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Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Elizabeth Fama

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2793440,505 (3.99)7
Title:Monstrous Beauty
Authors:Elizabeth Fama
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (2012)



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What do a handsome ghost, a vengeful spirit, a cursed girl and a mermaid have in common??

More than you think...

Upon discovering this book I really didn't know what to expect. I have a slight obsession with mermaids, and well, any mythical creature for that matter. So this book was without a doubt, a must read for me. I can honestly say that I was completely blown away. I was hooked from the very first page!

This story alternates between past and present to weave one spell-binding tale, that's full of intrigue and suspense.

Salem Mass. 1872. Syrenka is vivacious, beautiful, and captivating...she also happens to be a mermaid. She spends her days teaching a dashing young man, interested in marine biology, about herself and her world under the sea. After spending much time together it becomes evident that Syrenka and her pupil have feelings for each other. SO she decides to abanndon her life underwater to be with her human lover, a choice that would prove to have grave and deadly consequenses...

fast forward 140 years. Seventeen year old Hester believes the women in her family are cursed. All of them having died during or shortly after childbirth. So she vows to never fall in love or get married, so as to break the curse and to prevent another child from growing up motherless. That is until she meets the handsome and mysterious Ezra, while walking on the beach one night. He is everything she never knew she wanted. But something is not quite right about Ezra....His speech and mannorisms are as if he is from another era in time. He never leaves the beach, and he can not remember anything from his past. These are questions that Hester seeks answers to, but what she finds is more than she bargained for. Her quest will lead her down a path of self discovery and give her the vindication she has alwyas longed for. Thus revealing that her and Ezra might be more closely connected than they realized.

Through a cemetary, a haunted church, an underwater doll graveyard, and a gruesome creature lurking just beneathe the water's surface. This book is surprisingly complex. If your looking for a light, little mermaid spin-off then this book is not for you. But, if you're looking for a dark tale of deception, murder, doomed love and tormented souls, then look no further. This book is not you typical young adult fantasy fiction, many adult themes and situations are adressed, making this one of the most entertaining books I've read in a while. i was completetly captivated mind and soul and was left reeling long after I had turned the last page. Mythological creatures, mermaids, ghosts, mystery and romance...there is something for everyone! ( )
  alliecollins8488 | Oct 8, 2016 |
If you're looking for a good October read or just something with a bit of a creep factor, then this one is for you! I enjoyed the story and the romance was timeless, but something lacked for me. It could have been the odd historical language or the fact that we never got dialogue between the main character and her parents... Just a part of the story was missing for me.

To describe the book... I'd say it's a dark version of The Little Mermaid. It's about a mermaid family curse that turns many shades of dark. I liked the edge this tale brought and the romance that spanned over years. The characters were likeable, but I wished we got more of Peter and what happened after she set the souls free.

It was a good fast read that I'd recommend to all readers searching for an unconventional story. ( )
  ReadersCandyb | Oct 7, 2016 |
Background: In the 1800’s in Plymouth, Syrenka is in love with Ezra; the only problem is that Ezra is human and she is not. Current day, Hester is just a teen with a horrible family problem, after having children, all of the mothers die. Hester has sworn off love and children, until one day she meets Ezra and begins to think that there is a chance for her to have everything she dreams of.

Review: Two intertwining stories are told in this wonderful, creepy, and dark take about sea creatures, magic, and ghosts. With alternating point of views we learn about Syrenka and Ezra and about Hester and her modern life. I received this via audio book from Macmillan and was at first a little put off by the audio reader; but as the story progressed, the strength in her voice added to the strength of the female characters and how they interacted throughout the book.
Syrenka and Ezra’s story is full of ups and downs, first I hated her and then I felt for her. Their story is set in the 1800’s in Plymouth and how they came to be together. Alternating is Hester’s tale, a normal history-buff teenager, working/ living in historic Plymouth, trying not to fall in love. Syrenka’s and Hester’s tales start to mold together and the darkness begins with a good portion of the story taking place in a cemetery and an old church. Later, there is drama, murder, trickery, and myth all rolled into one amazing story. Fama did a wonderful job recreating the time periods and the layout of Plymouth, as well as researching extensively to do so. Very well written, in vernacular at times, and overall a wonderful read/ listen. Highly recommended.
( )
  sszkutak | Sep 28, 2016 |
This book was not at all what I expected, which turned out to be absolutely wonderful. It was a dark and beautiful mystery that was part fairy-tale and part ghost story. Lovely. ( )
  luminescent_bookworm | Jan 27, 2015 |
Hester doesn’t know what is wrong with her family. For generations, every woman has died after giving birth – including her own mother. Even though she’s only 17 years old, Hester has decided the only way to avoid heartache (and death) is to never get married and never have children.

Read the rest of my review at: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/monstrous-beauty-elizabeth-fa... ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374373663, Hardcover)

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:30 -0400)

In alternating chapters, tells of the mermaid Syrenka's love for Ezra in 1872 that leads to a series of horrific murders, and present-day Hester's encounter with a ghost that reveals her connection to the murders and to Syrenka.

(summary from another edition)

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