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The Mermaid Collector (edition 2012)
by Erika Marks
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More than a century ago, lighthouse keeper Linus Harris left his beloved wife and waded into the ocean with three other men to reunite with their mermaid lovers. The mysterious Mermaid Mutiny of 1888 has become legend for the residents of Cradle Harbor, Maine, honored by the town's Mermaid Festival every August, when wind chimes are hung from seaside porches to drown out the alluring sound of mermaid song. For thirty-five-year-old Tess Patterson, the legend is more than folklore; it's proof of life's magic. A hopeless romantic who is profoundly connected to the ocean in which she lost her mother, Tess ekes out a living as a wood-carver and longs to find a love as mystical as the sea. But when she's hired to carve the commemorative mermaid sculpture for the coming festival, a chance to win the town'ss elusive acceptance might finally be in her grasp. For Tom Grace, life's magic was lost at eighteen, when the death of his parents left him to care for his reckless brother, Dean. Now thirty-five and the new owner of Cradle Harbor's prized lightkeepers house, Tom hopes the quiet town will calm Dean's self-destructive ways. But when Tom discovers Tess working on her sculpture, an unlikely and passionate affair ignites between them that just might be the stuff of legend itself - even as it brings to the surface a long-buried secret that could tear everything apart.
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