lore, The Old Mermaid's Tale is in part a coming-of-age story, in part a history of a transformative time in America, and throughout a love story of grand proportions that pays homage to the importance of story-telling in our lives. (Also available in Boxed Set with Depraved Heart and Each Angel Burns for Kindle only.)

"The soul, they say, is divine and the flesh is iniquity. But I am a musician and I ask this - without the wood and the strings of the violin, where would the sonata find form?" - from the Prologue


Editorial Reviews

Review

If we are fortunate, sometimes a novel interrupts our lives with its grandeur, superlative writing, its memorable, heroic characters. THE OLD MERMAID'S TALE is such a book. Instantly intriguing, wildly imaginative and informative, it swept me into the Great Lakes region, bodies of water I had always thought of as mysterious, even mythical.  At the end I bowed my head in wonder at what Valentine has accomplished, here is an old-fashioned story that transports us and educates us as epic novels do, a story that reminds us of the power of unconditional love.
Kiana Davenport, Shark Dialogues


Bravo! This is good, very good. These characters are people who will always live inside of me. I lingered near the end of the book, not wanting it to end. I love the way the story plays with fantasy and reality. Myth and the real. There is wonder and awe and the all-compellingness of love. Here's to The Old Mermaid's Tale, may it enliven the hearts and minds of many, many reader, for many, many years to come . . . -- Lawrence Jordan, Lawrence Jordan Literary Agency

I gobbled up this novel. It is enticing in the style of Fielding. The details are fresh and ring true. Lavish and exuberant, it keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. -- Ingeborg Lauterstein, author of Vienna Girl and The Water Castle

From the Publisher

Before the Edmund Fitzgerald there was the Carl D. Bradley, the Willaim B. Davok, the Betty Hedger, the American Sailor and many more...

In 1959 the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to international commerce creating a problem for seaport towns bordering the Great Lakes. Within the first year over a thousand barges and tankers from all over the world arrived at these seaports to unload, re-outfit and reload. While waiting, the crew, that had been at sea for weeks, went ashore looking for fun and companionship. Restaurants, bars, pool halls, rooming houses, tattoo parlors, and rumors of other - less savory - forms of entertainment sprang up in the blocks surrounding the commercial docks. Those parts of town acquired a deservedly terrible reputation.

When Clair Wagner begins college in Port Presque Isle she dreams of meeting a "handsome sailor with the constellations of the Northern Seas in his eyes". Into her life comes Pio, a beautiful Italian fisherman, who dreams of life on the big lakes under the aurora borealis. She meets Gary, the dashing son of a wealthy shipping magnate, who introduces her to Canal Street where she encounters The Old Mermaid Inn, a tavern that, as Gary tells her, "deserves its reputation".

But The Old Mermaid Inn, with its giant painting of a seductive mermaid, is home to some fascinating people including Tessie, the owner and original mermaid, and the intriguing Baptiste, a Breton mariner injured in a shipwreck, who earns his living as a musician.

With Pio, Clair discovers passion, with Gary she gains entry into the world of the commercial waterfront, and with Baptiste she discovers all-consuming love. But as her relationship with Baptiste grows she discovers he is far more complex and mysterious than she could imagine. He has secrets and his secrets will alter her life forever.


Product Details

  • File Size: 714 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Parlez-Moi Press (August 30, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0012AARA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,058 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rich Reading Experience August 5, 2007
Format:Paperback
The Old Mermaid's Tale is an engrossing, captivating, moving story of growth, sorrow, joy, love, loss and second chances. I could not put it down. The descriptions are rich and vivid, from the full busyness of daily life to the quiet yet spellbinding moments when Clair is contemplating nature. Clair's progress from girl to woman is told with nuance, depth and compassion. Baptiste is the most hypnotic, sexy, unforgettable male character I've seen in a long time. His mystery and dark charisma draw you in, and yet up close, you discover his all-too-human, aching vulnerability. All the characters are fully alive and they really held my interest. I cared about all of them and what happened to them. A wonderful read that I strongly recommend.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars engaging, moving, richly entertaining June 25, 2007
By Ray
Format:Paperback
Settings described so well you can see, smell, and taste, characters so real you already know them, every day lives woven into a larger story of a way of life now gone, and so much fun to read you can hardly put it down. The love story around which everything else hangs is moving and makes you wish you could love like that. This book takes you into a world you wish you could visit, just to see the place and meet the characters.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE THIS BOOK ON YOUR VACATION June 27, 2007
Format:Paperback
The Old Mermaid's Tale has just the right ingredients for a great summer read -- situations you can identify with, romance as sweet as the scent of honeysuckle that reminds you of your own tender coming of age (as it was or you wished it had been) and a distinct sense of place that's unfamiliar and fascinating. The story concerns Clair, a blossoming young woman setting off for college equipped with a thirst for adventure and the dream of a consuming love affair. She finds both along the rough, bustling Lake Erie waterfront of the early sixties. The characters are larger than life, the love scenes are luscious and the ending is happy in an unpredictable, real-life way. I read Mermaid's Tale lying in the hot sun at the beach and became so engrossed I kept forgetting to turn over.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read September 20, 2011
By GlendaG
Format:Kindle Edition
The Old Mermaid's Tale is the story of Clair Wagner and the men she loves: Pio, a handsome young fisherman, Gary, who seems perfect but has issues he has to work out, and Baptiste, the mysterious Breton seafarer and musician she is fascinated by.
The story is set in a waterfront town on Lake Erie and is full of folklore, sea legends, and ghost stories. I loved the characters, especially Clair and and even though I didn't agree with all she did, I so wanted her to find lasting love. The love story between Clair and Baptiste was beautifully written and made me remember being young and in love. The ending was a surprise, but I like the possibilities it opens up. Although this is a romance,(not a genre I read often) the small seatown setting and the stories of men lost at sea make this much more. A quick and enjoyable read. 3.5 stars
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Grown Woman's Womens Lit Book June 6, 2011
Format:Paperback
I have to be honest with the reader of this review. I had received this book as part of a package deal with the author's other book, Each Angel Burns, which I had been dying to read...and def. lived up to its' promise. I went into this book with a bit more trepidation as the description of the book didn't tickle my fancy in the least and I was concerned that I would be giving it a poor review.

