The Mermaid Chair

The Mermaid Chair

Book - 2005
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The New York Times -bestselling second novel by the author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings

Inside the church of a Benedictine monastery on Egret Island, just off the coast of South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carved with mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid before her conversion.

When Jessie Sullivan is summoned home to the island to cope with her eccentric mother's seemingly inexplicable behavior, she is living a conventional life with her husband, Hugh, a life "molded to the smallest space possible." Jessie loves Hugh, but once on the island, she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk about to take his final vows. Amid a rich community of unforgettable island women and the exotic beauty of marshlands, tidal creeks, and majestic egrets, Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it, with a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right and the immutable force of home and marriage.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie's life? What happens will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past, but most of all, it will allow Jessie to comes discover selfhood and a place of belonging as she explores the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2005.
ISBN: 9780143036692
Branch Call Number: KID
Characteristics: xi, 335 p.


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I just loved this book, and couldnt put it down! Its even been made into a movie!!

Nov 27, 2015

Pagan start to finish with crosses, vows not kept, symbols, mutilation to appease God (?!) nor did I like the characters or find them believable either. The mother's a nut-job start to finish nor is the ending believable either. Everybody wants to know God but nobody thinks to opens a Bible other than extract a verse here and there, taken out of context I might add. Says it's fiction and I certainly found it that! (Made up out of whole cloth that is.)

Aug 20, 2015

The Mermaid Chair is beautifully written. Sue Monk Kidd is the only writer where I have been able to complete a book of seduction. I was sure i was about to read another book of christian fiction so i was a little shocked. This is definately up there with The Piano, a controversial movie if i ever saw one!

Feb 14, 2015

This is a great read for understanding what a middle-aged woman goes through when being attracted to someone other than her husband.

Jun 23, 2014

I really loved The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings, but I didn't like this one at all. I did not find the characters likeable or engaging and there was too much new-age spiritual psychobabble. A big disappointment from an authour I have otherwise enjoyed reading.

Aug 27, 2013

J'ai autant aimé que The secret life of bees. Drame du coeur. Devenir amoureuse d'un autre homme. Choisir entre deux existences avec tout ce que ça comporte de renoncement, de sentiment de culpabilité. Un retournement dans sa vie. Je pense à cette phrase dans une chanson de Nicole Martin "Quand le coeur nous mène ailleurs, il faut bien suivre". C'est làle drame. Choisir entre deux biens...

Nov 23, 2012

Characters draw you in, but the story moves slowly and I kept anticipating the "secret". Interesting, but not great.

Aug 13, 2012

This is a story about how one's past can affect their future. I thought this was a nice story of friendship, finding ourselves and secrets. I thought this was a fun read.

Mar 05, 2011

I didn't like any of the characters. I sorta kept hoping they'd be overrun with zombies and eaten.

May 16, 2010

When I found this book in the clearance section of Chapters and got my friend to pick it up for me with her employee discount, I thought I’d scored a major bargain. I loved the author’s first book, The Secret Life Of Bees – it made me want to become a beekeeper. This second book, however, was a waste of money and a waste of time. The only thing The Mermaid Chair made me want to do was stop reading it.

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