Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Monstrous Beauty came to my attention because it was an Odyssey Award Honor book last year, which means it was recognized as an excellent audiobook selection. I am such a fan of audiobooks that I instantly requested a copy to borrow from the library. I downloaded it and then didn't listen to it before it expired. Then I forgot all about it until I was at the library again a few weeks ago and saw the CD on the shelf waiting for me again.
The beginning of the book is pretty confusing. The book starts in Plymouth in the 1600s, just at the beginning of our county. Here we are introduced to a beautiful mermaid, Syrenka. She falls in love with a fisherman but the results are devastating. Next the book jumps back and forth from modern times back to the 1800 when Syrenka once again makes an appearance. Hester, our modern girl, becomes interested in her family history and as she digs around in the library archives and talks to oldsters in her community, she is drawn into wanting to discover the reasons behind the triple murder/suicide from the past century. The more she learns, the creepier and more sinister the plot becomes. It kept me listening every afternoon and reading late at night.
One of things that I really liked about the book was the descriptions of the Plymouth region of Massachusetts from three different time frames. I've never been to this part of the country so I wanted to visit it so I could get a picture reference to assist my imagination. After finishing the book I found this blog, The Midnight Garden, which did a special event with Elizabeth Fama last Fall. Fama contributed some of the photos she took as she was doing research for the book of the community where it was set. I wished that I saw them before I read the book. Take a look. Scroll down on the post.
I know that my students will like this book. It has a mystery, a romance, a bit of history, and lots of suspense. The audiobook deserved the awards it earned and I highly recommend the book in this format.