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The Mermaid Chair | [Sue Monk Kidd]

The Mermaid Chair

Sue Monk Kidd's stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees, has transformed her into a genuine literary star. Now, in her much-anticipated new novel, Kidd has woven a transcendent tale that will thrill her legion of fans and cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable writers at work today.
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Publisher's Summary

Sue Monk Kidd's stunning debut, The Secret Life of Bees, became a best-selling phenomenon and a modern classic. Now, in her luminous new novel, Kidd has woven a tale that will cement her reputation as one of the most remarkable writers at work today.

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

When Jessie is summoned home to the island to cope with her mother's inexplicable act of violence, she is living with her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but she finds herself drawn to Brother Thomas, a monk who is soon to take his final vows.

Is the power of the mermaid chair only a myth? Or will it alter the course of Jessie's life? What transpires will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past and it will allow Jessie to make a marriage unto herself.

The Mermaid Chair is a vividly imagined novel about the passions of the spirit and the ecstasies of the body. It illuminates the awakening of a woman to her own deepest self with a brilliance and power that only a writer of Kidd's ability could conjure.

©2005 Sue Monk Kidd; (P)2005 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"Kidd's second offering is just as gracefully written as her first and possesses an equally compelling story." (Kirkus Reviews)
"This emotionally rich novel, full of sultry, magical descriptions of life in the South, is sure to be another hit for Kidd." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (442 )
5 star
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3.8 (105 )
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1 star
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4.0 (100 )
5 star
 (42)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-14-05
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-14-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    104
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    178
    44
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    "Disappointing"

    I was so excited when I heard about this book. I so thoroughly enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees and was expecting something on that calibre. It is not. It is a very trivial story with uninteresting characters and predictable plot twists. At times the story is sappy and almost always unbelievable. I could not relate to any of the characters or care about their lives.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 07-04-05
    Shaddi Laguna Niguel, CA, United States 07-04-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    135
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    425
    23
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    5
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    "I liked it!"

    I liked this book. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees. This is a book that was written to be read out loud. The narrator is quite good and you feel as if someone is seating across from you at your kitchen table and is telling you about an experience that changed her life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane R Hampton, NH, USA 06-09-05
    Diane R Hampton, NH, USA 06-09-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    4
    2
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    "Don't bother. I wish I hadn't."

    I downloaded this book to "read" while at the gym, thinking it would make my dreaded exercise pass quickly -- what a mistake. I have only heard about 90 minutes and already regret buying it. The reader's voice slogs along slowly and, to my ear, annoyingly, so the book is dragging too. Maybe that's part of the problem, her slow pace. I wish I had read the readers' reviews more carefully before I got this book. I usually give books a longer try when I'm reading them, but listening to this boring reader and, so-far, boring tale is so painful that I am probably going to just bag it and get another book. What a disappointment after Secret Life of Bees. I recommend to anyone considering this book: read all the reviews and listen to the sample to make sure you can tolerate the reader's slow reading.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cyndi waxhaw, NC, USA 05-15-05
    Cyndi waxhaw, NC, USA 05-15-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Nice but not moving"

    This was nice listen to, the reader had a nice southern accent. It was pleasant but not extremely moving. The plot was not indepth and seem to skim the surface of the story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Greenbrier, TN, United States 08-07-11
    Amazon Customer Greenbrier, TN, United States 08-07-11 Listener Since 2003

    bac

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "I really wanted to love this book."

    I read The Secret Life of Bees and thought it was a 5 star book. So I was excited to find Sue Monk Kidd's second novel. While I enjoyed the book, it was not as compelling as "Bees." In "Bees" every story line is woven into the fabric of the book. I found the Mermaid Chair a bit lacking in that department. There are too many holes and not enough back story to fill them. I was left with an incomplete picture of why characters behaved in the way they did. It was a good read, just not so compelling that I would make a point to recommend it to friends.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Atlanta, GA, United States 01-03-09
    Lynn Atlanta, GA, United States 01-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
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    61
    18
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    "It wasn't awful, but..."

    it was a very predictable story with stereotypes for characters. Middle aged housewife is bored and lusts after man of the cloth - nothing happens. duh.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-09-06
    LB in Dallas Dallas, Tx United States 10-09-06 Member Since 2002

    marlin515

    HELPFUL VOTES
    236
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    396
    71
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    8
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    Overall
    "Glad it was on sale"

    The first half of the book was pretty good then it got sickningly sweet and stupid for a while before recovering some theme towards the end. Worth the sale price but not worth a monthly credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Lebanon, TN, USA 07-16-06
    Edward Lebanon, TN, USA 07-16-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    17
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    "Refreshingly Rich"

    A richly vivid southern story lush in emotional details of feeling.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy United States 01-17-06
    Kathy United States 01-17-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Performance
    Story
    "The Mermaid Chair"

    Monk's book "The Secret Life of Bees" was wonderful so I thought this one would be too.
    Wrong! This one drags on forever, the author beats the reader (listener) do death with endles thoughts about trivia. If she wants to give us "the most important lesson in life" she needs to say it before putting us in a coma.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Naples, FL, United States 08-11-05
    Pat Naples, FL, United States 08-11-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
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    59
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    Overall
    "Tedious, don't bother"

    Like some other reviewers, I expected to like this book by the author of the Secret Life of Bees. I had also enjoyed her writings in Guideposts magazines for years. Mermaid Chair was awful. The lead character is shallow, self-involved and morally pitiful. She abandons her marriage for a monk "she loves" after meeting him once! The theology depicted is weak beyond words. The choice of narrator was equally poor.

    Save your money and listen to All The Way Home or Nightfall.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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