Entry 3: THE MERMAID OF TALCASTER HALL
Genre: Adult Fantasy
THE MERMAID OF TALCASTER HALL[MH1] is an 88,000-word Contemporary Fantasy novel with elements of Women’s Fiction[MH2]. It combines the dry humour and magical elements of Ink & Sigil, with the witty dialogue and mother/daughter relationship of Again, Rachel alongside the eerie vibes and mermaid-human connection in The Shape of Water. It will appeal to fans of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted Inc. series who enjoy women undertaking fantasy adventures in the real world.[EC1]
A cocktail waitress inherits more than a crumbling mansion when she discovers her great-uncle ‘created’ mermaids[EC2] to sell on the dark web[MH3], with one still waiting in the cellar to be sold… or saved.
Stubborn and sassy, Lucinda intends to stay in her apathic life, avoid being the responsible adult her family expects, and enjoy a whisky along the way[MH4]. That changes when her overbearing mother calls[MH5], asking Lucinda to assist her with clearing out the mansion bequeathed by her scientist great-uncle. Lucinda agrees but strapped for cash, caveats her[EC3] help by demanding the pick of the treasure in the house—a notion quickly squashed when the family’s inheritance turns out to be more Hell Hall than Pemberley.
When Lucinda finds a secret lab with an intelligent mermaid imprisoned, she befriends the mermaid and communicates with her via sign language. Wanting to help the mermaid, Lucinda teams up with her great-uncle’s gorgeous assistant and her genius, estranged sister, to discover the mermaid is up for sale to the highest bidder[MH6]. With the clock ticking on her great-uncle’s terrible plan, and with the only way to stop the auction carried with him to his grave, Lucinda must decide if her family and new life are worth fighting for, and prove she isn’t the black sheep she’s always tried to be—or else the mermaid’s freedom will be lost.[MH7]
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 250 Words
The notion of being reunited with her mother sat as sour as lemons on Lucinda’s tongue[MH8]. She took a sip of musty tea from the polystyrene cup and shuddered at the lukewarm liquid. Bleurgh. What she’d give for an Americano right now—or even better, a glass of whisky[EC4]. Preferably Glenmorangie[MH9].
The railway station mixed ancient with a shot of mundane. The wrought iron bench outside looked as inviting as her mother’s sofa, but at least the flowers in the hanging basket overpowered the insipid scent of tea. Reaching for her bag and rifling under the unopened credit card bills, she pulled out her phone and bit her lip at the missing bars on the screen.
No coffee. No signal. No mother. Crossing her legs—the shorts and flip-flops as unhelpful as the tea in warding off the slight chill in the air—Lucinda balanced her cup on the bench and sighed, her eyes on the empty street in front of her, willing her mother to magically appear in the empty street.[MH10]
Loneliness crept over her alongside the cool air, touching her cheeks. Lucinda rubbed her face. She might not be living her best life, but how was she going to manage goodness knows how long with only her mother for company, and in the country for crying out loud. Screw it. She should go inside, catch the next train back to London and forget all about finding any treasure to sell to cover her current debts.[MH11]