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

4.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Length: 312 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 1551 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Parlez-Moi Press (August 30, 2007)
  • Publication Date: August 30, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0012AARA0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,916 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clare Higgins on 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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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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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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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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By GlendaG on September 20, 2011
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. Now that I've moved elsewhere, I'm fascinated by the rich history and culture of the area.

I believe I downloaded this book onto my Kindle some time ago. It was on sale and the mermaids called to me. Like my book shelves, titles also sit in the virtual world of my Kindle. A hard habit to break. The other night I was looking for something to read and for the first time noticed the subtitle. The Old Mermaid's Tale A Romance of the Great Lakes. That's all it took. I searched no further and began to read.

Clair has grown up on a farm in Ohio. She longs for something more from life. When she heads to a small private college on the shores of Lake Erie, her world suddenly expands beyond anything she has ever known. I liked Clair. She had a good solid head on her shoulders that became clouded by love as any college girl would. She makes friends and finds lovers in the less desirable neighborhoods along the shores of the lake. Clair loves the stories they can tell of life and loss at the hands of the powerful water comparing them to the yarns she heard as a child that the farmers spin.

The author did a wonderful job of setting the scenery in this novel. The characters were rich and believable. I wanted to know them. The only thing that didn't resonate with me was the relationship between Clair and Baptiste, the older French musician she cherished as her soul mate. Their story was the bulk of the novel. Their lovemaking over powered their relationship for me as a reader.
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