My introduction to the work of Dorothy Koomson was back in 2013, when I’d read her interview in a magazine. Around the same time adaptation to her book, The Ice Cream Girls TV came out. When I saw the miniseries on ITV1, I enjoyed. Later, I learnt it was not true to the book I’ve been a fan of Dorothy’s work from then on. Every year I look forward to her new book with the coming of Spring. Her newest work The Brighton Mermaid is her 14th book. It scared the bejesus out of me! Perhaps because a parent’s biggest fear is losing a child. The Brighton Mermaid a captivating tale that explores adolescence, abuse, institutional racism and redemption.
Teenagers Nell and Jude find the body of a young woman and when no one comes to claim her, she becomes known as the Brighton Mermaid. Nell is still struggling to move on when, three weeks later, Jude disappears.
Twenty-five years on, Nell is forced to quit her job to find out who the Brighton Mermaid really was – and what happened to her best friend that summer.
But as Nell edges closer to the truth, dangerous things start to happen. Someone seems to be watching her every move, and soon she starts to wonder who in her life she can actually trust…
Childhood is gone when innocence is gone. In The Brighton Mermaid the three main characters Nell, Jude and Macy all lose their innocence in an abrupt and disturbing way. Although their eyes opened to the evils of their world, part of them remained trapped mentally at the age the psychological trauma occurred, 1993.
I began reading The Brighton Mermaid on Friday 23rd March… which is exactly the date when adult Nell picks up her story … SPOOKY right?! I know! The story unfolds confessional style which allows us to get intimate with the characters. I’m convinced it’s this intimacy between reader and character that makes Dorothy’s stories so gripping. In the case of The Brighton Mermaid the suspense, thrill and fear was palpable.
Dorothy doesn’t usually linger on the race of her characters. She allows the reader to get to know their personality traits first. However, in The Brighton Mermaid were are told earlier than usual because race is imperative to the characters’ experiences I think. It is a riveting book that any thriller aficionado will enjoy but I think it may resonate deeper with anyone who has ever experience prejudice.
After reading The Brighton Mermaid, I realised I didn’t have a favourite character. I couldn’t identify with any one character. When I read The Friend, I totally got Maxie and I felt I could be here. While, Nell, Jude and Macy incredibly authentic and I totally understand them I just didn’t bond with any of them. As in real life you can understand a person but not click with them. Dorothy is always true to her characters. She treats them with grace and dignity and for that reason I always respect and enjoy her work.
I absolutely enjoyed every moment my time reading, The Brighton Mermaid. It was hard to put it down. Trust me, it’s a MUST read this summer. Be sure to l let me know what you think, if you do.
‘One night, two sisters and the mystery that has kept them trapped for a lifetime.’
The Brighton Mermaid will be published 17th May 2018 by Century, RRP£12.99 (hardcover), available at all major book stores.