Every so often, I am shocked about my reactions to a book. This book was a wonderful example of a MATURE, coming of age book that was written with a poignancy that with the age of the main character didn't come off as shallow, stupid or superficial and best yet, I didn't feel like I had dropped a couple of IQ points with often sticky, sweet, cutsey literature that women are forced to endure in reading books about women's issues, particularly with the age of the main character (late teens-early twenties)

This is def. an author I will be seeking out. Her writing has def. hit me with an enjoyment of drinking a fine glass of wine.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and lyrical November 9, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was totally captivated by Clair Wagner, the storyteller of Valentine's lyrical novel, The Old Mermaid's Tale.

The story is set in a 1960's Lake Erie town. It's Clair's coming-of-age tale mixed with two love stories: Clair and Baptiste sandwiched between Clair and Pio.

Valentine sprinkles her book with delicious folklore tidbits: Baptiste's Breton sea-lore, Lake Erie seamen tales, and tales and folk music from the early sixties. The setting evokes memories of the unique life of each town before chain stores and hotels took over.

The characters are full-bodied. Sal, Baptiste, Tessie, Pio: they all deserve their own books. Valentine teased me with glimpses of their lives outside of the confines of this tale, and she left me with a longing to know more.

I was afraid that this would be too much of a "girly" book for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was sorry when I finished it. I'm looking forward to more tales from Valentine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what a romance should be April 7, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is so beautiful that I'm a little bit speechless.

The language soars. It is rich and melodic and evocative. There are very strong characters and I really related to Clair and her romantic wanderlust. I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes because everything glowed with magic.

The title and the cover threw me off a bit. I was expecting it to take place in the 1700s and be far removed from reality. Actually it takes place in the 1960s and calls forth startling detail of the area as well as the emotions of the characters. I found it to be realistic, believable, but with a dash of romanticism sharpening the whole beautiful world.

This is the best book I've read in recent memory. I highly recommend it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... English language is very floral---every chapter makes you feel...
Her use of the English language is very floral---every chapter makes you feel like you are in the scene!!! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Katherine Muth
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Book
It is hard to explain why this book impacted me so much that, once I finished it, I turned it right over and read it through again. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Washington Patty
5.0 out of 5 stars romantic gritty
Really enjoyed this book very interesting look back at a young girls first experiences with love and independence in the 60's
Published 8 months ago by Kathleen Owens
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a simple love story.
Yes, it was a love story, and also a "coming of age" story, but it was so much more. The author is a gifted storyteller and the locations and characters came to life on the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by deborah
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written Book
I have had this book on my Kindle for quite awhile and have been meaning to read it. I am so glad I did. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
I LOVED this book. What a great story and one that I am still thinking about. I think it will stick in my mind for a long time to come. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Barb
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story
This is my first book by Kathleen Valentine. This book told a wonderful story. I loved each and every character. I plan on reading more by this author.
Published 18 months ago by Sue
3.0 out of 5 stars The call of the mermaid
I'm a nut about all things about Cleveland, the State of Ohio and the Great Lakes. Don't ask me why. I grew up in Cleveland and could have cared less while I lived there. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Linda C. Wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved, Loved, Loved this book!
I do believe this is one of my favorite books ever. I love this author and have read all of her books.
I ordered The Old Mermaids Tale on my Kindle and have read it twice. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Avid Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterfully written
Kathleen Valentine has an amazing gift as an author. She is able to transport you as the reader to your destination in this book & take you on a journey of lives connected by the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by UPGirlcd
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More About the Author

Kathleen Valentine is the award-winning author of four novels, many novellas & short stories, books of knitting patterns, & a cookbook/memoir about growing up Pennsylvania Dutch. She has been listed as an Amazon Top Selling Author in Horror and in Mystery/Suspense. As a writer her primary interest is delving into the psychology of her characters. Her stories are sometimes mysterious, sometimes funny, usually romantic, and frequently frightening. Her characters range from lost children and grumpy old folks, to mysterious men and women who are not to be trifled with.

She lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America's oldest seaport.

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