Love Blooms at Mermaids Point – Sarah Bennett

I couldn’t agree more that this is ’An absolutely gorgeous book’. I too loved it from start to finish. I struggled to put it down, and when I finished it, I felt a little empty – ready to read it again!

What better way to herald the rapid approach of spring. If you haven’t read any of this series, then this book about the village of Mermaids Point can be enjoyed as a standalone novel. However, if you haven’t read any of this series yet, you lucky thing. I envy you the opportunity to be able to indulge yourself by reading the other books in this series for the first time; an opportunity that I will never have again! This new book will inevitably serve a rather large helping of joy, from start to finish, which is what I have come to expect from Sarah Bennett’s books, such is the quality of her work.

In a world of OK books, Sarah delivers the impossible very time, with each new book somehow surpassing its predecessor. I find myself wanting to be enveloped by their pages, the more immersed I become in each story or series. Furthermore, Sarah continues to delight (me at the very least), every time she introduces a new addition to a series of books; in a world where there is so much wrong taking place at the moment, I am not going to hesitate to grasp some happiness in a literary form, by reading a book by Sarah Bennett and in fact when I have finished reading this novel, I may then re-read the previous episodes in this series as a refresher. I have said on more than one occasion that life is too short to spend time reading books you don’t love – so take from that what you will!

I was thrilled to see that this book was going to concentrate on Ivy Fisher’s story. What a beautiful name, straight from the annals of Beatrix Potter. Ivy has shown herself to be beautiful on the inside, as well as having a beautiful sounding name, in previous books, for example when she stepped up to repair Tom’s Daughter Emily’s precious blanket. This blanket had been made by Emily’s late Mother and Ivy stepped up without preamble and repaired some damage to it, in a truly selfless moment. Emily repaid the sentiment when she sent the blanket to Ivy’s Mother’s funeral ’in case Ivy got cold’. Surely even the hardiest of souls couldn’t fail to be moved by that hugely symbolic gesture.

The characters in Mermaids Point has grown both in number and complexity, so I found it useful to read the cast list at the start of the book, in order to refresh my memory. The list was very detailed, even including cats, and it became my mission to find a character who had been omitted from the list.

Alex proves his worth as a friend, on the day of Ivy’s Mother’s funeral, by turning up at Ivy’s place and pronouncing himself her designated shoulder for the day including snot!

It felt as though I had a head start with this novel, in that Alex and Ivy already have a firm place in my affections, so I don’t need to get to know them. rest assured though, this pair are new to you and you haven’t read enough about them, they very soon will claim their rightful place in your emotions.

I loved the way that Ivy’s closest friends performed a kind of human shield around her as she walked to the funeral; a sign of peoples affection towards her. It was marred somewhat by the attempt of Ivy’s estranged Father to join the ambulatory procession with his partner. The protective stance continued at the pub afterwards; the sense of loyalty and protectiveness was all pretty moving to me and a reliable indication of the kind of good, honest people that inhabit Mermaid Point on the whole.

It felt like such a shame to me, that Ivy might ever doubt Alex’s intentions, although perhaps the past behaviour of men in her life – namely her Father – have left her feeling that good intentions from the opposite sex are simply too good to be true? Yes Alex is interested in the old bookshop, but Ivy has never professed her own interest in the shop to anyone, so she can’t possibly expect anyone else to honour that secret interest. I can only hope that she starts to see Alex’s good intentions again before she turns him away permanently.

Ivy has a habit of storing any problems she has in a metaphorical box in the attic of her mind. However, I am of the opinion that such boxes ideally need to emptied every so often, or in this case, at least the pressure released, in order to avoid any kind of emotional explosion.

Pressure on Ivy might also be released, were she to talk to Alex. Equally Alex might find his problems would ease, were he to have a proper conversation with his publisher, Immy. Regardless, it felt as though both their problems were starting to escalate out of control. Ironically Alex and Ivy clearly like each other, and they are both wanting the same thing in life. I was really starting to feel as though I wanted to bang their heads together, to make them talk to each other, before they end up having a terminal fall out.

Such is the realism if the writing, that these two main characters were really coming to life for me and I found myself caring deeply shout what happened to them. Conversely I was not warming to Immy, Alex’s editor at all and I wondered about the morality of her motives at times.

I must confess to a heart in mouth moment, when it appeared as though Ivy’s Father still may have a stake in her Mother’s cottage. One could only hope for the discovery of some newer papers, or that the leopard that is Ivy’s Father had truly changed his spots! I must confess at this point though, thst I felt surprisingly sorry for Wendy, Ivy’s Father’s girlfriend. Whilst at times she had seemed demanding, I couldn’t help but feel thst she had been wronged by Kevin to a certain extent. Who knows – maybe Ivy and Wendy could become allies in the future, if they ever saw eye to eye?

Any vague sympathies I may ever have had for Ivy’s Father, Kevin, pretty soon vanished, the more apparent that it became that he was incapable of being honest with anyone, let alone Ivy. Not being one to give up on anyone, this did sadden me a little.

The further this novel progressed, the more I found myself liking Alex and his idiosyncrasies, but the thing that I found really cute (something I confess to doing too), was the way that when he needed to get something done (writing his book) he would seemingly find 101 other things that ‘need’ doing more importantly (e.g watching the DaVinci code, eating leftover chinese takeaway). He is truly the King of finding an irrelevant distraction, in a most endearing way! I must confess to wanting to hug Alex when he suggested that Ivy uses some space at the book store when he buys it. But will that be enough for Ivy, when she had dreamed of owning it herself?

This story starts to pose so many questions:

  • Will Ivy and Alex find love?
  • Will Ivy be happy with using space in what would be Alex’s shop?
  • How will Ivy feel when she finds out about Alex’s writing career?
  • Will Kevin really put ivy’s home on the market straight away.

I really don’t want to give away too much, so In order to find out the answers to these questions and more, you will need to read this wonderful book for yourself.

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