As a child living on the streets of London, then in an orphanage, Dawnay Price grows up determined not to let her background stand in the way of her ambition.
In an era when women rarely travel alone, especially for scientific study, Dawnay sets sail aboard The Prospect to the beautiful Iberian Peninsula. Amid rumours of mermaids in the sparkling waters, she makes some unexpected discoveries, including what it means to fall in love.
Having fought hard against convention, Dawnay is determined to put her career above all else. Yet as war approaches she finds herself divided by feelings she cannot control.
Told in Dawnay's words, from the author of The Visitors, this is an unforgettable story about what it takes to achieve your dreams, even when they seem impossible.
Published by Hodder and released in hardback on 18 June 2015, and paperback on 11 February 2016, Song of the Sea Maid is Rebecca Mascull's second novel. I reviewed her first, The Visitors here on Random Things in August 2014.
I am delighted to be a host on the Blog Tour for the paperback release of Song of the Sea Maid, once again Rebecca Mascull has created a solid and believable female character, set in a vividly imagined historical setting.
Homeless, orphaned and hungry, this young girl has just seen her only family member and ally press-ganged to sea. Without the brother who stole for her and protected her on the dirty and dangerous streets of eighteenth century London, it would be easy to lose hope. Her attempt at stealing goes horribly wrong, but her victim, a wealthy man, sees a spark in this child's eye and finds sympathy for her. This is the turning point in her life. Delivered to an orphanage, she is christened Dawnay Price, after the man who rescued her from the streets.
Although the orphanage is stark, and the food is just bearable, and the other children consider her to be a street-rat, Dawnay thrives. Her determination, her inquisitiveness and her sparky nature means that she is destined to succeed in life. The long nights, teaching herself to write by the light of a lamp, or sometimes just the moon could land her in trouble, but instead it leads her to more learning and to discovering that there is a wide world, full of things to discover.
The reader is then taken on Dawnay's journey. Through the streets of London, to see things that she had never imagined and then later, by sea to Portugal, on an adventure of discovery and science, and study and mermaids, caves and love.
Rebecca Mascull's writing flows so well, I was delighted by descriptions of London in the early part of the novel, and continued to be amazed when the story crossed to Portugal. Dawnay is a character to cheer for, way ahead of her time and overcoming almost every barrier that could be imagined for her. The interweaving of historical fact into this beautifully told fictional story is elegantly and cleverly managed, and despite the fact that historical fiction is not my first love, I was enchanted by Song of the Sea Maid.
A fine second novel to sit alongside The Visitors. Rebbecca Mascull has proved, once again that she is a very skilled author.
Rebecca Mascull lives by the sea in the east of England with her partner Simon and their daughter Poppy.
She has previously worked in education and has a Masters in Writing.
Song of the Sea Maid is her second novel.
Find out more about Rebecca, and her writing at her website
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @rebeccamascull